What to Do When Bedbugs Bite at Work

Bedbugs—those nasty parasites that feed off human blood—are typically a household problem. But every now and then, the critters find their way into the workplace, as they did last week at BuzzFeed’s headquarters in New York City.

The infestation prompted BuzzFeed’s chief communications officer to order employees to work from home.

“We are acting out of an abundance of caution and asking you to work from home tomorrow to give facilities the chance to deal with this in the fastest and environmentally safest manner,” the communications officer, Carole Robinson, wrote in an e-mail to workers June 22. “Fumigation will take place as soon as possible.” She wrote that the headquarters office would be open until 11 a.m. that day to allow employees to grab laptops and other desk items, although she asked staffers to avoid retrieving items from the floor.

“We have every expectation that it will be all clear to re-enter the office and resume normal course of business by Friday morning,” Robinson wrote.

The Environmental Protection Agency says it is “very unlikely, though not impossible, that a bedbug infestation will develop in an office, classroom or other nonresidential environment, such as a department store. However, these sites can serve as transfer hubs for bedbugs to hitchhike a ride into your home. Management, staff, students and workers all have roles to play in reducing the spread of bedbugs.”