Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Psychological and Health problems caused by bed bugs (besides bites)

article about workplace ostracism

(10 posts)
  1. so unsettling

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Wed Nov 3 2010 16:14:45
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    Hi. I was just reading the news flash about a worker who was shunned by his coworkers over the bugs.

    Many of us worry about getting this kind of reaction and so take precautions and remain silent. But there is something else I have been wondering about that I haven't really seen addressed here. While we worry about bringing them to work and facing down ostracism if we talk about a home infestation, what makes us think we didn't acquire the bugs from work in the first place? Many people don't know for certain how they got them, and the job site is as likely a source as anything else. Most managers would say that they have never had them there, but how would they know this if no one ever brought up the possibility and they never inspected? No one wants to be the fall guy who admits to this, thus leading to the assumption that it all traces back to their homes and items brought to work. But if a person could honestly say they don't know how they got them, they could just look their manager or supervisor squarely in they eye and suggest that the source might be right in the office. It would be one way to address the situation without having to wimp out in shame in front of the boss, or suffer via the blame game.

    Just a thought.

  2. SeaBug

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Nov 4 2010 0:23:45
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    "No one wants to be the fall guy who admits to this, thus leading to the assumption that it all traces back to their homes and items brought to work."

    Look, If your co-workers are so immature that they can't get around the temptation to use you as a scapegoat...then I suggest you start taking notes on everything that may happen to you, that you would consider as out of the norm, or anything said on the subject from your supervisor.

    Then get a lawyer to help you file a hostile workplace charge on your company for singling you out.

    But if you don't want to narc on your co-workers then maybe you could come out 100% about your bedbugs, and help educate your fellow workers about what you know would help them avoid the same fate since you are already ahead of the curve on the issue.

    Hey! your co-workers might even nominate you as shop-entomologist steward. You will then get a lot of free time off from your duties to run around the office fighting bugs for your boss

    Good luck!

  3. Ohmygawd

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Nov 4 2010 0:46:31
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    I can understand why people are so freaked out about them, but to ostracize someone is just really sad.

    I'm actually thinking about this myself right now, I was considering writing an article about it as the part of a submission for this magazine we put together here. I was going to call it "My Bedbug Confession" .. and it will deal with this issues of the stigma, the psychological impact, the craziness of it all.

    I'm sort of flip flopping about it. Do I really want to out myself to the entire department? Would people treat me differently? Probably, but I like to think not.

    It's something people should talk about because that promotes education, and lets be serious, education is the best step towards getting rid of them.

  4. SeaBug

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Nov 4 2010 2:09:33
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    Ohmygawd - 58 minutes ago  » 
    I was considering writing an article about it as the part of a submission for this magazine we put together here. I was going to call it "My Bedbug Confession" .. and it will deal with this issues of the stigma, the psychological impact, the craziness of it all"

    I think you should go for it! But, then again, I'm just part of the choir. (q-y-er: not sure if I spelled it wright) But who knows what it would play-out like in the world of the uninitiated. as long as it would not risk your job? I guess it would be a good idea, but, I'm a blue-collar public employee so I don't give a bedbug antenna hoot about my social image at work...were all freaking crazy!

    I myself is tempted to warn my fellow workers about the biggest risk of them all! LACK OF SLEEP!

    Lack of sleep due to bedbugs might just become developing labor/employment law in the near future,as it should, because people employed in safety sensitive positions are going to have to stand down and call in sleep sick to help protect the public interest.

    I wish you well, you sound like a kind person.

  5. insecticidal

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sat Dec 18 2010 21:16:42
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    I got straight-up banned from my office! Luckily, I have a job I can pretty well do from home.

    The downside is that I'm 24/7 bug bait. A new infestation sprang up around my computer that I doubt would have happened if I didn't have to keep coming back there, all day.

  6. victimized

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Dec 19 2010 1:00:08
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    This post is right on time as this is an issue I am particularly vulnerable to right now.

    Though my sister may or may not have been the reason for the bugs in my house, I got rehired as a part-timer at a place I worked full-time at three years ago. This was late August and in the autumn I started noticing pimples on my bum. I figured this was from sitting all day. I work at a place that makes replacement convertible tops so think about it, there is fabric and card board boxes EVERYWHERE.

    We take turns working at different machines depending on what we are each working on and most of the time we share the same nasty old office chairs that they were using 3 years ago. Last week I had not been to work for four days and after having had a treatment at home that Tues, I was holding my breath because no new bites appeared. I went back to work on Wed. Low and behold, that afternoon new bites started to appear. The same happened the next day, etc. All day yesterday I was itchy and uncomfortable, feeling like things were crawling in my clothing. Sure enough I did have new bites.

    I have no mentioned my problem as I am very close to being fired. With all this going on at home it's been hard getting things ready for treatment, etc so I have had to call out a few times. Tell them i have beg bugs? Forget it. It is a catch 22 though. I need to work to have the money to pay for taking care of this problem, yet there is the possibility that working there is what lead up to all this to begin with!

    Because of where I live, totally stripping down and bagging clothes BEFORE coming into the house is just not possible so I strip down very quickly in the house and put everything immediately into the dryer and run up to get a hot shower.

    Yesterday I was so upset and worried about re-infesting my house I wanted to call a lawyer and get a consultation. I worry that because there is no proof they were acquired at work I'd get nowhere. I had also told my co-worked once my sister and her friends have bugs but don't care so she could easily use that against me. It isn't possible to know if any other workers have bites either. If I did try to seek legal action against them it could totally back fire. However, all the workers could very well be at stake.

    I've also found it strange that, in addition to repainting in the office, every so often I come in and all the stuff from the office is boxed and out in the shop. No one needs to deep clean an office to that extent that often if you ask me. We also get a lot of side projects coming through that hang out for a while, like the loan chair or antique sofa that needs to be recovered.

    I hate to go back there even though my car is currently just as big a threat at this point. I am out a shitload of money though and know I am getting seriously seriously bit at work. Call a lawyer? Put a trap out?

  7. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Dec 19 2010 2:42:05
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    victimized - 1 hour ago  » 
    I hate to go back there even though my car is currently just as big a threat at this point. I am out a shitload of money though and know I am getting seriously seriously bit at work. Call a lawyer? Put a trap out?

    I guess my reaction would be, if you think you're being bitten at work, tell your boss. Ask if your co-workers are feeling the same thing. Treat it like a case of bed bugs at work, pure and simple. They should do something, work on detection, treatment if necessary, etc.

    Keep in mind the issue at work may be fleas, or some other issue.

    Have you verified for certain that you have bed bugs at home?

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  8. victimized

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Dec 19 2010 3:34:18
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    Nobugsonme,

    I did have a confirmed case in my house. The symptoms I experience at or after work are usually the same. Not that I want to, I have not seen any evidence in about two weeks. I am not positive the last thing I found was actually a BB but after looking at it under a loupe it is sure looks like one. Must be a first stage nymph though as it was TINY.

    Have not yet seen any live evidence of anything at work or in the car either but have been getting bit by something somewhere since then. I've also noticed more of the pairs of marks I keep getting on the bottom of my feet once in a while. Oddly enough I feel a lot of times when I am shoe'd that something is crawling around in my sock inside my shoe.

    This would be a problem even if the problem was fleas or carpet beetles because there are no physical evidence of those either. I have seen two carpet beetles recently. One fell out of my kitchen cabinet before Nov. 13 (the bad day) and the other night I found one on the side of my doorway in the kitchen. However, have not seen them anywhere else. Nor is there carpeting anywhere else but the room I do not go into.

  9. insecticidal

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Dec 19 2010 4:09:37
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    I thought I was getting bit at work, but they brought in an expert who's been working exclusively on BBs for the past 3 years, and he didn't find any.

    Can anyone comment on the itching and "crawling" sensation? Is it possible this is all a delayed effect of bites that are occurring at home?

    I'd say you should just be sure not to bring bugs to work. Make sure everything from your shoes to your coat (I use a zippered hoodie, for this reason) are clean, and that you don't touch anything between getting dressed and walking out the door.

    Look for little white specs on the chair. Most of the bites you'd get should be from nymphs, which will be very small, like mites. You can use a piece of duct tape or packing tape to clean off the fabric, BTW. Check the seams of the cushion and, if you have some time alone, maybe even dismantle parts of the chair to look for BBs. If anyone catches you, you could play dumb and say the chair was loose and you were just tightening it up, or even admit to the feeling of bugs or being bitten, but say you're looking for dust mites or spiders or something and not go straight to BBs.

    I don't know about how to deal with your supervisor, at least regarding whether or not to tell them. However, I'm make sure they know that you take your job performance seriously, that you're sorry to inconvenience them, and that absolutely want to make it up, if possible. Depending on your job, these might be things like extra hours or unpopular tasks. But you want your supervisor to understand that you want to be a team player and that, ultimately, you want to help THEM be successful, because that's what's truly important to them.

  10. insecticidal

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Dec 19 2010 4:16:31
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    BTW, if it's within your means, I highly recommend isolating your bed (mattress + boxspring covers and a simple foundation + climbup interceptor/preventers and/or tape). Not only will you be more comfortable, but it will also put the brakes on the bugs' breeding.

    Add an effective residual treatment (like DE, or whatever else the PCO dusts or sprays), and you've got the main ingredients of a solution.

    Good luck with everything!


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