One morning you wake up with itchy red spots on your ankles – you think nothing of it, or maybe you wonder if your pet has fleas. The next morning, the same happens again, and you check your pet for fleas – nothing. Then you see it… a bed bug. Yikes! Only, you’re not sure what to do because you rent your home – is it your responsibility to get the home treated, or not? Read on to find out.
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small insects that come out at night and feed on your blood. They have been around for thousands of years, and cheap, easy travel has been largely responsible for their prevalence in the United States today.
They live in cracks and creases, particularly in and around beds so that their food source (you!) is not far away. Generally, their bite is not dangerous and they are not known to transmit any disease to their human host. The bottom line is don’t panic.
What do you do if you find bed bugs in your apartment?
- You should notify the building manager or your landlord immediately. If you have them it is likely you are not the only one affected and a strategy to eradicate the pest and prevent its recurrence has to be planned.
- Choose a pest control company that is trustworthy and uses up-to-date methods. Although DIY solutions are available they are not practical for an entire apartment block. Heat treatments are the most effective choice.
It is easy to compare pest companies on the internet, but take your time to pick one that is reliable and experienced and uses the latest equipment. Bed bugs multiply quickly but not significantly in the time it takes to be thorough. Click here to find a professional near you.
- Get cleaning. Hygiene won’t eliminate bed bugs but it will help to reduce numbers and keep the situation stable until the experts arrive. Your best friend is your dryer – 30 minutes in a hot dryer will kill bed bugs and their eggs. When the treatment has been done, do a deep clean so you feel happy in your home once more.
Is your landlord responsible for bed bug control?
What is and is not a landlord’s responsibility when it comes to pest control varies from state to state. Generally speaking, because a bed bug infestation makes an apartment or home uninhabitable it is up to the landlord to deal with it and cover the costs involved.
But you need to check your lease and the local laws pertaining to the area where you live. Usually, the responsibility lies with the landlord but not in every case. Also, look at your renter’s insurance policy. It may have provision to pay for alternative accommodation until the situation is sorted out.
If you live in a single-family home, you may find that you are responsible for the costs.
No one welcomes a bed bug infestation, but it is not the end of the world and won’t cost a huge amount to put right. Bed bugs are endemic in the US and there should be no stigma attached to becoming the victim of an infestation. It is not your fault and has nothing to do with the way you live – in fact, it just shows that you get out and about in the world and/or have a social life!
Fortunately, a calm approach to the problem and a good pest control company can rectify the problem and eradicate the parasite quickly, leaving your apartment or house habitable and pest-free. To find a DIY kit or to find a professional near you, click here.