Taking Control of Pesky Bedbug Problems
As much as that is the ideal case, dealing with bedbugs should be done immediately after you find them.
Here are some tips you can follow from beginning to end, which can you put you on the path to a bedbug-free home.
1. It can happen to anyone.Let’s face it. Bedbug infestation can happen to anyone and anywhere, even including a luxury condo or townhome. Bedbugs do not discriminate when it comes to making a home, and so it is quite easy to bring them to your own home if you’ve slept around them someplace else. Also, do not be fooled by their name. You can find bedbugs hiding in clothing shipments, and inside donated furniture or clothing.
How can you tell you have bedbugs? Oftentimes, you’ll notice red spots around your body from their bites, which are usually itchy. Depending on your sensitivity, they could look more like a rash, but they are generally less harmful than a mosquito bite. Depending on the season, you may confuse them with allergies, but this should always kept in mind, especially if the bites persist. They are often too small to notice immediately, so this is the biggest telltale sign. If you don’t remember that bedbugs exist, they will sometimes leave their excrement behind on your mattress, which looks like dried blood. This is a huge warning sign to call your association manager immediately.
2. Use the power of prevention.Don’t freak out just yet. Just because bedbugs exist does not mean your home needs to become infested. To avoid a bedbug fest, you should always launder your clothes, especially after travelling. Bedbugs and high temperatures do not mesh well together, so drying your clothes on the highest setting will get rid of them easily. You should also be careful where you get your furniture. A bargain can sometimes end up costing you in other ways.
3. Acting fast is key.The moment you notice bedbugs, address the issue immediately. As mentioned previously, it may be embarrassing calling an association manager to help with your problem, but you don’t want the problem getting worse, and you especially don’t want the bedbugs moving to other neighbors’ properties. Usually, there are two choices when calling an exterminator; using heat or using chemicals. Using chemicals may seem like the most effective choice, but it takes two treatments and despite being more affordable, doesn’t always work completely. Heat, on the other hand, involves bringing heaters into your home and raising the temperature to about 110 degrees for six or seven hours. This approach may not work in units with high, lofty ceilings. This may also require coordination with the fire suppression company because the high heat may cause a sprinkler head to activate. Despite this, it is recommended to take the heat route because of its effectiveness. To be safe, your management company may take an extra step in this process and inspect other nearby properties adjacent to yours. This is to ensure that no other residence has been affected.
4. Making a policy can help.Bringing this issue up during a meeting may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but with bedbugs, doing so is key, since this can be costly and having a proper policy at hand will save everyone from any confusion. Thus, it’s up to the boards and association management companies to take the lead on this issue to create an effective policy. This will vary by association, but the best practice is for the HOA to take control of the first bill so that residents are more encouraged to call if this ever occurs. The last thing you want is for residents to avoid the problem because they don’t want to pay the costs along with being embarrassed. To take it one step further, the association should pay for treating common areas. If bedbugs are a common problem in a building or community, oftentimes the association and occupant split the cost of treatment which encourages both timely reporting and personal responsibility.
A bedbug’s biggest power is the stigma that comes along with it. Just remember that this is a common problem and is no cause for embarrassment. It is much like fighting mold in your home. The only source of shame would be in not addressing the issue with expediency. For more important tips, contact FirstService Residential.
More information can also be found on these sites:
1.) CDC - http://www.cdc.gov/
2.) Minnesota Department of Health - http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/dtopics/pests/bedbugs.html