The Gateway Center, a building in Covington,
Ohio Kentucky where 5,000 IRS employees work, has bed bugs.
The article implies that treatments have occurred at four-week intervals:
Gateway Center officials said that after the first bug was found on the third floor in October, all floors were chemically treated.
Those treatments are scheduled on a monthly basis, officials said.
On the one hand, employees were said to have been educated on what bed bugs look like, and as many as five bugs have been found in the last few weeks (despite several PCO treatments):
The IRS building employs 5,000 workers at its Covington offices, and it told employees for what to look when they find a bug.
An IRS representative said that employees have found as many as five bugs in the past couple weeks, but the representative said that the company has been working with OSHA and an exterminator to keep things in check for the past two months.
“In check” is not enough. And monthly treatments may not be–many PCOs tell us they treat at about 2-week intervals. We know bed bug eggs can hatch within that timeframe, and leaving things longer can mean more hatch, feed, and begin growing to where they can breed.
And apparently, other employees claim they don’t know what to look for:
“I don’t even really know what they look like,” Gateway Center employee Joy Fox said.
Maybe the memo was not enough.
It sounds like the building needs to employ the most knowledgeable PCO firm they can, enlist their help in educating all employees not just on what bed bugs look like, but how they travel from here to there. Every single employee should (in my opinion) have their home inspected for bed bugs. People could be bringing them from home repeatedly. However, since it sounds like the sightings are not isolated to one person or department, it is “people,” rather than one person.
And wherever the bed bugs came from, they can now be going home with just about anyone.
Those employees need to know how to identify bed bugs, and they also need to know that Dr. Michael Potter estimates as many as 50% of people may be bitten and have no itchy bites (source linked here). Everyone should realize that seeing five bed bugs in broad daylight means there will probably be many more present.
One also wonders what’s being done besides spraying and (some kind of) an education campaign? If people getting treatment in their homes and dorms have to have posessions carefully inspected, possibly bagged for some part of treatment, and carefully exposed, then surely a place of business would have some kind of “prep” on its hands as well?
Update 1/12/2008: Although WLWT says the Gateway Center is in Covington, Ohio, a reader pointed out that it appears to be in Covington, KY.