If you work in multifamily housing, you have come across bed bugs by now. But as you have learned the hard way, there is a slow financial drain that seems to never end if you use the wrong methods to eliminate your infestation. I frequently get the question…” how do we stop this!?!” The following are 3 reasons your bed bug elimination attempts have failed:
1) You did not attack the infestation hard enough when it was first discovered.
Do you remember the first time you got that bed bug call? You did not know what they were, maybe even your pest guy couldn’t identify them. So he “put something down to kill them” and went about his merry way. Then a month later, you got the second call and then the rest is history.
Bed bugs require an expert that fully understands the insect and is dedicated to extermination, not just control. An expert will not be inexpensive, but they will get the job done correctly the first time and will take every precaution to prevent spreading. Think of it like your car, if you invest in a reliable car, you save money in the long run on maintenance. If you go with the cheap option on the front end, you will pay much more in the long run to fix it.
Time is your enemy with bed bugs. They reproduce exponentially and they love to travel for a good meal. A fertilized female can create a 700 bug and 1000+ egg colony in under 90 days. You have to be looking for bed bugs to catch them early enough to protect your other units. Frequent bed bug K9 inspections are essential to staying in front of the issue. Then once you find it, treat the unit ASAP.
2) You are letting your pest control provider spread the insects with pesticides.
EVERY pest control provider knows that bed bugs run from pesticides. It is not a disputed fact anymore. That is why they recommend treating surrounding units that are not infested. This is especially important in multifamily where every unit adjoins with others on either side or above and below. If you want to stop the spreading, find a provider that treats with heat and ONLY heat.
3) You are assuming your residents will comply with all of the managements request and their lease agreement.
Every resident must have a vested interest in the success of their bed bug treatment. It is critical that they understand that an active infestation in their unit will cause others to suffer. We always recommend the following:
a) Have the resident physically SIGN OFF stating that they have received their treatment preparation sheet. That they understand what to doand that they agree to do it by the stated treatment date. Have financial penalties for non-compliance.
b) Always include a bed bug addendum in your lease outlining penalties for lack of notification or self-treatment of bed bugs.
So what to do now? You may be thinking…”I do some of these but not all”. Then get on it! Hit it hard and fast with an expert who won’t spread bed bugs with pesticide and institute methods with your residents to ensure the success of the treatments. It will cost you more upfront, but it will be significantly cheaper in the long run. Think about it this way: If you won’t spend the funds to do it right the first time, what makes you think you will want to spend them for the second or the third treatment?