If you manage an apartment complex, one of the worst messages you can get from a tenant is that they think they have bed bugs. Bed bugs continue to be a problem, especially in multi-family buildings. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reports that nearly all of the pest control companies surveyed said that they had dealt with calls about bed bugs during the past year. As the weather warms up, if you start getting calls about bed bugs, it's time to bring in a bed bug specialist to stop the infestation before it spreads throughout the complex.
Tracking Down Bed Bugs
Bed bugs feed on the blood of people as they sleep. These pests don't stray far from their food source, so they will live within a few feet of where people sleep. Bed linen, mattresses and box springs are favorite hang outs for bed bugs. Exterminators will also find them in the folds of draperies, hidden under tables and chairs, in carpet and in clothing stored in hanging bags or cedar chests. They have even been discovered in electrical outlets and behind switch plates.
Why Bed Bugs Are Hard to Remove
The difficulty in finding all of their hiding places is one reason bed bugs are so hard to get rid of. Large populations is another reason. The female bed bug can lay 500 eggs in their lifetime. Complete extermination of a bed bug problem requires killing all of the existing adult population and destroying all of the eggs. If you miss one batch of eggs, you'll soon have another thriving bed bug colony.
Tenants need to be in compliance with your bed bug eradication protocol to remove the bed bug threat. Besides a pest control company like Pest Control Solutions treating the complex, tenants must wash all of their bedding, clean their draperies, and disinfect mattresses.
Education is Key
Make sure your tenants know how important it is to report any bed bug problems. The social stigma behind bed bugs may keep some tenants from calling about a problem, choosing to deal with it themselves. Bed bugs can quickly make their way into adjoining units, infecting other apartments. An isolated problem can soon become an issue for the entire apartment building if not reported and treated. Once a bed bug problem has been discovered in a unit, all building residents should be put on the alert to look for signs of these pests. Have them report any signs of:
- residents complaining of small, red bites on their skin when sleeping
- egg masses that look like tiny, off-white grains of rice
- dark brown or reddish bed bug droppings
Fighting off a bed bug infestation is a team effort with you, the pest control company and your tenants working together to find and exterminate these pests.