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When working in homes...

(11 posts)
  1. BBNewbie

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Jul 26 2013 6:13:20
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    I work for a Social Service Agency. I am in sometimes 12 homes a day helping clients fill out paperwork for various programs. I see mostly roach infestations, but I'm sure there are also some BB's that I'm exposed to because it is in an area that is a hotspot for the problem.

    I have had two BB scares within the last year, both turning out negative. But the next time I may not be so lucky. I read the FAQ on traveling, but it did not really address the issues of "short visiting."

    Here are the precautions I take, I never sit down on anything upholstered, (only kitchen chairs)....I wear straight leg jeans that are snug around my ankles so the bottoms of my pants do not get close to the floor. I only bring my clip board into the home, and leave my laptop and computer bag in the car. I then transfer the info from my written notes onto the laptop in the car. It takes longer that way...but it's worth it I think.

    Can any of you see anything else I could do to stop any stow-a-ways? I am inspecting myself constantly and a year ago had a small brown bug climbing up my shirt when I left a residence. At that time, I just flicked it off and never gave it another thought. I don't know if it was a BB, but I am much more aware now and getting quite paranoid. I would hate to have to change careers ( I love my job), but I am absolutely terrified of bringing BB's home with me.

    Thank you in advance for any advice you can give me.

    S

  2. BBNewbie

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Jul 26 2013 6:19:59
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    I also forgot to mention, I am constantly looking at my clients and their children for possible signs of bites on their arms and any other exposed skin.

    I also, (after having been in an extremely dirty or visibly infested home) removed my clothing out in the attached garage and ran them straight down to the washer when I got home. However, BB's aren't visible like roaches and even the cleanest of homes can have them. It's just scary out there.

    S

  3. P Bello

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Jul 26 2013 7:52:51
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    Dear new-b,

    It's wise to be cautious and the steps you're taking are pretty good.

    Comments for your review and consideration:

    > Wear white or light colored clothing such that it will be easier to see if any bed bugs get on you.

    > Note that immature cockroaches may be tiny and transferred via hitchhiking as well.

    > When working in homes as you describe it is useful to limit what you bring in and place your tools/whatever in a white plastic trash bag or similar.

    > The risk of transfer is likely greatest when you're changing clothing and how this task is done. You may want to consider standing "in" a trash bag when changing and placing your suspect clothes directly into another trash bag.

    > Shoes are a significant risk factor. I'm sure you already bring a complete set of fresh clothing with you.

    > Some of my colleagues place pest strips in their tool boxes or sealed containers with certain work items on a preventative basis.

    > Always have a decent LED flashlight on hand.

    Hope this helps, good luck ! paul b.

  4. buggyinsyracuse

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Jul 26 2013 8:29:02
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    Paul offered up some excellent information, and he is an expert. One thing I'll ad: my father is a social worker and used to do many house visits. Roaches and roach eggs were a big concern. One tip he got from his fellow co-workers was to never wear shoes that had "groves" on the soles, but rather wear shoes with completely smooth soles. That way you are less likely to get a bug or an egg stuck in the groves of the soles of your shoes.

    Don't give up your job. It's a noble one and a needed profession. Take precautions and you should be fine.

  5. P Bello

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Jul 26 2013 8:45:50
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    Forgot to mention:

    > I took to wearing scrubs for such work. They're comfortable, cool to wear on hot days when working, inexpensive and available in many light colors. When the weather turns colder I usually wear painters pants. Note that I have found bed bugs in my pockets post heat treatment of work pants and in my shirt pocket during work. So, due to this, perhaps I'm overly cautious.

    > I found a pair of sneakers (rbks) that are completely white, even on the bottom and have nearly no cracks & crevices for bed bugs to hide in.

    > Some colleagues have taken to wearing disposable booties over their work shoes.

    > When working with Housing Authorities and Social Services type folks they've tell us about clients that come to their offices for various reasons and these people have bed bugs crawling on them within their offices. Understandably, these folks have significant concerns.

    > We also have EMTs, Fire & Police Depts who are dealing with bed bugs due to the people they interact with as well.

    Assuredly, it's a tangled web ! (Hey, that's it, we just need more spiders everywhere . . . )

    Have a great day ! pjb

  6. BBNewbie

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Jul 27 2013 12:35:28
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    TY for the good advice. I am pricing shoe covers and also considering getting a container to place my shoes into when I get home from work. I come in through the garage and would just put them in the container and go into the house in my socks.

    Question: Is there anything I can put in the container that would kill any eggs or nymphs that also would be safe for me to put the shoes back on the next day for work? Just exploring all options here.

    TY again for the great responses.

    S

  7. Nemo

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Jul 27 2013 12:43:32
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    The shoe container I use is a 2 gallon ziplock bag. Paul Bello uses the small Nuvan pest strips for his tool box, so that night work. I just keep a pair of inspection shoes in a zip lock in my car. Remember they could still maybe be on your clothes, though, and do a visual when you leave.

  8. Nemo

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Jul 27 2013 12:51:44
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    Oh I wouldn't trust your socks either... I think it's got to be like working in medicine--always use universal precautions. I've taken to throwing my clothes in the dryer as soon as I get home. If you have to return to work from a visit I'd take a change of clothes and put your site visit clothes in ziplocks.

    I think the booties make it harder for bed bugs to hide on your shoes and easier to spot them, but are no guarantee.

  9. P Bello

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Jul 27 2013 13:27:09
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    Note that EVERYTHING I wear in a bed bug location is heat treated in my own heat treatment unit that was fashioned using the following items:

    > one large rough neck trash can & cover

    > approximately six feet of two inch pvc pipe

    > one 90 degree pvc elbow fitting

    > one "T" or three way pvc fitting

    > two pvc end caps

    > one neoprene two inch coupler with clamps

    > one con air hair dryer

    Total cost was about $65.

    It works very well.

    I think there are photos of it in my articles.

    pjb

  10. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Jul 27 2013 14:06:23
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    There's a section of our resources page with relevant fact sheets for people who work in potentially infested environments like home visitors. Click here to go to the Resources page or here to go straight to Resources for Home Visitors (and others who work in potentially infested homes)

    Many here have also found Packtites helpful (FAQ on Packtite), and the FAQs on getting bed bugs out of your stuff may also help.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  11. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Mon Jul 29 2013 13:58:51
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    Hi,

    I meant to try and post to this on Friday but time ran out and the call of a club whisked me off into the night.

    I am going to turn this on its head and say that from my perspective you are looking at this wrong, looking at people to asses if they may have an issue with bedbugs when 60% of people don't respond to bite is just asking to fail at this one. It also makes them feel uncomfortable and that you might be judging them and their home, not ideal is you are there to help them.

    Therefore I am going to outline this in the way I would advocate it and explain why:

    • Whats you bedbug work related action plan - although non of us want to have to action this plan the reality is that its needed. The basic "stop, drop and roll" of bedbugs. Do you have an emergency clothing solution, does the office have a PackTite to decon your items, do you have dissolving laundry bags available, do you need a field emergency kit for you vehicle or bag?
    • Whats your on location risk assessment - there is no point in assesing people for bedbug signs, you have to get into the habit of checking the room. I always inspect peoples homes before I am willing to sit down and if there is an issue int he home I will pick a dinning table chair over soft furnishings every time. You detect bedbugs and their signs with your eyes (some of us have dog like noses but its rare).
    • What the action plan you have in place at home - if you consider yourself to be in a high risk group then having a home action plan in place is also essential. I personally would base this on regular (once a week) monitoring so that you always detect at the earliest possible sign before it becomes an issue.

    Now some of these are personal issues while others are company / organisation policy issues but they are essential in ensuring that you can still do your job without having to risk refusing someone help because they may have bedbugs.

    Hope that makes sense.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    I am happy to answer questions in public but will not reply to message sent directly or via my company / social media. I am here to help everyone and not just one case at a time.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bed bug infestations. I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for any comments I make about pro

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