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Coworker is too cheap to take care of his infestation properly

(6 posts)
  1. nycgrrrl

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Apr 19 2012 15:28:26
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    Hello-

    I share a very small office space with 2 other coworkers. About 3 weeks ago, one of my coworkers (I will call him "Ben") found out his apartment had bedbugs. He lives in a 3 story building. His mother lives on the 1st floor, which is where the infestation was. He lives on the 2nd floor. He told us that his "friend" exterminated his mother's apartment for a very low fee. He also told us that this friend assured him the bugs were only on the 1st floor, and not in Ben's 2nd floor apartment.

    My other coworker alerted human resources to be safe. They brought in the bed-bug sniffing dogs and they found the scent of bedbugs in our office. They have since treated the area twice. They also sent the dogs to each of our homes. My apartment was clear, as was my third coworker, but the bed-bug sniffing dogs found the scent in Ben's bedroom (right by his bed) this morning and they also discovered his mother's 1st floor apartment is still infested.

    Ben has told us that his "friend" is going to treat both his apartment and his mothers apartment again. I am freaking out because it does not sound like his friend is doing a good job! He told him that his apartment was safe to begin with, when obviously it was not. I also find it very suspicious that he is charging such a low fee. Meanwhile, my coworker Ben also told us that he does not plan on throwing out his bed or his mattress because he is concerned about the cost to replace them.

    What should I do? I feel like it doesn't matter how many times they are treating our office, if Ben keeps bringing more of them in, then every day I am at risk of bringing them home with me. I can't force Ben to hire a more reliable exterminator, or to throw away his infested furniture at home, so what course of action can I take? Should I request that he be moved to a different office space? Should I explain my fears to human resources? I feel trapped every day in that space and am having a hard time getting my work done.

    Please help! Any advice welcomed.

  2. Emma

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Apr 19 2012 15:54:36
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    yes I would definatly speak to HR although if they then say something to "Ben" he'll probably know it was one of you. I would make a point of changing out of your work clothes as soon as you get home and putting them straight in the wash. I would also probably put some sticky tape down around your desk and see if that catches them. It sounds to me like he is probably treating them himself with something from a hardware store

  3. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Apr 19 2012 19:54:42
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    Is Ben renting or a homeowner? If the former, and I assume from your username you are in NYC, then his landlord has to hire a licensed PCO, not just get anyone at all to do it. If the mother is the landlord, then of course he's not going to turn her in.

    I expect your boss is concerned already, since there have been bed bugs in the office and they were found in one employee's home. It would seem prudent for the company to have Ben's home checked again after his round of treatment.

    I hope the k9 team is visually confirming alerts, however.

    Also, experts tell us it isn't necessary to throw out furniture in most cases, so it is probably unreasonable for you to expect this.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  4. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Apr 19 2012 19:55:56
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    There are also FAQs here on how to avoid bringing them home if exposed.

  5. cilecto

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Apr 19 2012 21:06:29
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    The Travel FAQ that NoBugs posted are a great starting point for protecting yourself. As the office is the suspect location, your goal is to try and keep the problem in the office, out of your home and car.

    Can you keep personal items bagged while in office, taking out only what's needed? Can you avoid taking work items and papers home? Can you have clothes to wear (including shoes & underwear that you change into (in a safe space) on arrival (bagging your home clothes) and reverse on the way out? Barring that, can you inspect yourself on the way out and again on arrival home? (One thing I'd try to minimize is having suspect items from work unwrapped in a space where you can't easily spot a straggler coming off it.)

    If your facility is professionally managed, they should have PCOs monitoring. If not, perhaps a passive monitor like BBAlert Passive under your chair. Regular inspection of (and under) your chair and "awareness" of anywhere you sit is smart in any case.

    You might need to ask the management for some accommodation. Be careful, though. Bosses don't like complainers. Bugs freak people out. Too many people don't completely understand BB. If you must raise the issue, recall the case of Ben and that you are continung to take precautions and need X, Y or Z.

    Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night...
    - Psalms 91:5-7

    (Not an pro)
  6. bedbugsuptown

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Apr 19 2012 23:15:19
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    nycgrrl I feel your fear and frustration. Sounds like a difficult situation.

    If the mother is the landlord, then of course he's not going to turn her in.
    Very smart thinking nobugs, sounds like a possible scenario.

    What I'm wondering is this: Is Ben a non reactor, there are people that have little or no reaction to bedbug bites. Is it possible to have a frank conversation with him regarding what's going on in his building? I hope the guy isn't a little off, you know what I mean. Hopefully Ben and his moms aren't a little buggy; that would not help in a situation like this.

    cilecto and nobugs gave you good protocol to protect yourself but it pisses me off to hear that you have to live like a your a pco when your not.

    My other coworker alerted human resources to be safe. They brought in the bed-bug sniffing dogs and they found the scent of bedbugs in our office. They have since treated the area twice. They also sent the dogs to each of our homes.

    That's pretty impressive, didn't think the city would get that involved.

    Keep posting. I believe these types of situations are well worth posting about,good luck from one New Yorker with zero tolerance for people that knowingly spread bugs.


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