What Landlords Should Know About Bed Bugs
There are certain laws in regards to bed bugs but they vary depending on where you own and operate your business. So, rather than focus on how to avoid litigation, we're going to focus on how to avoid bed bugs in general. If bed bugs never become a problem, neither will the legal woes associated with them.
Whether you rent out a single family home, or you manage an apartment complex, bed bug identification is the first step to protecting your renters and protecting yourself. Learn these identifying facts, teach them to your employees, and share them with those who rent from you:
Bed bugs can appear in three forms: eggs, immature nymphs, and adults.
Eggs are around 1 mm in length and white. They may be in small batches or littered about.
These eggs cling to fabrics and upholstered furniture. Look in creases, nooks, and crevices for these. They are usually found on beds or couches.
An unfed, immature nymph is 1 mm to 4 mm, flat and oval with six legs, two antennae, and ridges on its abdomen. When it first hatches it is pale white and transparent. As it develops through its 5 instars, it becomes tan and less transparent. An immature nymph is the stage of bed bug you're likely to see in the daytime. They are very small, so you'll have to look closely.
A fed, immature nymph appears bloated and pill-shaped. It will also have a bright red abdomen due to the blood inside.
Adult bed bugs are 4.5 mm, flat and oval with six legs, two antennae, and ridges on its abdomen. In this stage, its coloration will be rusty-brown. If it has had a blood meal, it will be bloated and a darker red color.
Bed bugs leave signs in locations they are infesting. Black streaks, black droppings, black patches, brown blood staining, tiny white eggs, and shed insect skins can be found on pillowcases, sheets, bedding, mattress and box spring seams, baseboards, outlet covers, the stitching on upholstered furniture, and more.
Bed bugs bite multiple times. If your renter has a path of red welts on their skin, they could be bed bug bites. Other biting pests bite once so, while bites may be numerous, they will be random on the skin. Bed bugs are also prone to bite on the neck or face.
Keep a casual eye out for these signs any time you do a maintenance check or meet with a tenant.
A good relationship with your tenant is key to catching bed bugs before they become a serious problem. Let your tenant or resident know that they can come to you with an infestation and that you'll work with them to resolve bed bug issues quickly. If you own or manage an apartment complex, this could prevent an infestation from spreading from one apartment to the next.
Bed Bug Management
Since bed bugs hitchhike in with humans, they cannot be controlled with standard pest control measures. You can have the best perimeter control in the world and still get bed bugs. The only way to prevent bed bugs is to educate renters on how to avoid getting them and have a professional do routine inspections to ensure that no bed bugs have established themselves. The latter can sound invasive, but it isn't nearly as bad when you hire a company that uses K-9 bed bug inspectors. Dogs have a powerful sense of smell and are able to detect bed bugs without disturbing the items in a room. And they can move quickly from room to room so inspections don't take long. Most renters actually welcome these inspections. As bed bugs become more and more of a threat, these types of inspections may soon become standard operating procedure. You'll just be ahead of the curve--and reaping all of the benefits now.
Don't wait for bed bug infestations to take root. Be proactive with ongoing bed bug service from a professional. If you're in our Pennsylvania service area, let the QualityPro-certified team here at Moyer Pest Control keep you and your renters protected with routine K-9 bed bug inspections.
When bed bugs bite. Bite back with assistance from the friendly bed bug experts here at Moyer Pest Control.