How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs In Your Apartment Building

About Thorn

Thorn is a local Utah pest management company. We are a QualityPro certified company which is a prestigious accreditation awarded to less than 3% of the pest management companies in the US.

Thorn professional inspecting for pests in a living room

When it comes to getting rid of pests in apartment buildings, it’s crucial to have the right plan. 

Apartment buildings have specific features and intricacies that can make controlling certain pests challenging, especially if the pests present are bed bugs. 

Bed bugs have been known to create issues in a variety of places, such as:

  • Single-family homes
  • Multi-family dwellings
  • Hotels
  • Offices
  • Public transportation

Of all the places bed bugs are found, it is multi-family dwellings that often presents the most severe and challenging bed bug problems. Apartments and multi-family buildings provide unique circumstances that can encourage bed bug infestations.

So, how do you make sure bed bugs don’t become an ongoing issue in your apartment building, and what do you do if they’ve already moved in?

Bed Bug Reproduction and Infestation

Bed bugs are known for high numbers and large infestations that can get out of control quickly. This must be avoided whenever possible, otherwise massive explosions in bed bug numbers can happen within weeks.

Anytime someone is coming or going from an apartment, there is a chance that bed bugs are being spread.

To give you an idea of how quickly bed bugs spread: 

  1. It only takes one inseminated female to start an infestation
  2. After a blood meal, females can lay anywhere from 1-5 eggs in a day
  3. Eggs hatch in 8-10 days and become mature adults in 1-2 months
  4. Uncontrolled bed bug populations can double in number every 13 days

As you can tell, an unchecked bed bug issue can become a serious problem very quickly, meaning control must become a team effort between building ownership or management and the tenants residing in the building.

If you are aware that some units have bed bugs, assume that there are additional units that have them, too. Bed bugs are good at hiding. As a general rule, take the number of units known to be experiencing an active bed bug issue and assume that there are actually 2-3 times that many units where bed bugs are present.

There is a very high chance that bed bugs are being spread during daily comings and goings, and it is not uncommon to see a heavy infestation spread from one unit to others by way of hallways, elevators and other shared spaces.

Teach Your Tenants About Bed Bugs

No matter the pest, no matter the location, the first and most essential step in any pest control plan is identification, and identification is impossible if the landlord or property manager is not aware of the issue. 

When people do spot ‘bed bugs’ inside, they can be mistaken for other common pests, including carpet beetles and clover mites.

Bites or skin irritation instances often prompt people to consider they may have bed bugs in their home, but bites alone are not enough to identify a bed bug issue. 

Consider distributing information to your tenants such as an apartment pest guide or a holding building meeting that will help residents learn how to identify what problems they can handle on their own versus what issues they should notify management about. 

Interested in having a professional bed bug expert speak to your tenants? Need a set of experienced eyes to come and help resolve a severe or puzzling bed bug issue?  Contact our owner Kevin Thorn to see if Thorn Pest Solutions can help you! 

While our company is based out of Utah, we have experience with bed bug control measures that work throughout the U.S. and we’d be happy to discuss the circumstances surrounding your building. We’re Here to Help (and we even wrote a book about it!). We even provide  trainings and webinars to help customers just like you!

Improve Communication Between Tenants and Building Management

Try to encourage open communication with your tenants from the get go. 

Make sure residents are aware of the importance of reporting pest issues. If you can open the lines of communication with your tenants, they will be an invaluable resource in preventing severe, long-term pest problems and creating a pleasant environment for everyone.

Think about the possibility of implementing a contact system where tenants can reach out discreetly (or anonymously) to report possible pest concerns. Be prepared to show your tenants that you take their concerns seriously and you’re there for them. This will be very important if professional treatments are needed.

Signs of Bed Bugs in Apartments

When it comes to apartment pest control, there are several things that you need to understand, including:

  1. History of bed bug issues on the property
  2. Interior and exterior design and construction elements of the building
  3. Specific biology of the pest you’re dealing with 
  4. Environmental factors that might be making the issue worse
  5. How to use the most effective, low-risk solutions available

Approaching pest control this way is called Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and involves looking at pest control with a systematic and holistic approach. 

Many tenants don’t know what to look for if they suspect a bed bug issue. When tenants do discover bed bugs, several studies indicate that most tenants will not report it to building management.

Regardless of the reasons for this lack of communication, it doesn’t work in situations where landlords want to be pro-active about pest concerns. Set your building apart from the rest by prioritizing open and honest communication with your tenants, and make sure you’re clear about expectations with residents before they move in.

How to Treat for Bed Bugs in Apartments

Due to the nature of multi-family housing and the behavior and biology of bed bugs, if an apartment building has an ongoing, recurring or severe bed bug infestation, it’s time to call in the professionals.

There are several steps and procedures to follow if bed bugs are going to be eliminated from an apartment building or complex.

  1. Know that bed bug treatment is not a one and done solution. – Landlords, building management and tenants need to know what they’re getting into with bed bug treatment. This will be an ongoing process that requires coordination and cooperation from everyone.
  2. Communication is key. – What happens when notices don’t go out to tenants, or a tenant doesn’t respond for treatment? There needs to be a plan in place for how to deal with these roadblocks or bed bugs will continue to be a problem. 
  3. There NEEDS to be follow-up. – If pest professionals cannot access infested spaces on a regular basis, it can create huge problems when trying to get things under control. Make sure the building has realistic expectations for what scheduling and access will look like. 
  4. Prevention without surveillance is pointless. – Providing treatment without consistent monitoring isn’t practical. If pest control pros can’t track what bed bug populations are doing after treatment, the issue is likely to continue.

Pest professionals are not just people you call when a serious issue pops up. There is no magic wand to make a pest problem *poof* disappear. That would be nice, though, wouldn’t it?! 

It is best to get ahead of pest issues before a serious problem arises. Professional pest control operators are investigative scientists. They need to be able to keep an eye on things post-treatment, so they know if adjustments need to be made to the treatment plan.

How Thorn Eliminates Apartment Bed Bugs in Utah

Bed bugs are living organisms. They do not stay put and they do not like being controlled, and the more chronic the issue, the longer it will take to get it down to a manageable level.

At Thorn, we use a variety of tools and tricks in tandem to deal with bed bugs. 

Depending on circumstances, treatment methods include: 

  • Bed bug dog inspections
  • Heat treatment
  • Chemical application
  • On-going monitoring. 

We specialize in a low-sress, high-efficacy approach to pest control, aiming to make access and treatment less stressful for your tenants while making your job easier. 

If you are in Utah and you have an issue with bed bugs in your apartment building, contact us today so we can start the process of bed bug control and take some stress off your shoulders.

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