Whether you are a landlord yourself or you’re just renting a place in an apartment building, bed bugs should always be something you keep an eye for. Bed bugs in apartment building complexes are even more troublesome than they are in single-household homes because in an apartment building they can easily infest multiple families.
What’s more, this makes them much harder the get rid of because even if you eliminate the bed bugs presence in one or in most apartments, if there is bed bug presence in even just one apartment, chances are that the little pests will soon spread everywhere again. For this reason, bed bugs in apartment buildings are – or should be – every landlord’s nightmare and should be taken care of efficiently and effectively.
Why do you need to tell your landlord if you have a bed bug infestation?
The question of how do bed bugs travel is not often asked but it’s quite important. Bed bugs are unlikely to just enter your apartment through your window the way a mosquito would. Bed bugs can neither fly nor jump, they can only crawl. That’s why they usually travel on us, which is quite a crucial factor in apartment buildings. This, essentially, means that if your neighbor has bed bugs, you’re quite likely to start waking up with bites all over your body pretty soon as well.
Another often asked question is “Can bed bugs travel through apartment walls?” and the answer here is usually “Yes”. As they can only crawl, bed bugs have difficulties with smooth surfaces such as PVC or ABS. However, they can quite easily use pipe chases, electrical runs, floor joists, or simple cracks in the walls to move from one room or apartment to another. All this means that if even just a couple of bed bugs get into an apartment building, pretty soon the entire place can be crawling with them if nothing is done.
What should your landlord do if one of the apartments has a bed bug infestation?
Landlords are often accused of being too sluggish when it comes to taking care of their apartments. We’re not here to judge nor are we going to ponder why this is so. However, parasite infestations such as bed bugs should be taken care of as quickly and effectively as possible the moment they are spotted in even just one room of an apartment building. In these cases, the landlord would be smart to assist the people living in his or her care while they treat their apartment for the bed bugs, as well as examine the other apartments around them for bed bug presence. The sooner the spread of the bed bugs is halted, the better it would be for everyone.
A lot of landlords feel like taking care of such problems is the job of the residents themselves, but the fact of the matter is that if a landlord lets a bed bug outbreak run wild, getting rid of the nasty parasites can eventually become so challenging that not only is it going to take a lot of time and money but the landlord will also risk losing a lot of his or her paying customers.
So, what should be done:
- Investigate all apartments in the building for bed bugs.
- Start treating every apartment together, whether chemically or through heat treatments so that the bed bugs have nowhere to migrate to.
- Arrange dry cleaning for all pieces of bedding, curtains, pillows, mattress covers, and so on at the same time.
- Investigate all apartments in the building once again after the treatment is complete.
- Take preventive measures for future bed bug infestations by enclosing all mattresses, couches, and so on with protective casings.
What steps need to be taken to prevent a future bed bug infestation in an apartment building?
As bed bugs enter our homes mostly through us and not through the buildings’ foundations, prevention is more the job of the people renting the apartments rather than the landlord. The way how to prevent bed bugs in an apartment building is by making sure that we don’t bring them in. Yes, the landlord would do well to arrange protective mattress covers for the apartments in his or her care, but it’s also the job of the residents to make sure they are not bringing any bed bugs in.
The most common way bed bugs are getting into our homes is by traveling on us after we’ve picked them up outside. Most commonly you can get bed bugs from spending time in a hotel that happened to have bed bugs, however, this isn’t the only way. Bed bugs can also attach to us on public transport, movie theatres, second-hand stores, gyms, and so on. So, while a lot of people have the instinct to always blame their frequently traveling neighbors, the fact of the matter is that anyone can bring bed bugs home and we should all make sure that we don’t.
Bed bug prevention is easily done but it does require care and dedication. Sources such as the EPA (United States’ Environmental Protection Agency) or WebMD can offer you a lot of insight on how to keep your home free of bed bugs as well as how to deal with them once you’ve spotted them.
Keep in mind that while it’s the landlord’s job to take measures once a bed bug infestation has been established, it’s the job of the residents to make sure it doesn’t come to this. Keep a watchful eye on your bedding and belongings, and take action if you spot even a single bed bug.