Suspect bed bugs are in your apartment? Here’s what you should do.


Bed bug problems are common in apartment communities as well as in public gathering spots like movie theatres and hotels. It’s important for tenants to understand where these insects come from, how to identify them, and what it takes to eliminate them from apartments.

What are they?

Bed bugs are tiny insects that live by feeding on human blood. They are secretive, hiding in cracks and crevices during the day, and coming out at night to feed. The bite of the bed bug is painless and may or may not leave a red mark or itchiness.

How would I know if they are in my apartment?

Because of their small size and painless bite, bed bugs may initially go unnoticed. If you notice that you are waking up with itchy welts, see tiny red spots on bedding, or think you have seen the bugs, you may have a problem. Bed bugs do not have nests, but will congregate in choice hiding places. These areas may be marked by tiny dark spots and stains, and may have a sweetish odor.

(This is a great beginners resource to understanding bed bugs.)

How they get in to an apartment?

Bed bugs enter an apartment via luggage that has become infested from a hotel or hostel. In apartment complexes, it is probably more common for bed bugs to enter a home from a nearby infested apartment, during moving, or through picking up used or recycled furniture or mattresses. Once introduced into an apartment building, bed bugs can readily spread from one unit to another.

What should you do if you suspect an infestation in your apartment?

Take a picture of evidence of their existence and inform your apartment manager immediately so they can assess the situation and get working on eradicating them.

How to get rid of them?

Your building manager will get the apartment inspected from the pest control team. The treatment consists of a thorough inspection followed by vacuuming and chemical treatments of all detected spots. Treatment is labor intensive and may take several hours per apartment. It will also probably require several visits and treatments to permanently eradicate a bed bug problem.

Professional services are a requirement – to do the job right!


What are your responsibilities?

As a tenant, your first responsibility is to report any suspected bed bug problem immediately. Once an appointment is made for your treatment prepare your apartment according to instructions given to you by your resident manager. Get your apartment ready by bagging your clothing and personal items before pest control arrives. The following tips will help the pest control team get rid of bed bugs quickly:

  • Don’t move any of your things to another apartment during or before the treatment. You might end up spreading bed bugs to the other apartments.
  • Pick up and double bag all loose items in you apartment.
  • Clothing that may be infested should be double-bagged prior to treating the room, and dis-infested before returning them to the room.
  • Put away all food in the kitchen and dining areas, and cover tables, counters, etc. to protect from contamination.
  • Always buy a good quality, bug-proof mattress encasement.  Encasements are special sacks that fit over a mattress or box spring–usually to reduce allergens.
  • Vacuum couches, chairs and recliners thoroughly before pest control service.
  • Don’t forget to empty drawers in nightstands and dressers next to beds prior to treatment. This will make it easier for the pest control team to inspect and treat these furniture items.

Once established, bed bugs can be difficult to eliminate, especially without your assistance. Cooperate with management and pest control professionals so they can get the job done.

Mainstreet Equity Corp. is a publicly traded (TSX: MEQ) residential real estate company in Canada. Mainstreet currently owns and operates properties in Surrey, BC; New Westminster, BC; Abbotsford, BC; Calgary, AB; Cochrane, AB; Lethbridge, AB; Edmonton, AB; Fort Saskatchewan, AB; and Saskatoon, SK.

Mainstreet provides affordable, renovated apartment suites to Canadians, and is committed to creating real value without diluting shareholder interests.

About the Author
Ravinder Bhatti

Ravinder is responsible for all initiatives and issues relating to Human Resources at Mainstreet.

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