treated with a steam gun (temperature must reach 120
degrees). This heated steam will kill the bugs and their
eggs. All other areas of the unit need to be treated with
insecticide or diatomaceous earth. Any chemicals should
be applied by a licensed exterminator and the residents
must vacate the unit for 8 hours. The key is to make sure
that all areas that could harbor bedbugs, including any
clutter and tightly packed belongings, are treated by the
exterminator. A typical infestation will cost you about
$300 to $400 for each unit requiring treatment.
Because of the incubation period of the bedbug eggs,
the treated units must be inspected every week and retreated if live bedbugs are found. Once you have two
periods in succession where no live bedbugs are found,
you can discontinue weekly inspections.
If you are looking for a more effective and less disruptive alternative to the steam gun and insecticide treatment, there is one available. A portable heat unit can be
placed in the affected apartment to heat the unit to 150
degrees. This heat needs to permeate the unit for 6 hours
in order to kill all the bedbugs, as well as the egg casings.
This method of treatment is fairly expensive because of
the set up and cost of the equipment ($1000 per unit) but
the treatment is much more effective. A word of caution:
You have to be very diligent in not allowing a resident to
take out articles prior to the heat treatment only to return
with the untreated items, or you’ll be right back where you
At this point in time, numerous task forces and informational committees are forming to address the above
problems; more information concerning these pesky critters will be available soon. In the meantime, until somebody comes up with a low-cost solution for eradicating
bedbugs, they are likely to continue to be a nuisance. n
ONCE YOU HAVE CONFIRMED YOU HAVE BEDBUGS YOU
NEED TO DETERMINE WHAT REMEDIES ARE AVAILABLE AND
WHAT AREAS OF THE PROPERTY TO TREAT.
Greg L. Martin, CPM® Emeritus, is the vice
president of Draper and Kramer, Inc., a prop-
erty and financial services firm in Chicago.
He has worked in the real estate industry
for over 33 years, and has served as IREM
Chicago Chapter President and on a national
level for IREM as a Regional Vice President
and a member of the IREM Executive
[TOP] RUNNING A PORTABLE HEAT UNIT IN AN APARTMENT
AT 150 DEGREES FOR 6 HOURS IS AN EFFICIENT WAY TO
ELIMINATE BEDBUGS AND THEIR EGG CASINGS. [BOTTOM] A
BORDER COLLIE CONTINUES THE SEARCH FOR BEDBUGS.