Bed bugs hit Wall Street Journal offices again

by nobugsonme on January 15, 2013 · 3 comments

in Bed Bug Control Techniques, bed bugs, bed bugs in the workplace

NPMA photo of bed bug see credit below

Bed bugs have hit the Wall Street Journal’s New York City headquarters – and the 1211 Avenue of the Americas building – once again, according to the Daily Intelligencer.

This past Friday, a bed bugs was sighted by an employee in the office’s 6th floor video area, according to an employee memo published by Capital. Over the weekend, according to the same memo, there was an inspection and treatment occurred for bed bugs.

The employee memo posted on Capital notes:

The check, which included a sniffer dog, indicated the presence of bedbugs, or their possible presence, in part of the video area and in part of the main 6th floor conference room. The areas affected have been steam cleaned (this kills bedbugs) and chemically treated (this kills bedbug eggs).

I am not a pest management professional but my understanding is this description of the treatment isn’t entirely accurate. Steam is a contact killer so you have to hit every bed bug to kill it. Used before a residual pesticide, the spray may get the bed bugs that survive the steam. But not necessarily.

Also, my understanding (and I hope an expert reader will correct me if I am wrong) is most pesticide sprays don’t kill bed bug eggs, and those few which do must make direct contact with the eggs.

A hopeful outcome in lieu of the spray killing all the eggs is that bed bugs hatch from any viable eggs and cross a residual pesticide, which kills them. There’s a certain amount of luck and skill involved in making that happen– it’s certainly not a given that one treatment will do the job, even if done by a skilled team. Follow-up inspections are necessary and follow-up treatments may be needed also (usually done at approx. 10-14 days later).

Educating employees and building staff about what bed bugs look like would be a really good idea at this point.

This isn’t the first time they’ve treated for bed bugs in this office or the building as a whole. Back in 2010, Wall Street Journal employees panicked when one staffer at Barron’s said he had bed bugs in his apartment building.

The WSJ offices were searched with a canine scent detection dog that signaled, and while no visual signs were found (according to WSJ blog Metropolis and Gawker, both in 2010), the offices were treated anyway with what a staff memo at the time called “an abundance of caution.”

If bed bugs were in the WSJ offices back in 2010, that wasn’t the first time they were known to be in the building.

Earlier, in 2006, and then in 2007 and again in 2008, Fox News was said to have bed bugs in its studios at the same address.

Interestingly, in 2008, Jane Clark, a former Fox employee, tried to sue the building and management over bed bug bites she claimed to have sustained while working at Fox led to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her case was thrown out of court in 2011 and I understand from the press that Clark planned to appeal.

This was well before Jerome Goddard and Richard de Shazo published their findings in the American Journal of Medicine in that “bed bug attacks cause moderate-to-severe psychological effects and PTSD in certain susceptible individuals.” You can download a PDF here. But I digress.

Bed bugs have hit many fine news outlets in New York City, as well as other workplace settings.

You may also be interested in these Bedbugger stories about bed bugs in the workplace, or more stories about bed bugs referencing offices in the 1211 Avenue of the Americas building.

On another note, a belated Happy 2013! May we have many positive developments in the fight against bed bugs this year. Thanks, as always, for reading


Image credit:

“Size of bed bug compared to dime,” by the National Pest Management Association, used under a Creative Commons Attribution License.


Psychological Effects of Bed Bug Attacks (Cimex lectularius L.)
Jerome Goddard, PhD, Richard de Shazo, MD. The American Journal of Medicine (2012) 125, 101-103.

1 TAOT January 15, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Isn’t it difficult to identify/find bedbugs in offices with cubicles? Do they reside in office chairs on wheels?

What is the best course of action for monitoring conference rooms with a large table and 20+ chairs? This is a common configuration in corporate and government offices.

2 nobugsonme January 15, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Good questions, TAOT!

3 Ci Lecto January 16, 2013 at 9:54 am

At this point, I’d expect that any large office will have bed bugs somewhere. (I came to this conclusion when I worked at a very big Manhattan bank and would regularly see the discreetly outfitted PCOs roaming around.) It’s then a matter of identification and control. Big companies generally already have “facilities management” departments and processes. Pest control is just another item on their list.

Considering where this alleged infestation is, I wonder if they’d be more upset at bed bugs or that FDR’s face is on the dime. 😉

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