Barely the size of an apple seed, a small bed bug creates a big headache for business owners. An unpleasant lesion that does not transmit the disease, and the abominable fact that bedbugs feed on human blood generate a level of extinction commensurate with their meager size. When this parasite spreads in a retail store or commercial office, the general stigma associated with bed bugs can panic employees, send customers fleeing, damage the brand's reputation and distort its brand. This is a high price to pay for a problem that is not controlled by employers.
Unlike other obnoxious lesions, bed bugs are not indicative of poor sanitation or lax maintenance. Bed bugs ride to a retail store or office building hidden on clothes and in the property of customers and staff. "Bedbugs are hikers; they travel with people and with things that travel with people," NPMA spokeswoman Messi Henriksen told the USA Today newspaper in an interview in August 2010. What frustrates employers is that they are held accountable for the cost of getting rid of a problem they have not created.
Almost unheard of in the United States a decade ago, bed skin cases in the United States have tripled since 2005, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The main headache for hoteliers since they began returning to the United States has been in the luggage of foreign travelers, bed bugs have gradually spread to travelers' homes, and last year they were increasingly discovered in commercial buildings. In a 2010 survey by the NPMA and the University of Kentucky, 20% of pest control companies in the United States reported that they had treated bed defects in commercial buildings, compared to less than 1% in 2007.
As the nation's busiest international gateway, New York City suffered early in the national invasion of bedbugs and proved to be an indicator of the growing pattern of bed bug infiltration into other cities. In recent months, bed bug outbreaks have surpassed hotels and apartment buildings, and have been increasingly reported in New York City retail stores, popular entertainment venues and commercial office buildings. Bedbugs also hit hotels and motels across the country, government offices in Washington DC, federal offices in Philadelphia and Kentucky, and more recently a famous business tower in Chicago.
Skilled hikers, bugs are easily moved between home and work in backpacks, shopping bags, bags, wallets, gym bags, laptops and frequent travel bags. Customers, employees, vendors, cleaning staff and maintenance contractors – anyone can bring bedbugs to the workplace. Bed bugs are found in office furniture and movable supplies in an infected delivery truck. When you invade bed bugs, filing cabinets, wooden desks, upholstered chairs, stone walls, carpets, staff cabinets, padded benches in changing rooms and crowded book shelves offer an attractive retreat. "They tend to prefer fabrics and wood, but they can be extrapolated to warmth and end up almost anywhere," warned National Reservoir Specialist Michael Potter, an entomologist at the University of Kentucky, in an August 2010 article on Forbes magazine. Com.
Quoting the "disturbing resurgence" of the population of bed bugs in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued a joint statement describing bed bugs as a serious public health threat and saying that "bed bugs cause a variety of physical negatives" Negative health and mental health and economic consequences. " While nearly half of the victims of bed bugs do not react to their bites, bed bugs can cause mild to severe allergic reactions and, in rare cases, life-threatening anaphylactic shock. But the mental suffering of many bedbug victims is that most concern public health officials. Anxiety, insomnia, depression, stress and paranoia are common. "It is likely that one of the most reported problems is the lack of psychological anxiety that accompanies bed bugs," Henriksen told the USA Today newspaper.
There is no immune work from bed bugs. Some of Manhattan's elite hotels have been sued in high-profile lawsuits by guests who claim to have been bitten by bugs. While hotels and apartment buildings still have most of the bed bug claims, modern suits have also targeted dry cleaning, laundries, furniture shops, transport companies, universities and cruise lines. Most companies prefer to settle claims for bed errors out of court to avoid negative publicity and potentially high arbitration awards. Settlement amounts are generally much lower than the amounts awarded by the jury that capture national newspaper headlines. Lawyers note that many victims of severe insects expect to be compensated for mental distress, which exceeds the cost of medical treatment and replacement of infested property. "If I was trying to settle the case, I might give $ 8,000 and $ 10,000, and the person wants millions. They feel violated," said Christian Hardegre, a lawyer and professor of hospitality law at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. Bloomberg Business in a 2007 article.
Bedbug lawsuits began to attract attention in 2003 when a Chicago jury awarded two victims of bed bugs $ 382,000 in disciplinary and compensatory damages for bites suffered at a budget chain hotel. The generous verdict launched a series of lawsuits against bedbugs. In 2004, a renowned hotel owner settled a bedbug suit against his luxury hotel in New York City for $ 150,000. In 2007, a Chicago couple filed a $ 20 million lawsuit against the Catskills resort after the woman had to be hospitalized for severe allergies to bed bugs. In 2008, a news channel employee sued the owner and manager of the building housing the studio where the bed bugs work. In 2008, a couple from New Jersey received allegations that furniture made from bed bugs was sold by a supermarket earning $ 49,000. Last March, elderly and disabled people in two residential buildings in Des Moines filed a lawsuit against building owners and managers for inadequate control of bed bugs.
While lawsuits can harm the business of a company, negative publicity can give you a knockout blow. Consumer reports of this insect activity on BedBugRegistry.com, the new iPhone app to track bed bugs or popular insect blogs can scare potential customers and weaken brand value. Unfortunately for business owners, self-reported sites make no effort to verify consumer reports of bed bug activity and do not update reports when correcting bed bug issues.
There is no magic bullet that makes insects disappear. "The main defense against gloomy insects is education and awareness because everyone has a role to play in pest management, and it's much easier to manage if you get it early," said Edwin Rajot, professor of entomology and coordinator of integrated pest management at Pennsylvania State University. Forbes.com in a recent article about the most infested cities. Privacy issues prevent interrogation of employees, visitors and suppliers about personal exposure to pests or visual checks of clothing and property, but there are effective and proactive measures that employers can take to reduce the risk of insects.
• protection. Scheduling regular inspections of facilities by a licensed pest control company with severe insect experience ensures early detection of pest activity. Early detection can include bed bug activity in a small area, reducing your business disruption and extermination expenses. Pest control professionals can also recommend Integrated Pest Management (IPM) procedures that can help keep your business insect free. To prevent moving bed bugs between home and work, some companies now provide airtight plastic containers to store personal property while employees are at work.
• Education. Maintaining a work environment free of bed bugs is a common effort that requires employee cooperation. Teach staff how to identify bugs and signs of infection, where to look for bugs, preventive steps they can take to avoid getting bugs to work or taking them home, and what to do if they see or suspect bugs. Licensed pest control specialists may be able to assist in staff training.
• Action Plan. Implement an insect action plan that clearly defines the responsibilities of employees and the employer and inform managers and staff. The importance of early detection should be emphasized.
• Telecommunications. Employees should be encouraged to report bed bug activity at work or at home and ensure that doing so will not result in any penalty or endanger their work. Employers should immediately inform employees of any bedding activity and inform employees of steps taken to control infection.
• Treatment. Protocols for the treatment of bed bug should be developed and applied to ensure rapid response and treatment by a licensed pest control specialist if bed bug activity is detected.
• Staff training by professionals. ChemTec Pest Control provides comprehensive training to commercial customers on how to prevent and monitor bugs. Many other pest control companies nationwide follow suit; understanding that careful prevention and control will allow early intervention and treatment to mitigate damage to the company's reputation.