According to Florida Statute 83.51, which covers a landlord’s obligation to maintain the premises, landlords are generally required to make reasonable provisions for the extermination of bedbugs and other pests. Even if you weren’t required by law, you’d probably want to act anyway since the bedbugs aren’t going to simply disappear when the current tenants vacate. Getting rid of these pests is often tricky, so even if you’re represented by a property management company in Royal Palm Beach, it’s important to know how to get rid of bed bugs so that you’ve had a greater appreciation for the problem. In what follows, we’ll discuss preventing them, eliminating them and keeping them gone.
Being at Risk of Bedbugs
The first important point to understand is that all residences are susceptible to bedbugs. People who don’t have a lot of experience with bedbugs, cockroaches, and other pest infestations often fall into the trap of believing that they’re always caused by uncleanliness. While bad hygiene habits can certainly play a role, it’s often not the chief cause or even a factor, particularly when it comes to bedbugs. Tenants can bring bedbugs home from a vacation or business trip, and properties can become affected due to other infested properties in close proximity to them. The issue with proximity is why bedbug problems can spiral out of control in dense urban areas.
Where Bedbugs Hide
Another crucial aspect of learning how to get rid of bed bugs is knowing where they like to hide. They can enter a home on clothing, in luggage and grouped in beds, couches, and other furniture. They don’t nest but do group, and once settled, will often hide in mattresses, box springs, headboards and other areas where they have access to bite for the blood they need. As an infestation grows, they can spread from ground zero—often a bedroom—to other rooms. You can find them behind furniture, in the baseboards and even in cracks in walls, floors, and ceilings.
Signs of a Bedbug Infestation
All landlords and property managers in Royal Palm Beach should get to know the telltale signs of a bedbug infestation. Blood stains on pillowcases and sheets are the most obvious sign. However, the stains aren’t always obviously blood and may simply look dark or rusty. You may also find these stains on clothing and walls, particularly near the crevices where the pests are hiding. In areas where they are or have grouped, signs include shed skin, egg shells and fecal spots. You may also notice a musty odor that most consider offensive, and this smell comes from the bedbugs’ scent glands.
Have the Residence Professionally Inspected
If you or the tenant have any reason to believe that the residence may be infested by bedbugs, then you should schedule a professional inspection immediately. In fact, many property management companies have their properties regularly inspected for bedbugs, roaches, termites, mice and other pests. Many pest companies even offer inspections at no cost in the hopes of earning your business should you require extermination and prevention. Professional inspections are important because the pros know where to look and can use that information to formulate an extermination and prevention plans. If you have multiple units in close proximity, you should schedule an inspection for all units at the same time.
Cleaning, Treatment, and Prevention
When an infestation is active, cleaning must often carefully be coordinated with the treatments and preventive measures in order to not be counterproductive. However, for the sake of learning how to get rid of bed bugs, we’ll consider these three phases in a compartmentalized fashion.
Cleaning the Residence
Remove all clutter from the home. If the sanitation of the home is less than ideal, then a comprehensive ordinary cleaning is required as well. All items must be removed from shelves, drawers, closets and so forth. Any clothing must be thoroughly washed and stored in sealed plastic bags to avoid re-infestation. Thoroughly dust and then vacuum the home. Some items, such as mattresses, may not be treatable and should be removed from the home and destroyed. There are, however, mattress and box springs encasements that can potentially save these items in certain cases.
Exterminating the Bedbugs
Generally, you’ll want to hire a professional to perform the treatment. If you have multiple units in close proximity, then you should treat all of them at the same time regardless of whether or not they’re currently infested. You should also consider coordinating with neighbors if possible. If treating yourself, use the strongest substance available to you by law. There are both sprays and dusts available, and you should have both on hand. You’d be better off spraying baseboard tops but dusting where the baseboard meets the floor, for instance. Treat all corners high and low. Treat behind and under all furniture, and be sure to treat mattresses and the like with an appropriate insecticide.
Safeguarding the Residence
You can’t assume all bedbugs stayed in the home and want to prevent any that didn’t from coming back inside. Caulking and otherwise sealing any cracks or other exploits where pests can gain access to the home is essential. This should be done and allowed to set before treatment, or you should treat again. Use a silica gel or diatomaceous earth at any location where you think bugs may still have access. You can even use this to line beds and the like. If you have cats, change the little completely at least every five days regardless of the standard instructions for the product.
Ensure That the Bedbugs Stay Gone
Now that you know how to get rid of bed bugs, you should consider a plan for preventing them. Ideally, you should have a professional team that inspects the unit regularly and treats as necessary. You can’t control your tenants, but you can inform them. May is a great time to send a helpful notice since the peak bedbug season is generally from June to October.