Bed Bugs in Property Management

//Bed Bugs in Property Management
By |2019-09-26T21:22:12+00:00September 26th, 2019|blog|0 Comments

Bed Bugs in Property Management

09.26.2019

A Guide to Handle Bed Bug Infesations

Bed Bugs in Property Management

From public housing in lower income areas to high-rise condos in metropolitan cities, property managers have a big responsibility when it comes to keeping tenants safe from all kinds of harm. In the last 10 years, bed bug infestations have become a serious problem in housing throughout the country. This blog post will cover some of the most important issues regarding bed bugs in property management including guidelines and best practices.

Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet when it comes to eliminating bed bugs. But that does not suggest there is any room for a lackadaisical approach to meeting the bed bug challenge.

A bed bug outbreak in a single unit of an apartment complex can quickly become a larger issue if left unaddressed. Bed bugs have a way of traveling and will quickly infest neighboring units. That’s why bed bug prevention and control are imperative in property management.

Bed bug in property management success stories typically involve tenants, management and pest control professionals working together to battle the issue. With this in mind, here are some ways property managers can prevent and control bed bug infestations from taking hold in their properties.

Bed Bug Prevention

Education

Prevention and control of bed bugs is a team effort. Try to raise awareness of the issue through education. Consider holding workshops for tenants and building staff so they can identify bed bugs.

Other important pieces of information to share are:

  • How to create unfriendly environments for bed bugs

  • The importance of checking luggage and clothes thoroughly when returning home from a trip

  • Checking for any signs of bed bugs before bringing secondhand items home.

It’s a good idea to post signs and provide handouts to tenants and staff regarding bed bug prevention.

Reduce Clutter

Bed bugs love to tuck themselves away and can easily go unnoticed in spaces that are very cluttered. It’s important to eliminate as much clutter in common areas and in single units as possible.

Encourage ‘Buy-In’

It’s important to get your tenants to take an active role in bed bug prevention so that they will not only keep an eye out for signs of an infestation, but also bring it to your attention. In inner cities, and particularly in lower income public housing where there may be tenants who do not speak English, you may need to provide educational materials in other languages.

Bed Bug Control

Even the best prevention methods may not safeguard your property 100% from a potential bed bug infestation. Here are some ways property managers, pets control professionals and tenants can get an infestation under control and keep it under control:

Visual Inspections

It’s important that the level of bed bug infestation is determined as quickly as possible. You must inspect for bed bugs in various sites, especially at-risk location.

You will need to alert tenants that inspections will be happening. Make sure inspections occur during hours that someone will be home to let the pest control professionals inside each unit. The importance of visual inspections cannot be stressed enough. Early detection and a prompt response will be the most time- and cost-effective solutions for bed bugs in property management.

Non-Chemical Treatment Methods

While fumigation is widely used to treat bed bug infestations, there are also non-chemical treatment methods that are safe and effective.

Heat Treatment

Oftentimes washing bedding and clothing in hot water and then drying them on high heat will kill the little buggers. Bed bugs are sensitive to high temperatures, so if the infestation is bad enough, heating the whole room is possibly your best option.

Steam Treatment

The best type of steam to use is superheated dry steam. The key to having steam cleaning work is to set the temperature to at least 130o F, but this is not hot enough to kill bed bugs on contact: it will take multiple passes. However, the Polti Cimex Eradicator reaches 356°F which kills bed bugs instantly.

Cold Treatment

Cold treatment has also been shown to work, but the freezer must be set to 0o F to be successful. Also, the items of clothing or bedding must be left in the freezer for at least four days. Once you place your items in the freezer, leave it alone and keep the door shut.

Bed Bug Monitors

Bed bug monitors have become a game changer in the fight against infestations. Monitors can help property managers and professional exterminators identify pest problems early.

There are currently different bed bug monitors on the market. Some cost as low as $5 while others cost as much as $1,000. As with just about anything in life, you get what you pay for. Some monitors actually contain a bed bug blood meal lure. More expensive monitors use a CO2 source to imitate human breathing to attract the bed bugs. And still others use a sticky attractant in a trap that can be placed under the bed.

As we’ve already mentioned, you need to detect infestations early to limit costs and resolve the problem quickly.

Bed Bugs in Property Management – Whose Responsibility Is It?

Should a tenant report bed bugs, the property management should respond within a 24-hour period to discuss measures the tenant can take to control the infestation before a professional inspection can be scheduled. Property managers may not charge a tenant for the cost of bed bug treatment. Those costs must be covered by the property owner.

Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

Tenants should be encouraged to immediately report any suspicion of bed bugs in their unit or common areas. Upon reporting the sighting of bed bugs, a tenant should expect a quick response by the property managers. An inspection by a professional should occur within three days.

In accordance with the lease, the tenant must allow staff or an exterminator to enter their unit to perform an inspection and necessary treatment. This treatment must start within five days should bed bugs be found.

Tenants should also be advised of the expected timeline. Generally speaking, it takes several weeks for treatment to be fully effective. During this time, tenants are expected to cooperate with management and follow guidelines and procedures. While the tenant should not expect to cover the costs of professional inspections and extermination treatments, they will not be reimbursed for any personal expenses, such as the purchase of new furniture, clothing or bedding.

And finally, a property housing authority may not deny tenancy to a potential resident because of their involvement in a prior bed bug infestation.

Do not take bed bugs in property management lightly. Take preventative measures and ensure tenants, management and pest control professionals work together. Inspect and act quickly to limit bed bug infestations.


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