Have some of the residents in your apartment complex been away on vacation? If they have, and you suddenly find yourself scratching, you may want to look around your apartment for bedbugs.
Bed bugs can be unwelcome guests who hitch rides back from hotels and other overnight accommodations. Your neighbors may have unwittingly brought them home from their travels. And even though you didn't make a trip, you may suffer the repercussions of the infestation right along with your neighbors.
Why Are Bed Bugs Such a Nuisance in Apartment Buildings?
There are a couple reasons why bed bugs spread so fast.
- They can be hard to detect. They are extremely small and you don't feel them bite immediately–it's not until you wake up with welts that you may notice the problem. If you look close, you can often find small red spots on sheets or dark corners that indicate bed bugs are living with you.
- They make their way quickly from place to place. One study of an infested apartment building found that the pests either walked from one apartment to another or they hitched a ride into public areas on furniture or personal possessions that were being moved. If one apartment had bed bugs, the odds were up to 53 percent that the apartment next door and 45 percent that the one across the hall also had them.
What Can You Do Once Bed Bugs Show Up?
The first step as an apartment resident is to notify the building's management. They will be responsible for bringing in qualified pest control managers to contain the problem.
Many states have laws on the books that address issues with bed bugs; five states have specific requirements about what the manager of a residence must do if bed bugs are reported. Even if your state doesn't have specific laws, it's generally in your landlord's best interest to tackle the problem immediately. Eradicating bed bugs from a couple of apartments will cost a few hundred dollars; removing them from an entire building can run into the thousands.
Once your landlord hires a pest control service, you will need to make your apartment available for extermination. This may mean permitting the professional to closely examine your bedroom area, your closets, your drawers and other dark areas where the bugs like to hide. You may also need to remove any pets and vacate the apartment for a brief time while any pesticides are applied.
There are some things you can personally do to remove bed bugs:
- Clean up. Bed bugs like to hide under things. Make sure you don't have a lot of clutter.
- Wash your bedding and clothing frequently.
- Vacuum regularly.
- Remove and destroy any furnishings, like a mattress, that are completely infested with the pests. Your renter's insurance may cover the cost of a replacement.
For more information about bed bugs and how to get rid of them in multi-tenant buildings, talk to your professional pest control expert. If you want to learn more about what pest control can do, click here for info.