The Bedbug Boardroom: How to Succeed in Business Without Bringing Pests Home

Office complaints about bedbugs are on the rise

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Bedbugs

    At the Abacus Bank in Lower Manhattan, the chief financial officer had seen a lot of numbers crunched in seven years on the job. But here's a line item he never expected: bedbug removal. 

    "We were all very surprised," said CFO Robert McMahon.

    Surprised, but ready to respond. When McMahon heard that the 11th floor cubicles may have had bedbugs, he hired "Champ" the bug-sniffing dog. And presto. His suspicion was confirmed. The beagle mix found bugs on a chair, in a bookcase, and burrowed inside an electrical outlet.

    To remove the infestation, Abacus hired an exterminator, which used cryonite cold spray to freeze the bugs.

    "It really can happen anywhere. This would be the last place I would expect to see some kind of infestation," said McMahon.

    Colleague Millie DiPentima quipped, "I'm the bank's controller but I do not control the bugs!" But she knew she could control whether they'd follow her home.

    Her technique: keeping her purse clean, and making sure to wash and thoroughly dry her work clothes on high heat.

    Pest control expert Tim Wong of M&M environmental said that keeping an area "clutter free" can also reduce the risk of transporting the little buggers.

    In the end, in the midst of an epidemic, they're bound to show up in an office. But conscientious employees can avoid further spread with good hygiene.

    "The biggest risk," said Wong, "is transporting bedbugs in your briefcase or purse."