Learn about the role of employees in workplace pest prevention of bed bugs and cockroaches!
Keeping the office or commercial premise safe is the top priority of the company management as well as the facility management team. Though it might seem trivial and funny at first, the sighting of a single cockroach, bed bug, or termite can mean that the infestation has already begun and it will have far-reaching consequences.
Know how employees can bring in pests
Employees can unknowingly bring to the office the two most offending pests – bed bugs and cockroaches. These pests can sneak into laptop bags, purses, tiffin bags, and pockets, either from their homes or from public transit and restaurants. The entry point might vary, but once inside your establishment, these pests get a haven and start multiplying, creating an unchecked, pest factory right within your premise.
5 steps on how to train employees to spot and prevent pest infestation
Take a pro-active approach. Implement an Integrated Pest Control Management System with an experience corporate hygiene partner.
- Solve the problem at home
Your hygiene partner or the HR team can do a seminar on how the employees can do a preliminary check at their homes to identify pest issues. If they have existing pest issues, you can do a counselling session discretely and via a tie-up with your hygiene partner, get the pest control done at their homes at a pre-discounted rate. Though this might seem like an expense initially, but looking at the long-term benefit, this is a small price to pay.
- Train your staff on how to spot bed bug infestation
Since bed bugs emerge at night, they are not easy to spot during working hours. However, their signs are present.
- Sighting of black dots on chairs and curtains are bed bug feces.
- Itchiness and red marks on limbs of co-workers are usually not a coincidence but bug bites.
- Translucent empty shells mean that the bed bugs are molting and growing bigger.
Any employee spotting these can inform the facility manager or HR about these signs and timely action can be taken.
- Train your staff on how to spot cockroach infestation
Cockroaches are nocturnal creatures and generally prefer dark and moist spaces
- If anyone in your establishment spots even a single cockroach in the daytime, it is a sign that you already have an infestation. Even a single lone cockroach roaming in day time means that the colony is overcrowded and this one was pushed out or there is a food shortage due to overpopulation.
- Small black bean type things in file cabinets, kitchen area, or food zone. These hollow things are egg sacs of cockroaches. A single cockroach can produce 200+ offsprings in her life.
- Sudden unexplained allergies and respiratory issues in several employees without any other discernible cause can be a sign of cockroach infestation as roaches are known to cause allergies or increase instances of asthma attacks.
- Prepare a pest sighting plan
Distribute a leaflet or e-communication about a pest sighting plan with the employees or a few designated individuals
– Which pest did you spot – bed bug, cockroach, termite or mice
– How many of these did you notice (this gives a hint of the level of infestation)
– Where did you spot them (this helps you identify the hot spots)
– What was the date and time (this enables you to cross-check the cleaning schedule)
– Did you manage to trap/catch or take a snapshot of this pest
– Whom should they connect to pass on this information
– Was any immediate action taken like spraying a bug spray
- Increase the hygiene quotient of the establishment
Inform, train, and encourage your employees to follow best practices of hygiene to deny food to pests.
- Avoid eating food on the work desks as this gives the cockroaches an easy and safe feeding ground.
- Request everyone not to dispose of any food item or packs in the wastebasket near the tables – a separate basket in the kitchen can be provided.
- Try placing pest-repellent garbage bags so that cockroaches are denied food in kitchens and other zones.
- Designate a staff member to watch for signs of pests in communal areas.
- Ensure the hygiene levels around the tea and coffee machine are maintained so that no trash becomes food for pests.
- Request the team to also share any structural defects such as broken windows, doors that don’t close completely, and leaky pips – as these can lead to the ingress of pests like cockroaches, rats, and termites.
If your workplace is in or around a pest-prone zone like a water body, transit hub, restaurant or hotel, and bulk storage; or if it has a history of pest-related problems and losses, then it is advisable to have a tie-up with a professional pest and hygiene company that can pre-empt pest ingress points, prevent infestation and train your staff to be the first line of defense.