It Takes a Community

Bed Bug

Underside of Immature Bed Bug

Bed bug infestations in multiunit buildings have proved to be the most difficult to manage. The actions of all the building residents, the management and pest control professions all affect the bed bug problem. Failure of one person may doom attempts to eradicate bed bugs and maintain bed bug-free living. I discussed some of the legal issues when tenants and management disagree over responsibility for eradicating bed bugs. If a dispute goes to court, weeks or months may pass with none of the steps needed to address the bed bug infestation accomplished. An adversarial relationship is counterproductive.

Bennett and colleagues* recommend a cooperative structure with well defined roles for administrators, residents and pest managers. They recommend that the administrators 1) have a plan, 2) communicate and educate the residents about their responsibilities, 3) have one person trained to inspect and identify bed bugs, 4) have an inspection for bed bugs when residents move in and 5) contract with a reputable pest management profession to provide timely and effective bed bug control.

Residents need to cooperate by 1) reporting bed bugs immediately, 2) eliminating clutter that can harbor bed bugs and impede inspections, 3) not bringing items into the unit from bed bug infested locations, 4) inspecting for bed bugs on personal items after visiting bed bug infested locations and 5) fully cooperating with bed bug inspection and eradication efforts.

Pest management professionals need to regularly inspect, treat as necessary, & recommend, suggest and support strategies to prevent bed bugs.

This level of cooperation can be effective at eliminating bed bugs. Unfortunately, cooperation between landlords and all tenants in multiunit buildings is difficult to achieve.

•Gary W Bennett; Ameya D Gondhalekar; Changlu Wang; Grzegorz Buczkowskia & Timothy J Gibb. 2015. Using research and education to implement practical bed bug control programs in multifamily housing. Pest Management Science.
DOI 10.1002/ps.4084

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in Bed Bugs, by jjneal, Pest Management, Policy. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to It Takes a Community

  1. Pingback: It Takes a Community | Living With Insects Blog

  2. Ben says:

    I am in the pest control business and in my area we have a serious infestation of bed bugs. They are everywhere – in hotels, motels, homes, apartment complexes. I am not sure what is the reason so many places are affected.

  3. jjneal says:

    Bed bugs are a common problem in the US. If people are not getting rid of their infestations, the infestations will continue to spread.

  4. Charles says:

    Yes, bed bug infestation is a serious issue and we must consult a good and professional bed bug exterminator for a solution.

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