How to detect bed bugs in the apartment
- How Homeowners and Renters Can Detect Bedbugs Before Moving In
- How to Find Bed Bugs
- Looking for Signs of Bed Bugs
- Where Bed Bugs H >
- Checking For Bedbugs In An Apartment Before Signing A Lease And Moving!
- 1. Ask Your Prospective Landlord If The Building Has Had Bedbug Problems Before
- 2. Get The Inside Scoop From Residents
- 3. Don’t Be Fooled By Fresh Paint – This Doesn’t Mean An Apartment Is Bedbug Free
- 4. Perform An Inspection Yourself
- Moving In Brooklyn? Need Local Movers? Contact Big Apple Moving Now!
- What do I do if my apartment has bed bugs?
- Early Detection Tools & Methods
- Visual Inspections:
- Mattress Encasements:
- Canine Scent Detection:
- Passive Interception Devices:
- Commercially Manufactured Active Monitoring Devices:
- Do It Yourself (DIY) Monitor:
How Homeowners and Renters Can Detect Bedbugs Before Moving In
There is nothing like your first night in a new house or apartment. That is, of course, after you have unpacked and organized all of your belongings. The question remains though: Have you checked for those creepy critters called bedbugs?
Now more than ever, new renters and homeowners are becoming more and more concerned with the history of bedbug infestations within their new home. Not all landlords and homeowners share if they have or had a bedbug infestation in the past with prospective buyers or renters. Additionally, the current owner or landlord might not be aware that they currently have a bedbug infestation.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to ensure you are not moving into an infested apartment or home:
1. Call your local, non-emergency information hotline to find out what the laws in your state are regarding tenant notification of current and previous bedbug infestations within your building and apartment.
2. Conduct a pre-purchase or rental bedbug canine inspection. For decades we have worried about termites in our homes. Now you can get the same reassurance by eradicating your house or apartment of bedbugs prior to moving in. Be sure this inspection is conducted before you move to save you time, money, and a huge hassle.
3. Before moving into your new apartment, speak with management and ask how they handle infestations within the building. Do your research online to find out if the building has been previously infested by reading tenant reviews.
4. Don’t be shy! Introduce yourself to your neighbors and get the inside scoop on the building.
5. Create a bedbug barrier within your apartment by using an over-the-counter bedbug spray like Pronto Plus. Pronto Plus kills bedbugs and their eggs on contact and helps you stay bedbug free.
6. Don’t be fooled — Freshly-painted walls and refinished floors will not rid your apartment or home of bedbugs if they are currently living there.
7. Purchase mattress and box-spring encasements, as well as cut down on clutter within your apartment or home. It’s best to keep items out from under your bed, where bedbugs can easily hide.
8. If you are using a moving company, ask it what steps it takes to ensure the truck is bedbug free before loading your belongings. You can even have the truck inspected by a bedbugs-sniffing canine prior to the moving company visiting your home or apartment.
9. Try your best to not bring secondhand or used items into your home. If you must have that item, utilize a bedbug barrier spray on the item prior to bringing it inside.
10. Keep your eyes out while touring a new home or apartment for any telltale signs of having bedbugs. To learn more about obvious signs, check out this article about identifying bedbugs.
Lastly, take a deep breath. Moving can be stressful, but if you keep this list in mind, you’ll be ahead of the game. Remember that while this might seem like another task to add to your moving checklist, doing your due diligence will allow you to sleep tight. And of course, don’t let the bedbugs bite.
Michael Colongione is a spokesman for Pronto Plus®, distributed by Insight Pharmaceuticals. The advice and opinions he expresses in this article are his own.
For more by Michael Colongione, click here.
How to Find Bed Bugs
If you have a bed bug infestation, it is best to find it early, before the infestation becomes established or spreads. Treating a minor infestation, while an inconvenience, is far less costly and easier than treating the same infestation after it becomes more widespread.
However, low-level infestations are also much more challenging to find and correctly identify. Other insects, such as carpet beetles, can be easily mistaken for bed bugs. If you misidentify a bed bug infestation, it gives the bugs more time to spread to other areas of the house or hitchhike a ride to someone else’s house to start a new infestation. Learn about identifying bed bugs.
Bites on the skin are a poor indicator of a bed bug infestation. Bed bug bites can look like bites from other insects (such as mosquitoes or chiggers), rashes (such as eczema or fungal infections), or even hives. Some people do not react to bed bug bites at all.
Looking for Signs of Bed Bugs
A more accurate way to identify a possible infestation is to look for physical signs of bed bugs. When cleaning, changing bedding, or staying away from home, look for:
- Rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by bed bugs being crushed.
- Dark spots (about this size: •), which are bed bug excrement and may bleed on the fabric like a marker would.
- Eggs and eggshells, which are tiny (about 1mm) and pale yellow skins that nymphs shed as they grow larger.
- Live bed bugs.
Where Bed Bugs H >
When not feeding, bed bugs hide in a variety of places. Around the bed, they can be found near the piping, seams and tags of the mattress and box spring, and in cracks on the bed frame and headboard.
If the room is heavily infested, you may find bed bugs:
- In the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, in the folds of curtains.
- In drawer joints.
- In electrical receptacles and appliances.
- Under loose wall paper and wall hangings.
- At the junction where the wall and the ceiling meet.
- Even in the head of a screw.
Checking For Bedbugs In An Apartment Before Signing A Lease And Moving!
Moving in New York City can be really stressful – especially in Brooklyn. Brooklyn is one of the most quickly-growing boroughs in all of the city, but it’s getting harder and harder to find a great, inexpensive apartment.
However, you shouldn’t just sign a lease for a new Brooklyn apartment as soon as you find one that fits your budget. If an apartment is being offered at a low price, there could be a reason, such as a pest infestation.
Out of all pest infestations in New York City, bedbugs are definitely the worst. These little critters can spread disease, cause you to break out in sores, and can be easily transported to other apartments via your skin, hair, and clothing. They’re also extremely difficult to get rid of – you may have to get rid of most of your stuff, or fumigate your apartment.
Because of this, it’s crucial that you check each apartment you look at for pests like bedbugs before you sign a lease and move – otherwise, you could get stuck in a really bad situation. To help you recognize and avoid bedbugs when you’re apartment hunting, we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide. Take a look below.
1. Ask Your Prospective Landlord If The Building Has Had Bedbug Problems Before
If you’re thinking about moving to a new apartment building, the first thing you should do is ask the landlord or building manager about past bedbug infestations.
By New York City law, they must inform you if there has been an infestation anywhere in the building within the last 12 months – not just in the apartment that you’re interested in renting. If they refuse to do so, they’re violating the law – and you should walk away from the lease. You don’t want to risk a bedbug infestation.
Now, it’s important to note that just because the building has had bedbugs in the last 12 months doesn’t necessarily make it a bad choice – but you will want to be extra careful when checking out your selected apartment, and ensure that it’s bedbug free.
2. Get The Inside Scoop From Residents
It’s a good idea to talk to current residents of a building to get an idea of the overall cleanliness and quality of the apartments. Residents will tell you things that managers and supers won’t – because they’re not trying to sell you on their apartments.
So if you’re still not sure about moving into a particular building, don’t be shy – knock on a few doors, and ask some questions about the apartments. Was there a recent bedbug infestation? How long ago was it? How did management solve the problem?
Asking these questions is a very good way to determine the overall risk of bedbugs in an apartment building.
3. Don’t Be Fooled By Fresh Paint – This Doesn’t Mean An Apartment Is Bedbug Free
Bedbug infestations are usually pretty easy to notice, but some underhanded landlords may try to simply cover up an infestation, rather than address it with fumigation or other more expensive extermination services.
If the apartment you’re looking at has a fresh coat of paint, that may be a good sign – but it could also mean that the landlord was trying to cover up an infestation.
If you suspect that a newly-painted apartment may be hiding bedbugs, you should check the joints of the walls, ceilings, and baseboards. If each of these areas has been recently sealed by caulk, there’s a high chance that the apartment is infested – and that the landlord has simply tried to seal the bedbugs in the walls, and cover up the evidence.
4. Perform An Inspection Yourself
You can ask all the questions you want – but if you really want peace of mind when you’re moving to a new apartment in Brooklyn, you’re going to have to perform a bedbug inspection yourself. You’ll need 2 tools for the job.
- A flashlight (the LED on your phone will do nicely, in a pinch)
- An old credit card or playing card
During this process, you’ll be looking for 4 different things:
- Mature, living bedbugs – full-size male bedbugs are about the size and shape of an apple seed, and have oval, wingless bodies. Females are much smaller – about the size of a pinhead. Generally, you’ll find hundreds of bedbugs in one place, as they tend to congregate in one main area during the day.
- Excrement – Bedbugs feed on blood, so their excrement usually takes the form of large, rust-colored patches and stains.
- Bedbug skins – These are the molted exoskeletons of growing bedbugs. They will be the general size and shape of a living bedbug, but white and nearly transparent.
- Bedbug eggs – Bedbug eggs are small, white, and usually are laid in very large clusters that should be quite easy to see.
If the apartment you’re looking at is furnished, check out the furnishings. Open drawers and wardrobes, and comb through them carefully with your flashlight. Run your credit card over the surfaces – is there any evidence of bedbugs?
Mattresses are another great place to check. Flip the mattress over or remove it from the bed entirely, and look over the entire bed frame and mattress for signs of a bedbug infestation.
If the apartment you’re looking at is unfurnished, you can still easily find bedbugs, if they’re present. Bedbugs tend to hide behind walls and collect in dark places during the day, as they don’t like the light. You should check behind:
- Baseboards – Run your credit card underneath the gaps in the baseboard. Do you notice any signs of bedbugs?
- Closets – Check the walls and corners of closets for signs of bedbugs.
- Loose wallpaper – Bedbugs can climb underneath loose wallpaper and nest – check underneath any areas of loose wallpaper, if present.
- Power outlets – You need a screwdriver (and a bit of technical knowledge) to check behind power outlets, but these are prime locations for bedbugs, so it’s worth checking here yourself or asking your prospective landlord to remove the power outlet cover so you can have a look.
If you check all these areas and don’t find bedbugs, you’re probably in the clear. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – it’s well worth taking these steps to make sure your new Brooklyn apartment is bedbug free before you sign a lease and move.
Moving In Brooklyn? Need Local Movers? Contact Big Apple Moving Now!
If you’ve followed our above guide, you’ve probably found a great, bedbug free apartment in Brooklyn! But you still have to move your stuff – and in New York City, that’s no easy task.
So don’t rent a car or a truck – hire expert local movers from Big Apple Moving. Our local moving services are second-to-none in Brooklyn. We’ve been in business since 1979, and our professional movers have the experience that you need to make move into your new place quickly.
We can handle packing for you with our full-service local moving solutions, or just provide you with all the materials you’ll need to get your own stuff packed up.
We even offer storage services, so if you need a place to stash your stuff, we can provide an all-in-one solution. So don’t wait. Hire Big Apple Moving today, and get moved into your new apartment, hassle-free.
What do I do if my apartment has bed bugs?
Northeast Ohio and many places across the country are experiencing a significant increase in bed bug complaints. Bed bugs were once thought to be pests found only on bedding in homes, apartments, and rooming houses. Now bed bugs are found in office buildings, retail stores, hospitals, dormitories, nursing homes, office buildings, libraries, movie theaters, buses, and any other place where people gather. Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers and are easily spread by moving beds, furniture, luggage, or clothing from one location to another.
Identifying Bed Bugs
• Bed bugs are small, flat, oval, reddish-brown, wingless insects that feed primarily on the blood of humans.
• Adult bed bugs are approximately ¼ inch long, about the size of an apple seed. Young bed bugs (nymphs) are quite small and when unfed they appear lighter and almost clear in color.
• Bed bugs do not fly or jump. However, they can crawl very fast.
Bed Bug Bites
• Bed bugs bites often occur on the arms, shoulders, neck and legs.
• The bite can usually be seen as a red bump, up to a centimeter in size and without a red puncture mark in the middle.
• The bites may occur in lines or as a cluster of three or four.
• The bite may appear within hours or delayed up to a week.
• Bed bugs are primarily a nuisance to humans and are not known to transmit disease. Some people have no reaction to bites while other people may experience itchiness and irritation. Try to avoid scratching bites. Questions about bite marks should be directed to a medical provider.
Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation
Usually the first sign of a bed bug infestation is the appearance of red itchy welts on any bare skin that is exposed while sleeping. Next, look for small black or rusty-colored spots on bed linens, pillows, or mattress. These are blood spots and bed bug droppings. Also, look for live bed bugs, eggs, and cast skins.
Inspecting for Bed Bugs
Bed bugs hide close to where people sleep. They prefer fabric, wood, and paper surfaces over metal or plastic. Look for live bed bugs, eggs, cast skins, and blood or fecal spots in these locations: mattresses, box springs, head boards, bed frames, upholstered furniture, recliners, baseboards, behind pictures, under loose wallpaper, draperies, electrical outlets, telephones, radios, televisions, stacks of books, piles of papers, back packs, luggage, futons, gym bags, draperies & curtains, stuffed animals, hollow furniture legs, door frames & hinges, wall / ceiling junction.
Treating Bed Bug Infestations
Complete elimination of a bed bug infestation can be a difficult process and may require the services of a knowledgeable and licensed pest control operator. It may take several treatments to gain control over an infestation. If a “do-it-yourself” method is chosen, only use pesticide products that are labeled to kill bed bugs. Remember to always read and follow the label directions before applying any pesticide product. Here are some additional tips to help eliminate bed bugs.
• Reduce and eliminate clutter. Don’t keep piles of clothes, boxes, toys, shoes, etc. on the floor, under the bed, or in closets. They are prime hiding places for bed bugs.
• Wash infested bedding and clothing in hot water and then dry on a hot setting for at least 30 minutes.
• Encase an infested mattress and box spring in a zippered cover that is labeled and certified “bed bug proof”. Leave the covers on for at least one full year.
• Vacuum bedrooms thoroughly and often. Pay particular attention to the area around the bed and the bed itself. Place the vacuum cleaner bag or contents in a zip-lock plastic bag and discard it in the trash outside.
• Getting rid of bed bugs is a cooperative effort. Follow all recommended preparation guidelines provided by the pest control company prior to each treatment.
• Pesticides labeled to kill bed bugs are available over the counter and may provide effective control. However, if the problem persists or is heavily entrenched, contact a knowledgeable, experienced, and licensed pest management professional for assistance.
• Since bed bugs are difficult to control, plan on several extensive treatments to eliminate an infestation.
• DO NOT USE “Bug Bombs”. These products may kill on contact but they are ineffective against hidden bed bugs. They may make the infestation worse by scattering the bugs throughout the home or apartment.
• If an infestation is suspected in a rental unit, contact the building manager or landlord about the problem. Property owners should contact a professional pest control company for advice and assistance. The Cuyahoga County Board of Health (at (216) 201-2000) is also available to assist.
Preventing Future Infestations of Bed Bugs
• Do not bring discarded bed frames, mattresses, box springs, or upholstered furniture into the home.
• Carefully inspect used or rented furniture prior to bringing it into the home.
• When traveling, inspect the bed, headboard, and furniture upon arrival. Keep suitcases off the floor and bed and inspect them before leaving. Wash and dry all clothing thoroughly after returning home.
• Caulk and seal any cracks and crevices throughout the home, especially in rooms where people sleep.
• Be careful of who stays overnight or sleeps at the house.
Bed Bugs in Nursing Homes
Although no residence is safe, certain populations are particularly prone to bed bug infestations. A troublingly high incidence of bed bug infestations has been reported in nursing homes throughout the country.
Bed bug infestations are a concern for many seniors living in senior housing. Seniors living in a nursing home may be exposed to bed bugs through shared laundry facilities or common sitting areas, or by staying in a room near someone who may have bed bugs.
Bed bugs are attracted to heat and chemicals emitted by humans and survive on human blood. Therefore, nursing homes act as a breeding ground for bed bugs due to the high rate of residents, staff and family members moving about the facility. Furthermore, residents stay in bed for prolonged periods of time and live in close proximity, making it easy for bed bugs to survive.
Recommendations for Residents in Senior Housing
• Keep any living space clutter-free. Clutter provides great hiding spots for bed bugs.
• Bites that appear after sleeping may be an indication that bed bugs are present, even if they do not itch.
• Report a bed bug infestation to the property manager or facility administrator within 24 hours of the pest sighting.
• Do not attempt to control a bed bug infestation alone. Never self treat with pesticides, especially “bug bombs”, which drive bed bugs into adjacent rooms or units.
• Do not remove anything from an infested room until after the room is treated by a pest management professional (PMP).
• Cooperate fully with the recommendations provided by the PMP to prepare rooms for bed bug inspection and treatment. Ask the property manager or administration for help if there are preparation steps that cannot be accomplished alone, such as disassembling or moving furniture. Disabled and elderly individuals should request assistance with preparation.
• Prior to treatment, place all clutter and garbage from infested rooms in sealed plastic bags. Bagged items should remain in the infested room for treatment by a PMP prior to disposal.
• The day of the pesticide treatment, all bedding and clothing should be bagged in plastic, transported to the laundry and laundered using hot water. Dry the items for at least 30 minutes on high heat. Bags used for transport should not be re-used, but should be sealed and disposed with other infested refuse.
Bed bug infestations are a problem that affects everyone. Do not be reluctant to discuss a possible infestation because of embarrassment. It is important to report the infestation to management. The earlier the infestation is addressed, the more likely it will be quickly controlled.
Early Detection Tools & Methods
The ability to detect bed bugs during the early stages of an infestation when only a few bugs are present is absolutely critical, however until recently early detection tools and methods have been severely limited. Mattress and box spring encasements were the first early detection tool available. Now we are seeing a number of detection tools and methods including canine scent detection, CO2 monitors and passive interception devices that are making the early detection of bed bugs a reality. It is important to note that while monitoring tools and methods have certainly improved; no tool or method exists that is completely reliable in detecting bed bugs. For this reason, regardless of what method or device implemented, the failure to identify bugs cannot be used as an indicator that no bugs are present and it always recommended that a combination of methods be used to improve the likelihood of finding low activity.
The following is an overview of the current monitoring methods and tools:
Visual inspections are time consuming, labor intensive and perhaps the least reliable of all inspection methods when it comes to detecting low level infestations where only a few bugs are present. The reason that visual inspections are so unreliable is based on the secretive and cryptic nature of bed bugs and their propensity to hide in very narrow cracks too thin to see into or areas that are not visually readily accessible such as inside sofas, under baseboards, or beneath floor boards. Despite these limitations, visual inspection is still the most common method, as it can be performed by anyone that knows what to look for and does not require the purchase of specialized devices. All that is needed is a good flashlight and perhaps a magnifying lens to aid in seeing eggs and small nymphs. (See sections on Biology and Behavior and Early Detection)
Encasements for mattresses and box springs were the first early detection method available. In addition to protecting mattresses and box springs from becoming infested, encasements have helped to expose many bed bug infestations by removing the many hiding places that exist on mattresses and box springs and forcing bed bugs out into the open on the smooth exterior of the encasement where they can be readily seen and dealt with. There are many brands of encasements and they are not all created equally, nor are they all effective for use as a bed bug detection and/or management tool. For detailed information on encasements see the section on Mattress and Box Spring Encasements.
Canine Scent Detection:
Canine scent detection has become an increasingly popular inspection method for the detection of low level infestations. The biggest problem is that there are great disparities in the quality and effectiveness in the canine scent detection services that are available in a given area. A well run canine scent program can yield highly effective results and will often reveal infestations that would have been missed during a visual inspection. Unfortunately, the prevalence of poorly run programs is a real threat that may result in the discrediting of this valuable inspection method. There are two major concerns that are associated with canine scent inspection programs. The first is the concern that dogs may fail to detect bed bugs that are present and the second is the converse, where dogs falsely indicate the presence of bed bugs. Most canine scent detection firms adverstise accuracy rates of 95% or greater. This high level of accuracy has been demonstrated under controlled conditions in a University of Florida study. However, much lower accuracy rates were observed in a study conducted by Rutgers University under real world conditions using naturally infested apartments. IWhile it is difficult to deal with the dogs failiure to detect infestations, the issue of false alerts can be addressed by requiring some type of verification system be in place to confirm the presence of bed bugs following a positive indication by the dog. One method is to produce the evidence of the infestation (see section on How do I know if I have bed bugs, or early detection for more information on verifying the presence of bed bugs), the other is to institute a double blind verification system (see section on Canine Scent Detection for a complete discussion of this topic)
Bed bug sniffing dog inspecting sofa
Passive Interception Devices:
Passive interception devices arevery simple, inexpensive pitfall style traps thatcan be placed under the legs of bed frames and upholstered furniture. Once installed, they intercept and capture bed bugs as they travel to the sleeping and resting areas. The interception device can also capture bed bugs as they migrate away from beds and furniture, preventing them from infesting other parts of the structure and from getting into personal belongings that are difficult to treat.
The concept behind how interception devices work is that it allows bed bugs to climb the exterior of the device which is textured but then fall into a well that has smooth slippery sides that they are unable to climb and thus become trapped inside the well. Once the interceptors are placed under the legs of the furniture they work 24/7 with very little maintenance required other than occasionally emptying trapped bugs and periodically cleaning the wells or cleaning and relubricating the walls of the well with cotton ball dipped in talcum powder (depending on which device you are using).
The term passive monitor is used to describe these types of traps because there are no lures or attractants used such as CO2, heat or other attractants to entice the bed bugs into the device. In reality however, interception devices are anything but passive. By placing them under the legs of the bed, the person sleeping in the bed serves as the attractant, and there is no better lure than the bugs food source. In fact field research demonstrated that interceptors, left under the legs of beds for one week, were more effective in detecting low level infestations than active CO2 monitoring devices.
It is important to pull the bed away from the wall and not to allow linens, comforters, dust ruffles or other items to hang off the bed in contact with the floor, so the bugs have no alternate path onto the bed, forcing them into the interceptors.