Even though winter is not “in season” for bed bugs, the Sprague Pest Experts recommend commercial clients not hibernate and take proactive steps to prevent bed bugs from infesting their facilities.
With leisure travel cooling off after the Christmas and New Years’ holidays and fewer move-ins and move-outs during the colder weather, bed bug activity dips but the warmth inside condominium and apartment units, patient waiting areas and rooms in healthcare facilities, and in office building cubicles can keep bed bugs nice and cozy.
Bill Jordan, operations manager for Sprague Pest Solutions’ Puget Sound Special Services Group that handles bed bug treatments in the Seattle/Tacoma metro area, says highly mobile bed bugs can still pose problems for clients during the winter months.
“Bed bugs are expert hitchhikers and can be introduced to a facility in luggage, backpacks and briefcases or clothes,” says Jordan. “And if they get a foothold indoors it doesn’t matter what the weather is outside.”
Sprague Pest Solutions is constantly refining its inspection and treatment protocols to incorporate the latest technology and application techniques to prevent and eliminate bed bugs. And while introducing new technology is important, Jordan says client education remains an integral part of any successful bed bug treatment.
“Bed bugs are an emotional pest for clients and being able to educate them and set expectations before the treatment is an important part of the process,” says Jordan. “That includes explaining how the treatment process works, what preparation is needed on their part and how they play an important role in the treatment’s success.”
Sprague offers clients customized education programs tailored to the type of facility to help employees, residents and building/property managers learn more about bed bugs and the process needed to prevent or eliminate them.
Jordan says Sprague has seen an uptick in bed bug activity in commercial office buildings and that identifying prevention and treatment solutions can be trickier than in other commercial accounts.
“Employees that travel are at a higher risk of introducing bed bugs to the office environment than non-travelers but that doesn’t mean an employee with a bed bug issue at home isn’t at risk,” says Jordan. “It is a very sensitive issue for both the employer and employee because employees don’t want people to know they brought in bed bugs.”
Jordan says Sprague collaborates with the client’s HR department to find a solution for treating not only the infested office space but the employee’s residence as well.
“If we don’t close the loop and treat the employee’s home the likelihood of a reinfestation is highly likely and that doesn’t help anyone,” says Jordan.
Sprague Pest Experts Top Five Bed Bug Prevention Tips
- Vacuum and clean all areas including offices, hallways, lobbies, break rooms, storefronts and restrooms on a daily basis.
- Train employees to notice the signs of bed bugs as they go about their daily duties. Pay close attention to the seams of furniture, mattresses, drapes and upholstery for telltale brownish or reddish spots. Bed bugs have also been known to infest electrical sockets, surge protectors and behind picture frames. Vigilance in spotting possible signs of bed bugs by employees is an important part of the control process.
- Eliminate clutter – especially in storage areas – as they provide ideal harborage areas for bed bugs in office settings.
- Carefully inspect all items and packaging when unpacking new inventory or receiving shipments for signs of bed bugs.
- Encourage employees to report suspected bed bug activity immediately and alert the Sprague Pest Experts so they can conduct a thorough, professional inspection.