Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Bed Bugs: How To Remove and Prevent Them for Your Tenants

Boston is one of the United States top-rated rental housing markets. 

This is due to the transient dwellers skipping from lease to lease in various apartment and the condo building craze in the Boston area.

Those same living quarters that tenants move into is a fertile ground for bed bugs to cultivate their communities and lay longer in your mattress than you want.

Whether you are a landlord, tenant, or property manager in Boston you can use this article as a guide to learn the following about bed bugs:

Don't Let The Bed Bugs Bite In Your Home

Especially if you live or hang around areas like Allston and Brighton with a ton of college-aged tenants. These young tenant have year-long leases and every semester may leave behind more than just dust balls upon moving out. This is a real situation people deal with every year and is not always your fault, they are attracted to the warm spots in your house, most likely a mattress or couch.

What Is A Bed Bug?

This is gross, but pay attention so you know what to do if your property is infested with these insects. Attracted to the warmth your bed is their favorite spot to live and reproduce.

A bed bug is a tiny parasite that feeds on mammals and birds. They are a part of the insect family Cimicidae, and the most common human infestations are Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus. 

Adult bed bugs have a reddish brown, flat, oval-shaped, and are about 4 to 5 millimeters in size. 

Younger bugs (nymphs) are usually a tan or light color, which develops them into a reddish color after feeding. They are attracted to warmth, and tend to develop over a period of 5 to 10 days, though they can survive without feeding for several months.

They generally feed at night, or just before dawn.

How To Spot A Bed Bug

The Show You Don't Want To Host

Hand bitten by bed bugs
It's not fun to know that these insects can bite and continue feeding off of a human without their knowledge over time. Bed bugs can painlessly pierce the skin and inject saliva containing anesthetics and anticoagulants into the host.

They feed on the host for several minutes, and then retreat to their warmth haven. This will cause these insects to stay in the closest quarters by hiding in their host's mattress.

Hosts can also be pets like cats and dogs, who can carry them into their home.

The transmission of human diseases is theoretically possible, but has not been established for what particular diseases. Rarely does a severe systemic allergic reaction come from bed bug bites. But cases of insomnia or anxiety can be developed by bed bug infestations.

Bed bug bites are easily treatable by your primary physician or dermatologist.

Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

There is a current resurgence of bed bug infestations in the U.S.

Being in a major city where there are more bugs and rodents than actual people, you can bet they will be in places that have a high traffic of people to feed off hosts. That means they would likely come from apartment complexes, condo buildings, hostels, hotels where people are coming and going. During the day, they like to dwell in floors, and show up in people's luggage, furniture, clothing. or boxes.

What Does A Bed Bug Bite Look Like?

Symptoms of bed bug bites can be either visible of invisible on the skin's surface.

They can be dark red or just a shade lighter than one's actual skin color. They can be in the form of a flat lesion or a bump. They usually show up on exposed parts of the face, neck, torso, or feet to the bevy of bed bugs lay in various sections of your mattress. Lesions can be found in a line or a cluster pattern in one or several areas in your skin. They can appear within a matter of minutes or days after being bitten. Lesions are capable of fading from the skin within one to two weeks. Also, they can causes severe itching and irritation of the skin.

How To Prevent and Remove Bed Bugs In Your Home

As a landlord, it's important to implement an effective form of communication with your tenants so that any problems with bed bugs in your rental unit is immediately eradicated.

Bed bugs can happen to anyone, no matter how careful you are with your tenants. But there are some tactics to prevent and combat these pests from coming back to share bed space with you.

  • Hire A Property Manager with Emergency Support Procedures- This will only help increase your property's value by having a reliable crew who can stay on top of the fumigation or extermination duties in all of the rental units. Also, tenants can work with the property manager who knows exactly how to handle bed bugs to stop from coming back to their bed(s). Use social media, text, email, and phone to be prompt in getting a quick response from the landlord to put in a work order.
  • Keep Windows Closed Near Your Bed - These insects are looking for a space to crawl into. So minimize access to your bed via your window that may be near their entrance point.
  • Remove Boxes Upon Move-In Date Of Your Lease - Many times the new tenants are the culprits that are hosting these parasitic creatures- not just landlord negligence nor previous tenants in those living quarters. It's important to either put moving boxes away from the bedroom or living room areas where bed bugs arise. Make sure that upon the Boston move-in date, you put the boxes in your basement once you remove your belongings. This is because in many cases the boxes are coming from outside after resting in the place the tenants is moving from, then to their moving vans that other people have used, the dirty street grounds before being put inside their new home.
  • Replace Infested Furniture - After spotting bed bugs in your furniture, it is best to throw those sheets right away. Even if you wash those sheets, it doesn't mean that they have gone away from good. After all, you cant spell the word "persistent" without the letters "p-e-s-t," coming back for more. If you spot bed bugs forming their own community on your bed, I'm sure you wouldn't want to sleep on that same bed set anyway. Or if so, it's at your own risk letting them get too close for comfort on your skin.

Bed Bugs: Our Final Thoughts

Have you had any experience with bed bugs that have made you want to move out of your apartment? Or have you dealt with angry tenants that have made you wonder why these problems with bed bugs keeps occuring within your property or rental units?

Having an accessible property management company is key to preventing this from happening. Its essential to know what it take to prevent this to become a good landlord, or as a tenant so that you don't have a history of carrying bed bugs wherever you move to.

Tell us how you prevent bed bugs in the comment section below.