Bed bug infestation is becoming common around the world. Businesses and warehouses now have to deal with bed bugs in their stores. This is not good for companies as they must deal with bad publicity and shunning customers. As a warehouse and business owner, you have to know about bed bugs in a warehouse. This post tells you everything you need to know about bed bugs in a warehouse.
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Can you get bed bugs in your warehouse?
New infestations are being reported in warehouses here. It’s harder to have a 100% bedbug-proof warehouse due to the movement of people and goods in and out of the warehouse. You can reduce the chances of getting these infestations.
Fumigations are no longer as effective as before because, according to scientific research, bed bugs getting increasingly resistant to pesticides. Pesticides are also increasingly discouraged because they impact the environment and aquatic life. The bed bug situation is so worse that even giant retailers like Amazon and E-bay are closing warehouses to deal with the matter in their warehouses.
How bed bugs get into your warehouse
Bed bugs can crawl, but their range is often limited to a 20-foot radius. This means bed bugs primarily enter warehouses by hitchhiking. Here are some common ways that bed bugs use to get into your warehouse:
- Infestations in your warehouse can arise from storing goods. It’s hard to establish whether all previous owners of second hands goods have an infestation in their homes. You can, however, ensure all second-hand goods, especially furniture, are closely inspected and treated for bed bugs.
- Returned goods that are handled poorly may bring an infestation to the doorstep of your warehouse. Isolation of these goods should always be the first step in addressing them.
- Incorrect transportation and delivery are also one of the biggest causes of the infestation. Infested trucks and cargo transport vehicles could cause infested goods delivered to your house.
- Alternatively, bed bugs could hitch a ride on the clothes and other personal belongings of the workers at your warehouse. Infested homes mean bed bugs getting a new home in your bed bugs.
- Bed bugs travel between adjacent buildings in search of a host to feed. If the buildings close to or adjacent to your warehouses have massive infestations, bed bugs will travel through air ducts, under the door and hallways to your business.
- Unfair business practices could also be why you fight bed bugs in your stores. There are cases of competitors planting bed bugs in other competitors’ businesses to ruin their reputations and cause the closure of their premises.
- Your customers can bring bed bugs into your warehouses unknowingly. Customer lounges and relaxation bays are usually the first places to be infested. They should always be the first places to inspect if you suspect a bed bug infestation.
Negative consequences of bed bugs in your warehouse
Your warehouse business shouldn’t have a bed bug infestation occurring. Amid stiff competition and the expensive nature of bed bug treatment, it is usually tough to recover from an infestation in your warehouses. Getting your clients to trust the safety of their goods in your warehouse is a nightmare for anyone. These are some of the negative consequences of an infestation occurring;
- Hostile public relations could cause you to lose clients. You would obviously want to avoid dealing with goods from an infested business.
- Bed bug extermination companies charge an arm and leg to rid you of an infestation. It’s worse that you may have to make the treatment regularly.
- You may have to eliminate some infested goods and furniture, especially if their treatments outweigh their original cost. A loss of any kind is never good for you.
- There are cases of bed bugs and their feces staining delicate fabric and products. You can’t sell foodstuff that is infested.
- The return policy is sometimes not a good thing. Cases of bed bugs infesting your business could cause goods in transit and recently delivered to be returned.
- Even after completely ridding your warehouse of bed bugs, you must take losses from the efforts to regain your clients. This may include lowering the value of your warehouse storage service charges. Considering that operating costs are constant or slightly increased, reducing payments to bring customers could cause you to incur losses.
- You may sometimes have to pay medical costs if your employees react adversely to bed bug bites.
- The worst-case scenario would be customers suing you for your goods, causing infestations in their homes.
Identifying bed bugs in your warehouse
Live bed bugs are the best way to identify bed bugs in any space. The chances of finding live bed bugs in your warehouse are minimal because it’s vast and often full. The good news is that bed bugs leave identifiable signs in any infested space. These signs include:
- Dark or rusty stains of bed bug excrement on furniture, cracks, grooves, electronics, lockers, and even clothing fabric
- Nymphs shade exoskeletons five times in a bed bug’s life cycle. You will find them with the help of a UV flashlight because they emit a blue light when subjected to ultraviolet rays.
- Blood stains from squashed bed bugs may sometimes be spotted, especially on products and places with light color.
- In case of a massive infestation, you may smell a musty, sweet berry-like smell.
- If the reported bites on your employees are itchy, clustered in 3-5 welts that are red with a dark mid-spot, they are most probably bed bug bites.
Treating bed bugs in your warehouse
Implementing a Do-It-Yourself bed bug elimination project in a warehouse is challenging. Making mistakes when treating bed bugs will worsen the infestation.
Here are some treatments options that can take care of the problem:
- Heat treatment effectively treats a warehouse, but your typical home heater will not cut it. Renting out an industrial heater that will do the job effectively is best.
- De-cluttering serves not only reduces possible bed bug hiding places, but it also makes it easier to spot and treat bed bug bites.
- Cold treatment is an option if you can afford to lower the warehouse temperatures to lethal levels.
- While not encouraged, the massive nature of a warehouse would need chemical treatments like foggers, aerosols, and sprays.
- It would be best if you leave massive infestations to the experts.
Preventing bed bugs in a warehouse
Having your warehouse 100% proof of bed bugs is almost impossible, especially since there are movements of people and goods in and out of the warehouse. It would be hard to screen all people and goods without negatively affecting business activities. However, these are the steps you can take to reduce the risk of getting bed bugs in your warehouse:
- Carry out a close and careful inspection of all goods coming into the warehouse. Pay special attention to second-hand house goods and the ones that are returned.
- All second-hand and returned goods should be isolated for a while to be inspected and treated in case of bed bugs.
- You must store returned goods separately from other goods.
- You must remove clutter in your warehouse because they usually harbor bed bugs, making it hard to treat.
- Keeping records is crucial in spotting failures and establishing starting points for bed bug infestations.
Public warehouses are notoriously known for harboring initial bed bug infestations that spread to homes. The first step to having a secure warehouse starts with correct inventory management, careful inspection of goods entering the warehouse, and cutting down on clutter. Proper handling of goods will not only save you headaches but also create customer confidence in the safety of the goods in your business.
Do bed bugs stay confined to one area of your warehouse?
No. Bed bugs will move in search of human hosts for feeding and a safe and conducive breeding environment.
What should you do if you find bed bugs in your warehouse?
The warehouse should be closed for investigation, and bed bug elimination should be done immediately to prevent the worsening of the situation. Report to necessary authorities if need be.
Are you liable for damages if clients get bed bugs from your warehouse?
Yes. If the client can prove that the infestation in her house was brought in through your goods due to negligence, you can be sued for damages.