As a landlord or building manager, you are aware that there could be all kinds of infestations within your building or tenants’ homes. You work to prevent these infestations, such as getting seasonally sprayed for spiders and other pests and keeping things clean and tidy to deter rodents and cockroaches. Anyone that’s dealing with people constantly moving in and out, however, is more than likely to come across bed bugs at some point. Whether you’re working to prevent infestation or dealing with a bed bug occurrence, this landlord’s guide to bed bugs will help.
In your location, there could be special laws or regulations regarding reporting bed bugs and how to respond. Make sure you are educated about these.
Take the time to learn what the signs of bed bugs look like: blood, feces, whitish skin casings, bed bug larvae. Teach any staff to be aware of these signs, too, and to report any signs back immediately.
Learn how to prevent bed bugs, such as:
- Vacuuming often
- Making sure all apartments or homes are sealed and that all crevices within walls, behind baseboards and around electrical outlets are covered
- Teaching tenants how to prevent bed bugs (reducing clutter, inspection after travel, inspection of all secondhand purchases)
- Administering detailed inspections once tenants move out
- Doing detailed inspections of surrounding apartments or areas
- Developing a plan and policies for dealing with bed bugs effectively
- Doing periodic and random building inspections
Within these detailed inspections, you should be:
- Looking for signs of bed bugs
- Making repairs to areas where bed bugs can hide
- Hiring bed bug removal professionals to heat treat areas where bed bugs resided, preventing eggs from hatching and any bed bugs from moving to other areas
- Tossing, removing or heat cleaning all clutter where bed bugs might be hiding
Before bed bugs occur, educate tenants on how to prevent bed bugs and if they do occur, what policies you have regarding bed bug management. Tenants need to know that early detection results in the prevention of problems getting worse. Any signs of bed bugs need to reported immediately. The sooner bed bugs are eradicated, the less they will have had the chance to multiply. There are brochures available online that can be printed out and given to all residents once they move in. These guides will prove to come in handy if a bed bug infestation occurs.
You may wish to give workshops or orientations for tenants to teach them how to prevent bed bugs, how to identify them, how to reduce clutter, how to create environments where bed bugs will not want to live and how to report any suspicions.
Make sure you do not let a culture of blame develop in the community. If someone feels responsible for bringing in bed bugs, they may not report the infestation as soon as they should. Remember that beg bugs can occur anywhere and come from anywhere, so no one is at fault.
Give orientations to new staff, and post informational signs. All staff, especially janitorial or cleaning staff, needs to be aware of the signs of bed bugs and that they, too, need to report suspicions immediately. In addition, staff should be aware that they are not the ones who should be working to remove any bed bugs they find. Bed bugs should only be removed by trained Phoenix bed bug eradication professionals who know how to treat an area properly and effectively. Do not teach staff to remove or clean up bed bug areas by themselves. Over-the-counter bed bug pesticides are potentially dangerous and do not always do the job as effectively as it needs to be. Remind your staff to report bed bugs before attempting any at-home eradication.
When Infestations Occur
All bed bug infestations should be treated with urgency. Bed bugs multiply very quickly, especially if they are feeding. Many local laws require all tenants and residents to cooperate with bed bug eradication. Although most of the time it does not mean residents must move from their homes, residents should be aware that if a bed bug infestation is in their home, they are responsible for removing infested items.
Some treatments take a little time to eradicate, and both landlords and tenants need to be aware of this. Some bed bug professionals understand the urgency of dealing with the issue right away, but each infestation is different and eradication requires a thorough inspection of all possibly infected areas.
Whether you are the landlord or building manager of an apartment complex or separate residences, bed bugs are a common occurrence and can be prevented with proper steps and education. If they do occur, people should not be blamed, as bed bugs come from many places and can never be fully predicted. Take the time to educate yourself, your staff and your residents on how to prevent, detect and control bed bugs in all situations.