bugs apartment treatment approaches can be particularly challenging, as
bed bugs can spread to adjacent apartments, including those above and
below the infested unit. For this reason, extermination
coordination among tenants. There is a 20% chance that bed bugs will
spread to adjoining apartments and a 7% chance that they will move
through walls to apartments above and below the infested unit.
Treatment can also be hindered by
uncooperative tenants, unclear guidelines regarding who is responsible
for paying the exterminator, individuals that are afraid to publicly
they have bed bugs, and those that might refuse treatment. It is
important that any prevention or treatment effort be accompanied by a
building education program.. Although
the name implies that they are only found in the bed, the reality is
that they can reside in any room in an apartment. The key to successful
bed bug extermination is extreme attention to detail. "
There are three basic approaches for getting rid of bed bugs
in an apartment. These include:
bed bug exterminator works with
those residents that actually have the bed bug problem and any
apartments that are adjacent to the infested unit. Pesticides
that have a residual effect are used to kill bed bugs and bed
bug eggs. Most sprays contain a mix of high grade water-white kerosene
combined with pyrethrum extract. The sprays must directly
contact the bed bugs and bed bug eggs. Creating a mist or
fog, a technique used for other insects is ineffective. Bed
Bug "bombs" are also ineffective and can actually cause the
bed bugs to disperse. Insect baits do not work as bed bugs
feed on blood.
Sprays need to be applied to all furniture, mattresses, box spring and
any other items in a room, with a focus on cracks and crevices.
Some bedbug sprays act as repellents, so they should be carefully
chose. Sprays containing chlorphenapyr are effective, do not
repel bed bugs and have a residual effect (Phantom
Brand). Other residual insecticides such as
work well in cracks. Mattresses are often treated
with Permethrin based products (vs. the less effective pyrethrin).
is a popular and effective choice for mattresses.
The apartment is heated to more than 120ºF to 125ºF degrees
for several hours will completely kill
bedbugs and their eggs. Bed bug stream treatment is also an
effective way to use heat to kill bed bugs at all life stages.
The heat system is provided by Temp-Air
This is where the entire building is tented and fumigated.
This option is expensive and the least preferred approach,
but it can be highly effective when conducted for 12 hours or more.
Chemicals used as fumigants include a combination of carbon
dioxide, ethylene oxide, methyl formate or methylbromide. The
downside of this approach is toxicity of certain chemicals to humans.
A pest control company will also vacuum all surfaces to
remove any living bed bugs. Bed Bug eggs cannot be removed by
vacuuming as they are attached to surfaces with a cement like substance.
An exterminator may also use Bed
to provide lasting protection in the home. It is a natural
product that is often placed inside walls, in baseboard
gaps and around electrical and cable plates. The dust
bed bugs and eventually kills them. It is applied in a thin
bed bug mattress and box spring covers
should be used after treatment to trap any bed bugs and bed bug eggs
that were missed. If a mattress is not ripped, then covers
help control a bed bug problem. Note that bed bug mattress
will not stop bed bugs from coming from elsewhere in the room to the
bed. They only help to trap any bed bugs that were already in
mattress or box spring.
After treatment, bed bug sniffing dogs are often used to determine if
the problem has been eliminated. These dogs usually will
inspect an apartment every 6 months. If any new outbreaks are caught,
they can be treated early, which is much easier than waiting until an
infestation has spread.
It always preferable for a pest
control expert to apply any pesticides. If you decide to do
yourself, buy a bed bug kit which contains the needed spray and dust
products. If doing it yourself it is safer to use organic
or natural products first. If this doesn't work,
you can try an insecticide based bed
learn about pesticides call the
National Pesticide Information Center at 1.800.858.7378 (United States).
How to Find a Licensed and Experienced Bed Bug Pest Control
you should work with your landlord, you may be in a position where you
need to consult an exterminator yourself. Treating bed bugs yourself
could cost $1000 or more with some firms charging for the in-home
inspection and quote. Some helpful
that provide free quotes and other services are as follows:
4 free quotes: Service Magic (phone 1.877.233.1145) is a national network of local
control companies that are pre-screened before they are allowed to join.
Length of Bed Bugs Apartment Treatment Time
bugs apartment treatment can be as fast as 30 to 45 minutes.
Larger infestations can take 3 to 4 hours to treat or longer.
Request that an apartment be reinspected 2 to 3 weeks after
treatment to see if any areas were missed, if there are any late
hatching bed bugs, or if an infestation spread through the walls of the
How to Identify Bed Bugs
If you live in a city that is
suffering from a bed bug epidemic, homeowners should conduct frequent
inspections for bed bugs. A convenient time to do this is
you remove and wash the bed sheets, as mattress markings are a key sign
that there is a problem. Studies show that approximately 50%
bed bugs in a room are in the bed area.
During the day, bed bugs in a bed bugs apartment hide out of site in
cracks, crevices and other
thin hiding places such as the spaces between bed slats. They
are often found in mattress seams, box springs, inside bed legs and on
wood furniture surfaces. As time goes by, they leave behind
bedbug skins from molting, feces and hatched eggs.
The bed bugs themselves
change in appearance throughout their life cycle. They start
eggs that are whitish in color and oval. The eggs are about
size of a pin head. Areas in a bed bugs apartment where bed
bugs hide develop a smell
given off by bed bugs, which is one of the smells detected by bed bug
dogs, in addition to other smells not detectable by humans.
Bed bugs come out of hiding in a bed bugs apartment at night to feed.
They will feed
on family members and pets. A feeding lasts for 10 minutes
and is not felt by the person when it is happening due to an anesthetic
produced by the bed bug. A minority of people, but not all,
will have an allergic skin reaction to the bite, which is actually a
single puncture from a stylet located on the bed bug head.
Picture Bed Bugs Eggs
bugs move through 5 nymph or baby bed bug life stages starting with a
transparent appearance and then growing into the more familiar
brown/red. The 6th life stage is adulthood. They also change
in a appearance after feeding.
An instar or baby bed bug will enlarge and appear red in
because of the ingested blood. Each stage is pictured below:
Bed Bug Lifestages
Picture Bed Bug Mattress
Follow these step by step instructions for how to identify bed bugs
Inspect the bed for markings, droppings and eggs::
all blankets and other bedding. Check the box spring and
the mattress. Be sure to remove or peel back the fabric that covers the
bottom of the box spring. Inspect inside. Look for
stains, feces and other marks.
Check along the
mattress seams and particularly under the label. Bed bugs are flat and
can hide in small thin spaces the width of a credit card.
the bed frame, bed frame joints and headboard. If the headboard is
cracked, seal those areas. A flashlight can be helpful during the bed
bug inspection process.
Inspect the bed bugs apartment
you have nightstands, remove all items and look around and underneath
drawers. Inspect in the area of the bed to avoid spreading
bedbugs throughout the room.
Check an window coverings such as
curtains. If the curtains are near your bed, they
contain bed bugs as this is a popular hiding area.
Inspect any wall hangings such as mirrors, paintings,
pictures, particularly on the reverse side.
Inspect all outlets. Be careful around
Where Do Bed Bugs Hide?
A pest control management study indicated that bed bugs were found in
the following places by a group of exterminators:
beds (mentioned by 85% of respondents)
baseboards/carpet edges (37%)
furniture such as nightstands and dressers (26%)
couches and chairs (25%)
walls and ceilings (14%)
Use this diagram when determining where do bed bugs apartment hide:
Bedroom: Where Do Bed
Den or Living Room: Where
do bed bugs hide?
bugs look like other insects, so if you are not sure, consult a pest
control professional or send a sample insect with a small fee to the Harvard
School of Public Health (pdf form download).
Insects that are Similar in Appearance to bed Bugs:
that look like bed bugs include baby or newly hatched
(look like baby bed bugs or nymphs),, carpet beetles, spider
Bed Bug Bites:
Bed bugs bites are also a
way to determine that bed bugs are in an apartment.
majority of people will not show a bedbug bite reaction (actually a
skin puncture). Any skin redness after a bed bug bite is an allergic
reaction. This is why the majority of non allergic individuals show no
reaction to a bed bug bite, while a spouse sleeping in the same bed can
have more pronounced skin reaction.
A bed bug bite reaction can appear
minutes after being bitten in a bed bugs apartment infestation or
several days later. The bites
heal by themselves if not scratched and if they do not become infected.
It takes 3 to 5 days for most reactions to heal.
are similar to those created by mosquitoes, so there is often
confusion between bed bugs and other insect bites. Bed bug
have a clear center, which is the location of the skin puncture.
is usually the only symptom beside the red raised area surrounding the
bite. The itch can be treated with a topical ointment from a
local pharmacy or one made specifically
for bed bug bites such as All
Picture Bed Bugs Bites Reaction -
immediately after being bitten
Picture BedBug Bite on Arm
How to Prepare for a Bed Bugs Apartment Treatment
It is important to prepare each bed bugs apartment for treatment.
is particularly true for bedbug spray treatment .
Clutter from bed bug apartment:
To maximize the impact of any bed bug treatment it is helpful to
maintain a clutter free home. More clutter makes it harder
any treatment to reach walls, furniture etc. Removing clutter
means removing bed bug hiding places.
Instructions from Your Pest Control Expert:
They may need you to empty drawers and closets. If you do,
place items in a plastic bin with a snap tight lid, or an excellent
inexpensive choice is Double
Zipper Ziploc Big Bags.
Seal cracks in the bed bugs apartment:
Try and minimize the number of places where a bed bug can hide. Fill in
any cracks, areas where pipes move through walls etc.
Caulk any Cracks to
Remove Bed Bug Hiding Places
to Keep Bed Bugs Apartment Problems from Moving into Your Unit
Clothes and Blankets:
All clothes and bedding should be washed in hot water. Place into
Big Bags (recommended) or a plastic container to avoid
dropping any bed bugs. Wash on the
hottest temperature and then move into the drier for 20 minutes, hot
setting. You can also put shoes into the drier and stuffed animals, but
only if they can withstand the drier. After items dry, place
new bags and seal for the full length of the treatment (may be 3
weeks). Keep clean clothes available for use during
treatment. The goal is to minimize the items that are exposed
to bed bugs and that are in the treatment area.
A vacuum is an effective way to pick up live bed bugs. Use
crevice tool along mattress seams and the edges of the room.
done, remove vacuum bag in room being treated and place into plastic
bag for disposal outside of the home or building.
Furniture Away From Walls:
It is not necessary that furniture and mattresses be thrown out.
Furniture should be move away from walls about 12 inches to
access to the walls.
Other steps for bed bugs apartment treatment include:
Remove pets and children on day of treatment and for
several hours after treatment as concluded.
Keep fish tanks covered and pump off during treatment to
avoid any pesticide entering the water.
Challenges of Treating Bed Bugs in Apartments
Home owner cooperation is needed for any building planning bed bug
treatment. Tenants or apartment owners should always:
Inspect and ensure that all used furniture is bed bug free.
Continually inspect mattresses for signs of bed bugs.
Prepare an apartment before treatment to provide access to
all furniture and walls. Bed bugs can even hide behind
electrical outlets or inside electronics.
Report all bed bug sitings to building management.
Participate in bed bugs apartment tenant education
reporting bed bugs a plus vs. something that will embarrass a tenant.
Bed Bugs Apartment Prevention
The key to preventing bed bugs apartment issues is not to
bring them into the apartment
building in the first place. Tips include:
Ban used furniture obtained from the street, particularly
mattresses and bed frames. Used
furniture and mattresses are often the way bed bugs get into a
building. Rental furniture can also be a source of bed bugs.
Even new furniture that is transported with new furniture can
a source of a bed bug problem.
Reduce clutter. Clutter provides places for bed
bugs to hide and makes it difficult for chemical based treatment to
kill the bed bugs and the bed bug eggs.
Only use white sheets. It is easier to notice bed
bug related stains on white.
Check your mattress every week to two. Spots on a
mattress are one of the best indicators of a bed bug infestation.
Do not visit apartments that have a bed bug problem.
If you do, change clothes before entering back into your
home. Place clothes in a Ziploc
Double Zipper Big Bag or plastic container with a lid that
snaps on. Bring clothes directly to either the washing
machine and/or dryer. 20 minutes on the dryer highest heat
setting will kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs. Don't ignore
your shoes as well, and at minimum inspect them to make sure they are
bed bug free.
Travel is considered one of the leading sources of bed bugs
in a building, meaning travelers pick them up in one destination and
carry them to another. If you have a tenant committee or co-op or condo
consider having them purchase a PackTite
heater. Luggage, clothing and other items can be
placed into the PackTite. It looks like a vinyl
case. Heat is used to reach the temperatures required to kill
bed bugs and bed bug eggs. This way you can be certain that
items you bring into a home are bed bug free. You can buy a
PackTite for about $250.
Be careful when traveling. Check the mattress
before bringing luggage into a room. Consider packing Ziploc
Big Bags, and use them to either hold clothes inside the
luggage or place the entire suitcase into the big bag for protection.
any cracks in walls to keep them from moving into your apartment from
an adjacent bed bugs infested apartment. Fill cracks first
with a bed
product. When completing new construction, consider adding
bug dust to the inside of the wall for an extra layer of protection.
What to do if you Identify Bed Bugs
Every building should establish a written set of procedures for
addressing a bed bugs apartment problem. If you think you
have bed bugs,
follow these steps:
Inspect the bed including the mattress and compare to the
picture above. Inspect rooms where you or your family spends
time , such as the television viewing room or den.
If you find bed bugs, notify your landlord. Ask
the landlord to schedule a pest control treatment with an extermination
service. Note that the law isn't always clear as to who pays
for treatment. See advice at bottom of this page.
Have the exterminator confirm that you have a bed bug
problem. Be sure to accompany the exterminator and ask for
visual confirmation of the bed bug infestation.
Prepare the apartment prior to treatment.
Ask if more than 1 treatment is going to be provided.
It is normal to require 2 treatments over 2 or 3 weeks.
bug proof covers for your mattress AND box spring.
These will not prevent bed bugs by themselves. They will trap
bed bugs and bed bug eggs that were missed during treatment.
It is not necessary to throw out a mattress or box spring
that is in good condition. After all, if bed bugs are in the
home, they will just spread to the new mattress.
What to Expect from a Bed Bug Pest Control Company
Any pest control expert should inform you regarding what types of
chemical and non-chemical approaches used to treat bed bugs apartment
problems. They should be:
Inspecting all adjacent units in a building
Sealing any cracks where bed bugs have been or can hide (or
have your landlord do it).
Bed bug treatment should include non-chemical
methods and chemical methods.
These can include a freezing sprayer, steam heat, insecticide
based sprays and bed bug dust.
Help with bed bug education including tenant education on
how to get rid of bed bugs in
Your Bed Bugs Apartment Tenant Rights
As of 8/31/2010, only one State Maine, and one city - New
York require that landlords disclose a buildings past 12 month
bed bug history to prospective tenants. These are called
Most municipal or government codes that cover tenant and landlord
rights struggle to define who is responsible for treating a bed bug
infestation. You'll have to do some research to determine if
their is a clear ordinance in your town, city or state. A good starting
point is your local public health
department and the state attorney generals office.
While it is
important to notify your landlord, be sure to check your bed bugs
apartment related rights first.
We have heard from unscrupulous landlords, particularly among
people renting single family homes, that have faced eviction and blamed
for bringing the bed bugs into the home.
For example, in Ontario, the Ontario Residential Tenancy Act
states that the landlord is
responsible for all pest control. Specifically "A landlord is
responsible for providing and maintaining a residential complex,
including the rental units in it, in a good state of repair and fit for
habitation and for complying with health, safety, housing and
maintenance standards (2006 c. 17, s.20. A landlord must hire
professionally licensed pest control company.
the United States, in most, but not all areas, there are laws which say
something like....it is the obligation of the landlord to keep
all areas under control...free from all accumulations of debris, filth,
rubbish, garbage, rodents, and vermin. Most tenant laws also
require landlords to maintain residences in a "habitable" condition.
problem is that bed bugs are not always considered to be "vermin" and
are not specifically regulated since they don't spread disease
(although bites can lead to disease such as skin infection).
law is quickly changing with new legislation in Cleveland now
protecting tenants. Also, the Ohio State legislature is
considering a bill that will protect tenants.
landlords will attempt to blame the tenant as having brought the bed
bugs apartment problem into a building and in turn they may refuse
treatment is expensive. There first move might be to convince
tenant (s) to pay for the treatment.
Because of this, you should
know your rights. This includes asking questions about bed
specifically and pest control before you move into a building.
Check the lease you are signing to see if it indicates your
rights vs. the landlords rights.
Call your Department of Housing
to see if they will get involved with a bed bugs apartment problem see
if they will step in to order the landlord to
pay for any bed bug treatment. You can also ask a local Code
Enforcement department for an
inspection. You can also
contact the local Department of Health, the local Attorney General's
Office and the State Attorney General's office to determine your bed
bugs apartment rights.
You can also check our local
bed bug resources page for bed bugs apartment information on
specific states and cities. A list of State by State tenants rights can be found on HUD.gov.
In some areas, it might be easier to
negotiate with a landlord about a bed bugs apartment problem than to
fight and allow the infestation to
grow. This includes splitting the cost of treatment.
For a quick free estimate of the cost, contact a
firm that has been pre-screened by a national network such as Service Magic (phone: 1.877.233.1145). Compare this cost to a local
bed bug expert which you can find here.
sure to register any bed bugs apartment complaints in writing to both local health offices
and to the landlord. If your building management or landlord does not
take action, you can consider the following steps suggested by Mike
Piepsny, executive director of the Cleveland Tenants Organization:
Organize and poll tenants to determine how many tenants are suffering from a bed bug problem.
a petition demanding that the landlord treat the building.
Collect as many signatures as possible. If a tenant doesn't
act, send a copy of the petition to the local news media, a local
county and state politician and the local department of health.
to pay rent, and instead put it in escrow. If all tenants put
their rent in escrow, a landlord will have a financial interest to do
Hire a local attorney and take the landlord to court for refusing to control insects in the building. Seek a court order.
References Bed Bugs Apartment:
Preventing and Getting Rid of Bed Bugs Safely
NYC Department of Health
All About BedBugs
Woodgreen Community Services and Habitat Services
Closing in on Bed Bugs
Kramer, Richard D.
Battling Bed Bugs in the USA
Michael F. Potter, Alvaro Romero
and Kenneth F. Haynes
Department of Entomology, S-225 Agricultural Science Bldg. N,
University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546-0091