•Continue a bi-weekly inspection
until unit has been cleared for 60
Permission given by Claire Gesalman of the EPA
6: Record keeping is a must. Even
the best prevention and treatment
program will fall short of its goals if
it fails to assign specific responsibilities and create individual accountability. Up-to-date and accurate
records of bed bug issues serve as
a historical reference for future
infestations. Capture and document all information applicable to
bed bug issues—such as occupancy
and vacancy numbers, treatment
preparation service dates and costs,
bed bug activity, sanitation conditions and any other additional comments—to efficiently organize and
mobilize prevention and treatment
IDENTIFYING BED BUGS
Bed bug adults are reddish brown, wingless and the size of an apple
seed, but younger bed bugs are white or translucent yellow and can be
so small, they’re almost invisible. Learning to recognize the signs of
eggs, molted skins and fecal spots can help identifying bed bugs when
you can’t see them.
PREVENTING BED BUGS
Bed bugs love to hide. To the extent possible, remove clutter, seal cracks
to eliminate their habitat, encase mattresses and box springs and check
luggage when returning from a trip. When inspecting a space, look for
the tell-tale signs of bed bugs (which can look like mold from a distance)
by checking curtain rods, inside baseboard heaters and behind chipped
paint or loose wallpaper for fecal spots, cast skins and/or live or
TREATING BED BUGS
Vacuuming (and removing the vacuum bag after); steam treatment to
fabrics; CO2 freeze treatment; superheating for at least 90 minutes
(at the “kill-temperature” of 114-118 degrees Fahrenheit); and/or using
contact, residue or growth-regulating pesticides approved by the U.S.
EPA will help to eventually eliminate bed bugs.
7: Ease the burden of costs and
responsibility. While it is the owner’s
responsibility under the lease to provide pest-free housing, there should
be a means to charge back pest control expenses to the occupant—
particularly in cases where the unit has
not been properly prepared for extermination, and when re-infestation
occurs after treatment efforts.
There is little in the way of bed bug
case law, so use judgment with riders
or forms and consider having them
reviewed by an attorney to determine
feasibility. Bed bugs are a local or
state issue and legislation pertaining to your area should be reviewed.
Almost every state has some form
of bed bug control legislation under
consideration or already in place.
For more information on bed bugs, visit www.epa.gov/bedbugs.
BROACHING THE BED BUG DISCUSSION
A commonly held belief is that cleanliness often results in a bed bug-free environment, and vice versa. Occupants tend to incorrectly believe that a quality
building with clean occupants doesn’t have the potential to have a bed bug
infestation, and discussing the subject of bed bugs with occupants is rarely
recommended in a marketing plan.
There are two distinct players in bed bug discussions: 1) The occupant
whose unit is the source of the nest and from where the bed bugs emanated;
and 2) The occupant(s) in the vicinity of the source, who were second-hand
victims of the expanding infestation.
If only one unit has bed bugs, remediation is relatively straightfor ward. If more
than one unit has bed bugs, it’s best to find out where the heaviest concentration
is and identif y it as the source. You might wish to inspect each vacant unit—either
by a professional inspector or a canine detector—to certify that it is bed-bug
free. The inspection can also help you deduce whether bed bugs were brought
in from the outside, or whether they crawled in from another unit.