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Technician and Inspector Safety—Excerpt from the Bed Bug Handbook

Avoiding Bed Bugs During Bed Bug Work

poor inspection practice, laying on bed
Technicians and inspectors risk picking up bed bugs if they lean on or lay on infested furniture
Photo by Richard Cooper from the Bed Bug Handbook

Bed bugs are unlikely to bite technicians during inspections or treatment since the bugs do not like disturbance, and normally feed when it is dark and quiet, typically in the hours before dawn. Nevertheless, there is some risk, especially in heavy infestations, and particularly if a technician leans against or sits on an infested bed or couch and a bed bug transfers to a technician’s clothing.

This transfer can also occur when technicians are repositioning large mattresses, box springs, and heavy furniture during inspections and service. These items can be heavily infested with bed bugs, and particularly when only one person is trying to support and manipulate them, bed bugs can be distributed onto the technician and throughout the room. Many companies require two technicians during service to minimize this risk, not to mention the risk of strains and back injuries.

You need to take certain precautions to avoid taking bed bugs home where they may bite you or your family:

  • Equipment on floor
    Place service kit and equipment in an open area away from walls and furniture
    Photo by Richard Cooper from the Bed Bug Handbook
    Assume beds, furniture, and other items you are about to inspect or treat are infested and act accordingly.

  • Avoid laying across, leaning against, or sitting on potentially infested beds or furniture and minimize direct contact with any potentially infested materials such as drapes, rugs, piles of dirty clothes.

  • Bring a minimum of equipment into the room. If you carry an inspection kit or service kit, place it in an open area away from walls and furniture.

  • Take off your clothes as soon as you get home. Remove your clothes over a noncarpeted floor and be ready to immediately capture and destroy any bug you see.

  • If you are concerned that your clothes might contain bed bugs, launder them in hot water as soon as possible. If your company has a uniform service you can bag the clothing until pick up (you should advise the uniform company why the uniforms have been bagged).

  • If you have been in a severely infested building or feel that you may have interacted with bed bugs, you may want to change and bag your clothes before leaving the site and have the clothes in question laundered (this assumes that you have an extra set of clothes available).

This article was excerpted from the new Bed Bug Handbook: The Complete Guide to Bed Bugs and Their Control. Click on the link in the column at the left for more information.




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