Managing a residential apartment building or even a small multi-family house comes with plenty of challenges. Most states require landlords to maintain habitable and healthy environments for their tenants, which typically means dealing with pest infestations. Bed bugs can be particularly unpleasant, so it's never a good sign when a tenant finds one.
If you've never dealt with these pests before, you might now know how to proceed. In most states, you'll need to develop a plan of action as soon as possible since it's usually the landlord's responsibility to remediate pest problems. These three steps will help you determine the extent of the issue and find a cost-effective and permanent solution.
1. Get a Professional Inspection
Bed bugs are tiny, and they can hide in numerous places. Despite the name, these little critters can make their homes in sites other than bedding. Even if your tenant believes the largest concentration is in their mattress or box spring, don't assume that they aren't present elsewhere in the unit. Likewise, evidence of bed bugs can be challenging to spot, so a cursory inspection won't always reveal the issue.
Unless you have good reason to doubt the tenant's complaints, hiring a professional pest control company is usually the best first step. These experts know where to look, and they know how to spot the signs of an infestation, even if you can't see bed bugs crawling around. A professional inspection is also the best way to determine the severity of an infestation.
2. Check Nearby Units
Bed bugs can and typically do spread between apartments. If you have bed bugs in one of your units, there's a high likelihood that you have an infestation elsewhere in the building. Their ability to quickly move through a structure is another reason a professional evaluation is critical to controlling the problem and preventing it from returning.
In general, you will want to defer to the advice of pest control experts on where to look. For example, it may be most cost-effective to first check adjacent apartments and only expand your investigation if you find evidence of spreading. However, keep in mind that you won't save money over the long run if you underestimate your infection and need return visits.
3. Act Quickly
Once you've established that an infestation exists, it's crucial to act quickly. Since bed bugs can spread between units and travel on people and objects, delaying action can worsen the problem. The pest control contractors you hire can advise the best approach, although most will favor some combination of heat treatments, steam, and spraying. You may need several applications over a few weeks.
Bed bugs are frustrating and unpleasant, but you can minimize your mitigation costs by acting quickly once a tenant discovers them. By investigating the problem thoroughly, you can work with a pest control company to develop an approach that will permanently remove the bed bugs from your building.
For more information, contact a local company, like Cimex K9 Bed Bug Control.