Bed Bugs in Western MA are one of the most troublesome and fastest growing challenges for many property managers in this region, largely due to the fact that they are proficient hitchhikers and prolific. We’ve all heard the stories of bed bugs in hotels, motels, schools, offices, public transportation, movie theaters and, perhaps, our friend or family member’s home. Rental property managers in particular rely on the pest management industry for their knowledge and expertise to help prevent, identify, manage and eliminate these pests on an ongoing basis. If you manage rental property, you know the “angsts” that clouds your psyche when someone utters the dreaded words BED BUGS!
What follows is a compilation of the pest management industry’s current research s in the art of “devil bug” management.
Things to Consider When Dealing with Bed Bugs in Western MA
- Consider that not all bites are bed bug bites. Many insects (or other outside factors) can bite, cause itching, initiate scratching or cause other skin discomforts. Proper identification of the bugs and/or finding evidence of an infestation is a necessity. This is especially true considering the costs involved with treating bed bugs vs. other biting pests.
- Infestations really do require a professional with expertise treating and eliminating bed bugs. Materials and methods vary. Preparation, encasement covers, tenant education, and choice of treatment sites are just some of the considerations when choosing a treatment protocol.
- It is important to try and identify the source of the bed bugs. How did they “hitchhike” onto the property? You can treat and eliminate every bug today, but they can be brought back onto the property tomorrow. The source of an infestation often determines whether the management plan is ongoing or a limited response to an event. For example, was your tenant recently traveling and not likely to again for some time or are they an elderly citizen that goes to an adult day center that’s having ongoing problems?
- Preventative measures are vital to successfully managing these pests in large, multi-unit buildings. Professional inspection of each unit on a regular basis is highly recommended. This provides early detection and the opportunity to interact with and educate your tenants. The frequency can vary with each property’s “pest potential” and building policies. For example, if you provide an annual inspection of each unit to check its general condition you might include inspections for bed bugs and other pests at the same time. Once-a-year may be enough depending on your tenant make up. Family housing may need twice-per-year inspections due to the coming and going of family members, or if your building has a high turnover rate.
- Offering organized tenant meetings to discuss the building’s pest management policies, with a focus on bed bug awareness, will often improve the overall management program. It is important to address factors that may allow bed bug reintroduction with tenants. If the tenants know that management is interested in catching problems early and not assigning blame or costs, they become more vested and helpful.
- Once an infestation is identified, schedule the treatments and inspect the adjacent units. Consider perimeter treatments for the adjacent units, as applicable.
- As a general rule, a visual inspection is all that is necessary for an ongoing preventative program. An adult bed bug is about the size of an apple seed and other evidence of their presence is also visible to the naked eye so … they are not difficult to see with a good flashlight and the knowledge and experience to know what to look for.
- For all services, inspections, observations and treatments, good documentation is the key to effectively managing the program. A simple slip of paper saying that your pest control company was there with a date and a material applied isn’t helpful. Details about where and how many bugs, level of cooperation and preparedness, encasement cover status and conversations/education with the tenants should all be documented to better manage the program
Some Considerations Regarding Treatment
There are a number of methods that are available to the pest management industry to abate an infestation of bed bugs in Western MA. All have their pros and cons. However, the application of pesticides is utilized in most treatment protocols. The reason for this is that the application leaves a residual that will continue to kill active and reintroduced bed bugs for a period of weeks after it is applied.
The use of super sniffer dogs is widely utilized in the pest management industry and a great tool for finding difficult to locate bed bugs. Their use really shines in the hospitality industry where hotel & motel rooms have constant turnover of visitors. You never know if last night’s guess left something extra behind! The dogs can check multiple rooms quickly and effectively to assure that the next guests can sleep tight. Whether a bed bug check by “super sniffer” is a necessary added expense for an occupied home or apartment is to be determined by the client and service provider. In this author’s opinion, they are, in most cases, not a necessary expense.
Heat treatment is commonly offered as a panacea for bed bug remediation. It does cost significantly more than traditional types of treatments but eliminates or minimizes the amount of pesticide necessary. For people sensitive to chemicals, this may be the best choice. However, keep in mind that the treatment may eliminate all the bugs today but, without education and perhaps a residual application of pesticide, the bed bugs can be re-introduced onto your property tomorrow, and so it goes….
Traditional types of treatments rely on the judicious use of pesticides and are the most common and cost effective alternative in this author’s experience and opinion. Coupled with tenant cooperation and education, pesticides properly applied by a licensed professional, can eliminate an infestation in two to three treatments.
So, when it comes to the most troublesome “devil bug” that property managers have to wrestle with, the bed bug ranks right up there. These hitchhiking, bug-manufacturing offenders give you a lot to consider. Since you as a property manager don’t have control over everyone’s daily travels, it makes sense to have an effective strategy and ongoing plan to deal with these bugs. Consider that the weakest link in this chain is the tenant/management relationship and the key to success is enhanced tenant education, awareness and early detection. With an educated and cooperative tenant, and a building-appropriate approach, bed bugs in Western MA can be successfully managed.
Thank you for reading this article on how to best treat Bed Bugs in Western MA. If you have questions or concerns, please let the experts at Graduate Pest Solutions help you!