For thousands of years, the common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) has been infesting human living conditions where the parasitic pests wait until their host is sleeping before feeding on his/her nutritious blood. After bed bugs reemerged throughout the US two decades ago following their half-century long absence, pest control professionals were finding the bloodsucking pests in the usual locations. These locations include homes, apartment units, hotels, shelters, dorms, and other locations where people sleep. After a short time, however, bed bugs started showing up in non-residential locations, such as businesses, public libraries, public transport, schools, daycare centers, waiting rooms, and office buildings. Bed bug infestations in non-residential locations cannot be eliminated unless pest control professionals are able to carry out an extensive investigation, which often involves the inspection of multiple employee homes.

Back in 2007, only one percent of pest control firms nationwide had managed a bed bug infestation in an office building, but just a few short years later, a University of Kentucky survey found that one in five pest control firms had managed at least one bed bug infestation in an office building. A 2015 nationwide survey of pest control firms conducted by the National Pest Management Association found that 45 percent of pest control professionals had managed a bed bug infestation in an office building. IRS offices, district attorney’s offices, and health department offices are just a few locations where bed bugs have been appearing in recent years, and according to experts, most office infestations originate from an employee’s infested home.

Many employees working in infested offices have filed lawsuits against their employer after having tracked bed bugs home from their infested office. In response to a bed bug infestation in a Manhattan Fox News office, an employee sued the building owner, the manager, and multiple other individuals after she had sustained numerous bed bug bites in the office. In this situation, the pest control professional tasked with eliminating the bed bug infestation inspected the homes of 20 Fox News employees before he finally found what he called “the worst infestation he had seen in 25 years in the business.” Apparently, the source of the infestation turned out to be an employee’s heavily infested home. When bed bugs are found in office buildings, employees must give their permission to have their home inspected for bed bugs, and many refuse, making reinfestation a constant threat.

Have bed bugs ever been found at your place of work?