The United States is currently facing a resurgence of bed bugs, and according to the National Pest Management Association, this country is on the verge of a bed bug pandemic. Bed bugs are not just infesting homes and apartments, they're also in office buildings, places of worship, libraries, movie theaters, retail stores, hotels and college dormitories. Bed bugs may be infesting these facilities directly, or employees and vendors may be bringing in the uninvited guests from home. In either case, building service contractors shouldn't be surprised if they encounter these pests at their accounts.

Bed bugs can be easy to spot: they are the size and color of an apple seed. But they are also nocturnal and elusive because they hide in baseboards, electrical switch plates, picture frames, cubicle dividers and upholstery.

Bed bugs feed exclusively on blood, but they don't need to eat every day. After a meal, they will hide in secluded places for five to 10 days while they digest, mate and lay eggs. Female bed bugs will lay between one and five eggs a day and the eggs will hatch seven to 10 days later, quickly surmounting to a massive infestation.

Bed bugs are not just
infesting homes; they are
in office buildings, hotels,
retail stores and colleges

Vacuuming with a crevice tool can remove accessible and visible clusters of bugs typically found under desks, on chairs and even walls. Follow this with steam cleaning to penetrate seams of upholstery, cubicle dividers and desk crevices to kill bugs and destroy eggs. Janitors should change out vacuum bags immediately after cleaning — seal them in plastic bags and discard them in outside containers. In addition, if vacuums are stored on site at the account, janitors should monitor the storage area as the vacuum itself can be a common residence for bed bugs. If using pesticides, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently compiling a list of products effective against bed bugs.

One final note: If BSCs have not diversified into pest control, its best to leave this problem to the experts because it can get litigious quickly.