Seven Tips Every Property Manager Should Know About Bed Bugs in Apartments
If bed bugs have become a problem in your apartment buildings or your just trying to prevent bed bugs from gaining a foot hold on your property, here a seven tips every property manager should know to control and prevent bed bugs from becoming a real headache.

1. Research local laws in your area
Bed bugs can be a highly litigious pest and there may be laws in your area that govern how to handle these situations.  Work with a licensed attorney to develop a lease that protects you and your property from the legal issues that are related to bed bugs in your apartments.  You may want to consider your tenants duty to notify you about their bed bug issues.  When should they notify you, how should they notify you (in writing, email, or phone call).  Who is responsible for paying for the bed bug service if needed?  What happens if the tenant doesn’t comply with recommended treatment protocols?  Can the tenant hire their own pest control company to perform the bed bug treatment?  There is a lot to consider, working with an experience pest control company as well as a good attorney will help you find a lease addendum that is right for you and right for your company.

2. Conduct regular bed bug inspections to get a snap shot of your properties health.
Regular bed bug inspections can help you get a snap shot of your apartment’s health as it relates to bed bugs.  Many tenants do not know or recognize they have a bed bug problem for weeks or even months.  Bed bug populations can swell from a few bed bugs, to hundreds of bed bugs in matter of weeks.  Once a bed bugs have established a foothold in a unit they can travel to adjacent units easily.  Our canine detection team can quickly identify bed bug problems (averaging 5-7 min per unit), sometimes before the tenant even knows they have bed bugs saving you money and additional headaches.  Many of our client conduct quarterly bed bug inspections as well as bed bug inspections following a move out to assist in due diligent and reduce the chance of moving a new tenant into a bed bug infestation left by the previous tenant.

3. Be able to identify signs of bed bugs and train your maintenance staff to do the same.

Training yourself and your staff on what signs of bed bugs look like it a great idea.  If a maintenance tech is completing a repair order and finds evidence of unreported bed bugs he/she should get a gold star!  Identifying bed bug evidence can be tricky and an actual confirmation should be made by a licensed pest control technician.  If you know what to look for, you can save yourself some trouble and be a hero to your tenants.  Common bed bug signs include fecal spotting on sheets, bedding, couches and in the ceiling wall juncture.  Some experts believe that heavy infestations often have a unique smell exclusive to bed bug infestations.  Cast skins and live insects are also a good indicator that bed bugs are present.

4. Don’t panic, and don’t point fingers.
If you have taken the time to implement a lease addendum you likely have set a course of action in the event bed bugs are found on your property.  Unfortunately there is no conclusive test to tell where bed bugs came from.  That fact can be very beneficial and also very detrimental to property managers.  Because there is no way to tell where bed bugs came from, it is difficult to prove that you the property manager, moved a tenant into a bed bug infested unit.  Also it is difficult to prove that the tenant brought the bed bugs in to the unit.

Don’t point fingers, contact a certified and experienced bed bug control expert like Janssen Pest Solutions to treat the unit and get the tenant back to living a bed bug free life.  If you and your tenant follow your bed bug lease addendum and contact an bed bug control expert to eradicate the bed bug issue the bed bug problem will be taken care of and you and your tenant can get back to a normal life. Pointing fingers and blaming tenants can have a negative effect and result in tenants failing to notify you that they have a bed bug issue and attempting to control bed bugs on their own.  Over the counter products to control bed bugs generally perpetuate the bed bug problem and may cause bed bugs to spread into adjacent units.  That’s something that needs to be avoided to save you headaches and money.

5. Do not attempt to treat the bed bugs yourself
Avoid the temptation to treat bed bug infestations using products available on the internet or at a local hardware store.  These products often contain a chemistry that will spread bed bugs instead of killing them.  Fogging and sprays can be sensed by bed bugs and the bugs will dive deeper into cracks and crevices, making professional treatments more difficult and potential spreading bed bugs to originally un-infested units.

6. Inspect adjacent units  
Often times the squeaky wheel get the grease.  A good tenant may call to report a bed bug problem that may have originated in an adjacent unit.  The old adage one man’s trash is another man’s treasure is a perfect example.  A tenant may have had bed bugs for months and attempted to treat them themselves causing bed bugs to spread to other units.  Once the spread occurs “good” tenants may begin to call.  Any time a bed bug infestation is confirmed in a unit, an inspection of adjacent units must be conducted.  This adjacent inspection helps ensure that the bed bug treatment will be effective and help rule out the possibility that bed bugs came from another unit (many tenants effected with bed bugs will attempt to blame adjacent units for their problem) being proactive and inspecting those units will help put tenants mind at ease and help you get to the bottom of the bed bug problem.

7. Be honest about bed bugs and encourage an open discussion with your tenants
Being open and honest with tenants about bed bugs will help you stay on top of any potential bed bug issues.  If you start off right from the top with a lease addendum, your tenants will be aware that bed bugs are a serious issue and you know exactly what to do in the event bed bugs might find their way onto your property.  We have conducted training sessions with tenants during community gatherings.  There is a lot of misinformation and just plain untruths when it comes to bed bugs.  Taking the chance to educate tenants about bed bug facts is a good practice and helps to ensure bed bug issues will be reported to you quickly!

If you’re interested in Des Moines Bed Bug Treatments for your apartments contact us today.  We are Des Moines and Central Iowa’s bed bug experts.  We utilize heat to control bed bugs.

Our system is designed to prevent any damage to the building and property while eliminating bed bugs quickly and effectively.  We have successfully treated thousands of apartment units with little to no failures.  Do you have sprinklers in your buildings?  No problem, we utilize a specialized cover to prevent degrading the mercury switch for the sprinkler head.  If you have a bed bug problem, we have a solutions.  Give us a call today!