Bed bugs are small, wingless insects that feed on warm-blooded species to survive. Bed bugs were a problem in the early 1900’s, but then new pesticide developments helped to control them from spreading. However, in the past decade there has been an increase in bed bugs as many are resistant to some of the former treatment methods used, and the increase in international travel. Keeping bed bugs from becoming a problem is a challenge for landlords in Pennsylvania. Who is responsible for bed bug treatment, and how can they be stopped before they cause an infestation?
Preventing Bed Bugs
Apartment dwellers are normally at a higher risk for bed bugs as they live in close proximity with others. Since traveling can lead to an increased risk of bed bugs coming around, it is wise to follow some preventative steps to limit bed bugs. Here are some things to know about bed bugs:
- Bed bugs can live for a year without feeding
- Bed bugs tend to live within 20 feet or less of where people sleep
- Bed bugs hide in small crevices
- Hotels, motels, and temporary lodging increase the risk of bed bugs traveling back in luggage
- Used furniture should be purchased with a grain of salt as there is an increased risk of bed bugs in used furniture
- Wash and dry all clothing on hot settings and store clothes in sealed plastic bags to kill any bed bugs
Signs of Bed Bugs
Since bed bugs can hide just about anywhere, it can be hard to spot them with the naked eye. Bed bugs tend to come out at night, and they are normally found in furniture such as couches and bedding. Some of the signs you have bed bugs include:
- Dark brown or red spots on bedding or furniture
- Bites on your skin that could welt and itch
- Eggs and egg shells
Apartments and Bed Bugs
Prior to signing a rental agreement, tenants need to ask landlords about bed bugs. Who will pay for bed bug treatment? Was there a past bed bug infestation? Do tenants need to inform landlords they have previously had bed bugs in their former apartment? Honesty is the best method any time it comes to bed bug issues. Landlords should disclose any former issues in the building, and must be clear about who will pay for bed bug eradication if there is an issue.
If bed bugs are found in a unit in Pennsylvania, tenants must inform the landlord immediately. Once a landlord is notified, they will contact a pest control company to come and start treatment for bed bugs. It is best to leave bed bug treatment to the professionals as they have the right tools, training, and treatments to eradicate bed bugs. Bed bug treatment normally involves two treatments over the course of two or three weeks.
While professional treatment is important, tenants can do other things to limit the problem with bed bugs. Start by cleaning the apartment to remove clutter as they can hide in clutter. Vacuum and clean frequently, and remove any bedding and clothing that was infected and wash it on hot water settings and hot heat settings to kill any bed bugs and their eggs. Many people even seal their clothing in plastic bags and leave them in direct sunlight for several days to ensure all bed bugs have been killed.
Who is Responsible for Exterminating? According to North Penn Legal, “In Pennsylvania, the warranty of habitability is implied by law into every residential lease.” What this means is landlords are required to provide a safe, sanitary unit for tenants. Main Line Keyrenter Property Management focuses on providing safe, clean environments for our tenants. If you need a property management company to assist with your needs, give us a call today!