Let’s talk about bedbugs/mice in state office buildings

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On Monday, we reported on recurrent mouse and bug sightings at 40 N. Pearl St., prompting several itchy state workers to reach out and let us know that their buildings are also crawling with pests.

A spokesperson for state’s Office of General Services says the agency makes sure buildings are exterminated as needed, noting that mice moving indoors for the winter is inevitable, but some state employees say OGS could take a more comprehensive approach.

While we have not spotted out any living creatures down at the Capitol since this year’s #budgetcoyote, we feel your pain. We’ve compiled some of our readers’ thoughts and theories on the resilient critters they have grown accustomed to sharing a work space with.

Want to join to conversation? Email rsilberstein@timesunion.com or share your thoughts in the comments.

Our original tipster speculated that a lack of covers on trash bins may be contributing to the mouse infestation and asked if OGS take a more “proactive” approach. Here’s her letter:

40 N. Pearl Streert formerly known as Ten Eyeck Bldg is connected to the Albany Hilton Hotel and is filled with mice running around during the day, another bed bug was recently discovered on 15thfl (see attached email to building employees and photo of mice trap), which is opposite to Hotel, roaches, and soap dispensers are filled with some type of flies.

Building Management will not take a proactive measure to exterminate entire building for all confirmed rodents found but will only exterminate for bed bugs on the floor that the bug was discovered on (guessing cost saving measure)

Many staff work in fear that a bed bug will unexpectedly attach itself to our clothing and come home with us resulting in a infestation at home. Our understanding is once infested, everything including picture frames must be discarded or subjected to high heat. We have mementos, antiques, pieces that hold sentimental value and there is no monetary amount to be given for replacement.

One employee takes her clothes off in her garage in fear of bringing a bed bug in her home and bags her work clothes to dry at high temp. We shouldn’t have to do this in order to come to work.

We received notification that trash cans in kitchenettes will have a lid which has not occurred although trash in the kitchenettes appears to be emptied daily now because mice are rampid throughout building and are even in garage attached to building which is owned by Albany Hilton Hotel. We have a restaurant, Pearl Street Diner and a convenience store in this building which are breeding grounds for mice. Is the Diner treating their area for mice?

Building has received a violation from Health Dept. which resulted in trash being emptied daily but we ask what will it take for further proactive measures to be done like exterminating every floor for bed bugs and putting more mice traps out, currently a trap is only put out if you see a mouse. Staff were told if we’re not scared to try and catch mice ourselves!!!

Please Help Us!

In response to our reporting, one reader had some insightful observations on the behavioral patterns of rodents and offered some common-sense advice:

Among the properties maintained by OGS the problem at the subject address is not unique.  Literally for decades, at the onset of cooler weather this time of year, the annual invasion of rodents into office spaces at Empire State Plaza begins.  Like humans, they want warmth, shelter, food and water, and NYS provides it free of charge.

The critters live in and travel through the utility races, the network of sub-floor tunnels through which power, coax, and phone cables are run to the work stations.  The dumber ones succumb to the OGS cheap-o solution, glue pads with a kernel of popcorn on them.  The survivors thrive on whatever food debris the employees leave behind.

Carpeting is not vacuumed on a daily basis, and employee work stations are rarely cleaned.  Of course, the complaining employees should also look to their not so neat colleagues as possible contributors to the problem.  Microwave ovens, toaster ovens, toasters, snack tables, sugar near the coffee pots, takeout food containers – a mouse buffet.

David weighed in on Twitter, saying that mice are normal in state office buildings, but bedbugs are not:

Finally, a perspective from a maintenance worker, John:

While maintenance and prevention are certainly the task of the building owners and or leaser I would add that occupants have as much blame for infestations. If I was allowed to do a walk through I can assure you that in many employees desks are: Crackers (peanut butter), candy, dried soup, oatmeal (mice love oatmeal), sugar, granola bars, coffee/tea, some offices allow this without ever thinking about the creatures all around them. I work in an I.T. department and I have had to crack a few desktops in my day because the user spilled something, it runs under the pc and they never ask for help or clean it themselves. When it dries it actually causes the pc to stick to the desk. Occupants call them snacks, facility people call them bait. Ever watch one of your fellow employees eat at their desk and then brush all the crumbs and crap onto the floor, or even better in the carpet? In their minds they are thinking well someone will clean that up eventually. Facility people can only do so much. Occupants can ruin any and most prevention strategies. Enough blame to go around for sure but to let them complain without the slightest pushback when they are the ones that most likely caused the problem in the first place is a slight to all that try combating these problems. IMHO office workers are just as slobish as any other work force. Respectfully submitted, not trying to be a jerk. john

JoJo sent over some bedbug facts from New York State integrated pest management, which puts things into perspective. Perhaps folks should hold off on burning all their belonging:

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