Who Is Responsible For Keeping Bed Bugs Away?

By | April 27, 0201

Who is Responsible For Keeping Bed Bugs Away?

If you get an infestation of bed bugs you might wonder who is responsible for keeping bed bugs away from your home.  It depends a lot upon the type of housing that you live in and whether you rent or own your home.

The bottom line is probably that if you own your own home or condo it’s generally going to be you that is going to be the responsible person for the costs of any treatments.  But just because you rent your home doesn’t mean that your landlord is going to be responsible either.

Bed bugs in apartments can be a real problem as well.  This is because most public health departments consider bed bugs as a nuisance rather than a health hazard so to a large part it’s up to the landlord how he/she wants to respond to an infestation.

While most landlords are responsible and would work to kill a bed bug infestation to make sure that they are giving their residents a clean and safe place to live there are some who wouldn’t want to spend the money that an extermination would cost.

Controlling Bed BugsThere are also others that are willing to spend enough to control the problem but don’t want to spend enough to totally kill an infestation and solve it.

Part of the reason is that killing all the bugs once won’t ensure that they won’t come back again when a new resident moves in or someone brings in an infected piece of furniture.  This makes fighting bed bugs almost a loosing battle for Landlords.

As soon as they solve the problem it can pop up in another part of their building and the whole thing starts over again.  This can be a very expensive cost for Landlords and there are going to be some that are unwilling to pay this cost themselves.

Bed Bugs In Apartments and Condos

Apartments and condos are especially vulnerable to infestations of bed bugs.  This is because these units are so close together, often sharing common walls, that it makes it easy for a bed bug to crawl from one apartment to another as they seek more sources of their blood meals.

These bugs can sense people like a bloodhound and will crawl long distances to find new food sources when an infestation grows too large for the area where they are currently feeding.  They can also be brought into apartments in boxes, furniture, or on clothing.

They can crawl through small cracks and openings in the walls between apartment units and use plumbing and electrical openings to infest new apartments.

One thing that can commonly happen is when an apartment gets infested the people living there will haul out infested furniture like mattresses leaving a trail of bed bugs whereever they drag the furniture.

It is even possible to pick up bed bugs in a common area like a laundry room where tenants wash their infested sheets and leave bugs there for the next unsuspecting resident to carry home with them to their apartment.

This is why any treatments for Bed bugs in apartments should involve all the apartments that are around infested ones but this isn’t always possible. because of the reluctant neighbor.

The Reluctant Neighbor

uSING dIATOMACEOUS eARTHLet me give you an example of why getting rid of a bed bug infestation might not be the fault of your landlord and how difficult it can be for them to treat for bed bugs.

I was in a neighbors’ apartment the other day.  This is in a building that has had ongoing issues with bed bugs since we moved into it seven years ago.

My neighbor was someone who to all outward appearances would be considered a normal, regular old neighbor. But what I saw in his home after he finally trusted me enough to let me in appalled me.  First, let’s start with the hoarding.

There were stacks of papers and boxes piled everywhere.  The living room was completely filled, nearly to the ceiling except for one path that led to the balcony.  The small kitchen was packed with another path that led from the front door to the bedroom and the bathroom.

The hall was a narrow path with stuff piled nearly to the ceiling.  In the bedroom the path led to a bed that had piles looming over it on both sides. There was just enough room on the bed for one person to crawl into it and sleep.  It was a bed bug nirvana with hiding places galore.

But the sheets that were on the bed were the shocker. Marked by bloodstains from hundreds of bug bites with the walls and stacks of paper visible smeared with fecal droppings and discarded shells from bedbugs.  After I left the apartment I felt like I should be decontaminated.

But this apartment was only two floors above mine.  I know that there are other apartments in the same shape in this building. Even if an exterminator was allowed inside to spray them, what could they do?

It would have been impossible to spray the whole apartment and get to all the hiding places where the bed bugs hang out during the day  The only alternative would be to fog the place, and that would only be possible with the tenants’ permission.

This apartment was a bedbug black hole. A place that bedbugs could hide while the property was treated for these pests in every other apartment. The bugs could hide out in here, wait till the coast was clear and reinfect the entire building – again.

The only alternative would have been for the landlord to evict my neighbor so they could clean out the apartment and exterminate the bugs but for whatever reason they chose not to do so.

The Reluctant Resident

The larger the building the more likely it is that there is going to be one or more people living in it that don’t want to have their apartment treated for real or imagined health reasons.  There are always going to be a few people in any building that just don’t want to have a stranger spraying dangerous chemicals in their home.

But there are also people that don’t want strangers in their home because of different mental reasons.  These people have legitimate reasons that they are scared to have someone in their home.

The Responsible Property Owner

This demonstrates the difficulty faced by the average apartment owner. Even if you have an owner that is totally willing to spend the thousands of dollars that it takes to treat for bed bugs, it just takes one or two neighbors with apartments like this and the effort basically becomes a stalling action.

All that can be done is to try and keep the bugs at bay from the residents that are willing to have their apartments sprayed with pesticides, who are willing to allow an exterminator into their home.

As a rough estimate I would bet that at least 5% of the residents of any apartment or condo building could be creating perfect hideouts for bed bugs because they were physically or mentally incapable of caring for their homes.

They might not be able to tolerate the chemicals that are used to exterminate bed bugs, or they might have emotional problems that leave them the perfect victim.

So how can a landlord deal with this type of resident?  In any building for the elderly or the disabled there is probably little that they can do.  So if there are bedbugs in your building you need to make sure that you are taking care of your space and making it bedbug proof as possible.

So Who Is Responsible For Keeping Bed Bugs Away?

It often depends upon what type of housing you live in.  A condo board would probably insist that it was the duty of each resident since they owned the unit although if it was a large problem they might assume responsibility.  Ditto with individual detached homes where unless it is rented you are probably on your own.

An apartment can usually depend upon the owner for some reaction unless the area where they lived didn’t require some sort of response.   Many owners would treat for the bugs just to keep from getting a reputation as a bed bug infested building(s) which would keep people from renting there.

To learn who is responsible for keeping bed bugs away the best thing that you can do is find the appropriate department in your location and ask.  Usually the city health department is the first place for you to start.

Many times though the Health Department in most cities cities consider bed bugs a nuisance rather than a health hazard so what is required of landlords can vary greatly from area to area.

Who Is Responsible For Killing Bed Bugs

The problem though, especially in apartment buildings, is that there are always going to be a few people like my friend that I described above.  Those that are reluctant or scared to allow people into their apartment.  Or those that are having trouble taking care of their apartments and who can’t keep them clean.

Now, bottom line is that keeping an apartment clean doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get bed bugs.  These bugs aren’t attracted to messy homes any more than they are to clean homes.  They are just attracted to the blood meals that they can get from the people that are living in them.

And bed bugs aren’t attracted to dirty conditions in apartments.  But having a dirty or messy apartment does make it easier for the bugs to hide from treatments to kill them.

Conclusion to Who Is Responsible To Keep Bed Bugs Away

The bottom line may be that it really doesn’t matter who is responsible because it ultimately is your problem.  You need to take the steps that are required to make sure that your home is bed bug proof and to keep the bugs away.

Whether or not there is someone else who should be responsible for paying for an extermination effort doesn’t matter because you are the one that is living with the problem and it’s you that has to take the steps to get rid of the bugs.

Even if someone else is paying the more that you do to keep the bugs away and/or kill and infestation in your home the better extermination efforts will work.

This might include using an exterminator or it might mean treating the problem yourself but you are the one that has to live with the infestation.

The important thing to realize is that the bottom line is that the sooner you start exterminating efforts the easier it will be to kill bed bugs.  The longer that you wait the larger the infestation and the harder it is going to be to kill the bugs.

Even if you hear about someone in your building with a possible bed bug infestation you should start to prep your apartment to make sure it stays a bug free zone.

You can do this by denying the bugs access to you and your family by making your beds a bug free zone using the methods that are outlined in this blog.

And should you get bitten, even once, you should start at once to treat your home.

You should also make sure that you are careful about anything that you bring into your home, whether it is used or new.  Make sure that you carefully inspect furniture that you bring home to make sure that it doesn’t carry any of the bugs.

If you travel or go on a trip somewhere make sure that you carefully check your bags for any possible hitch hiking bug that is looking to infest your home.

Remember that bottom line you are the one that is responsible to keep bed bugs away and you will keep your home safe from these nasty bugs and keep your home safe and free from these bugs.



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