Your office, that place where you showcase your professional skills, should have a zero-tolerance policy for pests and bugs. Thoughts of the threats posed by an infestation, however slight, should send a shudder down every spine at the workplace. The presence of these creatures poses a health risk for everyone. Plus, consider the perceptions clients and visitors will take away with them after encountering your bug-ridden workspace.
With this in mind, it’s prudent to know what you’re up against and how to deal with the problem decisively.
Common office pests and problem areas
Spiders are commonly found in dry, warm locations such as desks, air vents, room corners, etc. Their presence is solid confirmation that you have a bug problem because spiders survive by eating other insects.
They are attracted to food and will troop in line to the source – supplies stored in the open, spills, leftovers, garbage, etc.
Most likely found in the office breakroom because it provides food, water and shelter
The presence of moist organic material in or around your office will most likely guarantee fly trouble because this is where adults prefer to lay their eggs
These are generally found in anything that contains cellulose including paper, cardboard, wood and plants
Probably hitchhiked their way to the office courtesy of your workmates or visiting clients. Once present, bedbugs start feeding off people’s blood and multiply rapidly while lurking in furniture crevices, cushions and fabrics
Rats and mice
You could have a problem with rodents if your workplace is quiet, dirty and cluttered. They’ll mostly forage at night targeting garbage bins, unsealed food containers , leftovers and dumpsters.
These bugs love the humidity of bathrooms and will mostly be seen around drains. They’ll move around the office and are attracted to book bindings and starched cloth.
You’ll mostly find these around bathroom and kitchen sinks. Larvae feed on gunk found in pipes; they fly out once they’ve matured.
Procedures for ongoing cleanup
The presence of bugs and pests doesn’t imply that your workplace is a filthy dumpster. If you implement a daily cleaning routine, you can keep unwanted critters away.
- Vacuum carpets, mats and hard floors.
- Wipe off any spots and stains on furniture, baseboards, walls, carpets and floors.
- Dust horizontal furniture surfaces and wipe with disinfectant.
- Mop hard floors with disinfectant.
- Clean and wipe internal glass and automatic doors.
- Collect garbage and empty waste receptacles. Replace receptacles and liners and wash as required.
- Clean and sanitize sinks, basins, toilets, urinals, hand towel dispensers and hand dryers.
Do the following weekly:
- Remove clutter
- Dust cubicle walls, filing cabinets, desks and shelves
- Wipe down equipment including telephones, keyboards and desks with disinfectant wipes
- Dusting heating vents, window sills, jambs and ledges
- Curtains can be replaced and washed biweekly
Once a month you should clean out the refrigerator as well as vacuum chairs, couches, behind all hard-to-reach areas, overhead circular fans, and vents. You should also remove the gunk buildup in pipes and fix leaks.
Getting everyone to participate
Your quest for ensuring cleanliness at the workplace will only succeed if everyone participates.
Everyone will have contribute to a clean workspace. This means adhering to rules for using the restrooms and breakrooms, taking care of workstations, proper garbage disposal, not eating and drinking at desks, etc. Notices and memos to this effect should be printed and displayed.
The emergence of bedbugs at the workplace necessitates office education. Bedbugs are almost always carried by humans. Colleagues should examine their homes to ensure they aren’t responsible for the menace. As this is a personal matter, the issue can perhaps be best brought to everyone’s attention via email.
If you work in a pet-friendly environment, have co-workers take responsibility by making sure their pets relieve themselves responsibly.
Colleagues should know that pets can also carry fleas, ticks and mites. Make it clear that only hygienic bug-free pets are allowed.
In case of infestation
Where cleaning isn’t enough, the following pest control measures must be undertaken:
- Close off places that serve as entry points for bugs and pests. Caulk cracks and crevices around baseboards and cabinets, plug spaces around pipes with steel wool, and cover holes with wire mesh.
- Inspect packages brought into the workplace.
- Fix leaky plumbing to ensure that pools of water won’t accumulate.
- Invest in tightly sealed glass or plastic containers for food storage and tightly covered trash cans.
If the problem persists, consider setting up insect light traps, rodent baits and installing flywire doors and window screens. You can also start using pesticides, which can be purchased from local supermarkets and hardware stores.
For bedbugs, vacuum surfaces, frames and chair cushions to remove bugs as well as shells, droppings and eggs. Follow this up with a high pressure steamer to kill bugs and eggs that may have escaped vacuuming. Spray down the frames with a contact and residual spray. The former will kill the bugs instantly while the latter will do the job over several weeks. Spraying must be repeated at least three times; allow two-week intervals between sessions.
When to hire professional exterminators
Hiring a professional pest control service might be the only option if the infestation problem is persisting. This may also be the case if the pesticides required can only be used by certified professionals. Go for a professional company that has been recommended and listed on www.npmapestworld.org. Confirm that the company is insured and bonded.
Get in touch with a company representative or technician; you should be able to describe your problem and in return get a knowledgeable response for how it can be contained. This should be followed up with a site visit where the technician suggests a treatment plan. Repeat this with other providers to ensure you get the best quote.
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