Saatchi and Saatchi New York offices infested with Bed Bugs

by nobugsonme on September 11, 2009 · 5 comments

in bed bugs, bed bugs in the workplace, new york city

Another high profile Manhattan office is infested with bed bugs, this time the 17th floor of the Saatchi and Saatchi building, BNET.com reports, based on a post by AgencySpy, which leaked an employee’s memo about the evacuation of the building in preparation for a pesticide treatment tonight (to be followed up in two weeks).

AgencySpy’s tipster (apparently jokingly) suggested the infestation could have come from an installation of new furniture, citing “the new JCPenney outfitted lounge they installed on the same floor in the free space from all the people they laid off.”

That sounds a bit like wild speculation (mixed with sour grapes) at this point.

Neither AgencySpy nor BNET make any mention of the real problem: the fact that employees may have brought the problem home — always a possibility when offices are infested.

AgencySpy makes light of the infestation:

Don’t worry about the bed bugs — they’re resilient creatures who like to leave poop smears on things they inhabit, like clothing and chairs and sofas and your skin. Sorry, does that make it worse or better? Take the day off kids, your company just pooped on you. But at least it was in the real sense and not the “Saatchi just fired my ass” metaphorical sense.

And yes, bed bug poop pales in comparison (um, metaphorically speaking) to being fired, especially in this economy.

However, bringing home a bed bug infestation would seriously bite.

All employees should learn how to search for signs of bed bugs at home, and should spring into action at the first sign of bed bug bites (but should also be aware they may not react).

Those whose working spaces were in the areas where bed bugs and their signs were spotted should have their homes professionally searched for bed bugs, in my opinion.

Update (9/11): itchyonmyrtle pointed out in the forums that Saatchi and Saatchi and Penguin are in the same building: 375 Hudson. Penguin, as we know, suffered from bed bugs several weeks ago.

This suggests bed bugs likely came to one office from the other, via employees going from one place to another, or via items which traveled in the building.  Elevators, pipe chasings, mail rooms, employees whose work takes them or equipment to multiple firms, and the form of treatment which has occurred in other units should all be considered as among the ways bed bugs may be spreading throughout the building.

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1 nobugsonme September 11, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Gawker has a post on this too, suggesting there may possibly be some basis for the J. C. Penney allegation, by noting that the lounge area was closed off for treatment:

We’re not sure, but a tipster tells us that Saatchi & Saatchi, which has represented Penney since late-2006, recently commissioned the store to deck out its new 17th floor lounge. That lounge, however, has now been closed due to the aforementioned bed bug invasion.

2 cilecto September 13, 2009 at 1:43 pm

New lounge = construction, painting.
Painting = drop-cloths
Drop clothes = up against baseboards of many places

Nah, blame a temp 😉

3 Jack Wiler September 14, 2009 at 3:51 pm

I manage a mid-town pest control firm. I’ve never seen an actual infestation of an office in six years. I have had two or three cases of companies who have an employee who brings the bugs to the office from home. I’ll do a cursory application if asked but question how and where the pco’s intend to treat in an office setting if no insects are visible.
I think in general companies go to extraordinary lengths such as hiring a pco because of fears of employee reactions. I don’t believe that the level of infestation by the insects currently approaches conditions in the twenties and thirties when there were no really effective pesticides available.

4 nobugsonme September 14, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Hi Jack,

I was under the impression that it is not legal to treat for bed bugs unless there are definite signs of infestation.

Moreover, if you look at the link to AgencySpy, they leaked a memo from the Saatchi administrators to employees which said,

Our testing shows that the insect condition is limited to the 17th Floor. We will continue to test other floors on an ongoing basis and react accordingly.

It also mentions the memo is “in reference to the bedbugs outbreak.”

Although the Penguin folks — who treated their offices in the same building in August were murkier about whether actual bed bugs were found, this memo — assuming it is accurate — suggests a bed bug problem was found at Saatchi.

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