The Cable Bug Phenomenon
Pest-Tech gets called to office environments on a regular basis as it is believed staff are getting bitten. Many of the call outs are caused by the phenomenon known as “cable bug”. So what is it and how do you get rid of it. Cable bug is not actually a bug but it does need addressing to manage the welfare of your staff.
If staff members report insect-like bite marks on exposed skin your first reaction may be that a member of staff may have brought in a flea infestation from home. It’s easily done and does happen so don’t rule it out. The first thing you should do is an investigation of the building or room presumed to be infested. If it shows no evidence of any insect activity then you should consider the problem to be cable bug.
What Causes Cable Bug?
If you have a room with lots of electrical equipment with shallow piled polypropylene carpets, high levels of static electricity can be formed. As office staff walk about the office in synthetic soled shoes on polypropylene carpets they become electrostatically charged. This charge is then discharged through contact and this can feel like a bite. Not only this but also leave a mark which could be mistaken for a bite. It is the reaction on the skin surface causing the characteristic round red mark associated with biting insects, that raises alarm. Those that have dealt with a flea infestation will know the sensation feels exactly the same. Staff wearing nylon clothing often can increase the chances of occurrence.
What Can Be Done To Remove This Issue?
There are some things that can’t be changed due to the nature of the environment. If your business involves lots of electrical equipment in a room such as a call centre then there is not a lot that can be done to change this. However, as the business owner, you may wish to consider flooring. Maybe move away from shallow piled polypropylene carpets usually found in the office environment. This may not be practical so other options may be engaging with staff, informing them of the issue. You cant always tell staff what to wear but they may take action in their choice of footwear or clothing.
Another option would be to carry out a treatment for this type of issue. If you have a maintenance man then he could do this for you. Simply mix up a soapy water mix and lightly spray the common carpet areas. Ensure that this is kept away from electrical items and floor mounted power sockets. Of course, if they do not feel safe doing this then it is a task that a professional pest control company will take on. We use a pre-mixed antistatic solution that we use for situations like this. It may only need to be done on a quarterly basis or when there is increasing evidence of infestation. We have a contract in place in which we carry out this type of activity every 3 months with a large sales office.
Could it be Fleas?
As mentioned before there is always a chance that it could be an actual flea infestation. It has happened to us many times before. The simple way to check for fleas in an office environment is to investigate the area. At the area where someone is reporting of getting bitten place on the floor a white sheet of paper. Then put a desk lamp on it and the fleas will be attracted to the heat and you will see the fleas on the white background. This is simply how a flea lamp works which you can also purchase on the internet. These are slightly better as they come with a sticky pad which the fleas stick to. This is not a way to deal with fleas but just for identifying a flea infestation is present.
If you have done your investigation and would like to know more about our flea treatments then visit our Flea page. Hopefully this blog has helped you to understand a common problem happening in offices all over town. If you need more information or help with your situation then contact us and we can help.