Are Bed Bugs Contagious in Apartments?
Bed bugs are among the most common pests that can be found in apartments, so it isn’t a surprise that they are contagious - meaning they spread easily to other units. A few years ago, bed bugs re-emerged and started large infestations in many places. However, these bugs don't just pop up in your apartment. In one way or another, these pests are brought in to your apartment and settle in the comforts of your living space to build their colonies.
Another possible reason for bed bugs is if the neighbouring rooms are dealing with a bedbug infestation without your knowledge. Bed bugs can easily move from one apartment to another and can spread rapidly through small cracks and crevices through the walls connecting each room. Another way is them crawling through interconnecting pipes and entering your apartment.
Why Are Bed Bugs So Contagious?
Bed bugs can spread easily as they can latch on to any item and go from one place to another by hitchhiking a ride on any of your belongings. You may be confident now that your apartment is clear from these pests, but you may be surprised if you find them building a colony just because your neighbour has them.
Anything that connects you to other apartments can be used by bed bugs to reach your unit. These can include your walls, pipelines, or the ceiling. It isn’t easy to detect bed bugs in the early stages, but staying alert for any signs of an infestation will give you the advantage to act immediately before it’s too late.
How Do Bed Bug Treatments Work in Apartments?
If you’ve been hearing about bed bug issues in your apartment complex, it is necessary that you start looking for bed bug monitoring and detection products. These products are helpful in determining if your apartment is already infested and how serious the infestaion is. These results will help you to decide whether a full treatment is necessary and if you should be talking to your landlord.
In the case that you find bed bugs in your apartment, expect the neighbouring apartments to be inspected for bed bug infestations as well. No trace of bed bugs in the surrounding apartments means that the infestation can be controlled and professionals will only do the treatment in your unit. However, if the pest control professionals find adjacent apartments infested with bed bugs, those units will be treated too.
Once the presence of bed bugs is confirmed, it is essential to alert the landlord or property management in writing and by phone. Most people who live in buildings are unaware of such problems, or if they are aware, it is less likely that they’ll report or admit it.
Though bed bug traps will help to monitor and reduce bed bugs at a certain amount, an unknown large-scale infestation might only get worse without proper treatment. The entire treatment consists of complete inspection, vacuuming, and treating all hiding spots. This is a labour-intensive process and it may take hours for every apartment to be treated. A thing to note - a single treatment session is never enough. The chances of re-infestation are still high, which is why several visits are required to permanently resolve the issue.
Your Role as the Tenant
Aside from reporting the issue, it is your responsibility to prepare your apartment for the treatment once the appointment is made. The following are some of the things you can do to help the exterminators do their job well:
- Keep all your belongings in your unit to prevent introducing bed bugs to uninfested apartments.
- Declutter and put all loose items in plastic bags. This will give the exterminators an advantage to inspect thoroughly. You should strictly follow what the exterminator tells you about the possible infested items you place inside the bag. This will prevent re-infestation after the treatment.
- Wash and dry your clothing, bedding, and other washable items on the highest heat setting for at least 30 minutes to make sure bed bugs of all stages will be killed.
- Reduce possible chemical insecticides exposure by clearing your kitchen of food and other items that you use for cooking. Cover countertops and tables to prevent the pesticide residue from sticking on the items. Though exterminators will use safe pesticides and will be careful during the treatment, it is still recommended that you take effort to reduce risks.
- Instead of throwing away your mattress and box spring, buy a quality mattress encasement and box spring cover to prevent bed bugs of all stages from escaping, reaching you and biting you.
- Do an initial vacuuming on couches, recliners, and chairs. Seal the vacuum bags in a garbage bag and discard it in the dumpster.
- Before the treatment starts, empty all drawers in your nightstand and other pieces of furniture near your bed to make these items easier to inspect and treat.