Survey Finds Property Managers Unaware of Growing Bed Bug Threat
ATLANTA – Survey results released today by Atlanta-based pest control company Orkin, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of international consumer services company Rollins, Inc. (NYSE: ROL), and Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International indicate that the commercial property management industry is largely unaware that bed bugs are a growing concern in office buildings.
The survey recently distributed to BOMA members – property managers, building owners and other commercial real estate professionals – asked about pest management issues, including bed bugs, and sustainability practices.
More than 90 percent of respondents have not experienced or are even aware of a commercial real estate bed bug problem. In fact, 75 percent said that bed bugs pose “little to no threat” or a “minor threat” to the commercial real estate industry. However, even one in ten reporting a bed bug presence is a concerning emergent trend in an environment with no beds. Other data indicate that commercial offices are increasingly susceptible to bed bugs. From 2008 to 2009, Orkin’s bed bug service in office properties more than doubled.
“It’s a common misconception that bed bugs only affect places where people sleep – hotels, apartments, homes – but bed bugs are migrating into offices and other commercial spaces,” said Orkin Director of Technical Services Dr. Ron Harrison. “Tenants can easily and unknowingly transport bed bugs from their home or travels to their workplace, where the bugs can infest practically any soft surface like chairs, rugs, sofas and even cubicle dividers.”
In the survey, one BOMA member commented on the difficulty of controlling an infestation.
“The biggest problem is treating and containing the spread. We were able to treat the tenant space, remove the chairs that were hosting the bugs; however, we cannot stop the main source since it [was] mostly coming [from] someone’s home.”
Respondents indicated the need for an educational resource to help them communicate about the issue with tenants. In response, Orkin has developed a tip sheet to provide property managers the key facts about bed bugs and how to educate their tenants, available at orkincommercial.com.
• As far as other pests, property managers cited rodents (37 percent) and cockroaches (28 percent) as their top concerns.
• Other pesky office building pests included ants, flies and birds.
• A majority of respondents (68 percent) indicated “tenant satisfaction and retention” as their top priority related to their building’s pest management program, which is up 20 percent from last year’s survey. Other concerns were “preventing property damage by pests” (41 percent) and “reputation of the property and company” (34 percent).
“Due to the state of the economy, property professionals have been especially focused on tenant retention,” said James A. Peck, RPA, FMA, Chair of BOMA International and senior director of asset services for CB Richard Ellis. “We heard from our members that they’re interested in resources that will help them improve the delivery of services and amenities that boost tenant satisfaction. Orkin’s guide to bed bugs in commercial property and the bed bug checklist give property managers tools to communicate with tenants and raise awareness about this emerging issue.”
The survey also revealed that “green” issues are of moderate importance to property managers, with four in 10 respondents indicating their building achieved or is pursuing a standard for environmentally sustainable construction and operations such as LEED or BOMA 360.
Property managers can access free educational resources on the Property Management section of the Industry Solutions tab of the Orkin website.
About Orkin, LLC
Founded in 1901, Atlanta-based Orkin is an industry leader in essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Central America, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Asia and the Mediterranean. With more than 400 locations, Orkin’s almost 8,000 employees serve approximately 1.7 million customers. The company serves homeowners and numerous industries, including food and beverage processing, foodservice, hospitality, healthcare, retail, warehousing, property/facilities management, schools and institutions. Learn more about Orkin on at www.orkin.com
. Orkin is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rollins, Inc. (NYSE: ROL).
About BOMA International
Founded in 1907, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International is an international federation of more than 100 local associations and affiliated organizations. The 18,000-plus members of BOMA International own or manage more than 9 billion square feet of commercial properties in North America and abroad. BOMA’s mission is to enhance the human, intellectual and physical assets of the commercial real estate industry through advocacy, education, research, standards and information. On the Web at www.boma.org