In the last few years, bed bug infestations have dramatically spread throughout the U.S. It is true that bed bugs can be found everywhere feeding on human blood, regardless of the rank or cleanliness, but multi-unit housing places have encountered the most of these blood suckers. If bed bugs are found in one unit, it is not unusual that adjacent units (up, down and around) are all infested.
Bed bugs are not only hard-hitting pests, but also stubborn ones. It has been documented that these blood-suckers have more than 14 resistance genes that they can utilize to combat insecticide treatments.
Here are 10 tips to give your property management clients who are dealing with bed bugs:
- You and your team must take the risk of bed bug infestation seriously. Failure to do so could increase the risk of bed bug infestations and may lead not only to financial issues, but also damage to your team’s reputation and possibly even legal consequences.
- Raise the tenants’ awareness about bed bugs and educate them on how bed bugs look like, their signs, and how they spread. Your pest management professional (PMP) firm can help with presentations, handouts, etc.
- Encourage tenants to immediately report bed bugs to eliminate the uncontrolled spread of these pests.
- Respond quickly to bed bug complaints by calling the location’s designated PMP for an inspection.
- Form a partnership with the location’s PMP to establish and implement an efficient bed bug response plan.
- Refrain from using do-it-yourself (DIY) products, as they can interfere with the program the PMP is implementing.
- Measure the extent of bed bug infestation. It is important to consider the possibility that bed bugs can spread to adjacent units (below, above or to the sides). Most of the time, people who are reporting the bed bug are not the ones who brought them into the building.
- Implement a strategy for “make-ready procedures,” such as units to be inspected for bed bug activity immediately after the unit has been vacated and prior to maintenance procedures being performed to the unit.
- Develop a bed bug prevention program through regular inspection and monitoring evaluations for the whole building with your PMP.
- Keep records of bed bug complaints on site in a logbook. The book should include the following information:
- Unit or room number.
- Date of the complaint.
- Type of complaint (bites, bed bug sightings, signs, etc.).
- Date of initial bed bug inspection.
- Findings of the initial sighting, such as what was found, how much was found.
- If bed bugs are found, dates of pest management treatments and activities.
- Management options, such as heat treatment, pesticide treatments, resident education, monitoring, etc.