Landlord Nightmare: Bedbugs in an Apartment

1280px-Bed_bug,_Cimex_lectularius-PDNo issue scares a landlord more than bedbugs in an apartment.  OK, maybe crime, evictions, vacancy, insurance and taxes come first, but bedbugs and other pest issues are a serious matter in a rental.  When you have bedbugs in your apartment, you need to act on it and get rid of them as fast as you can.

Disclaimer: I am not a pest control professional.  I am a landlord that has dealt with bedbugs.  I know how to get rid of them.  If there is anything in this article that is illegal, I did not do it.

The first thing you need to do with bedbugs is understand the problem.  What unit are they in?  Are they in adjacent units too?  Do the tenants have a lot of clutter?  And you should then proceed to get rid of them.  You need to strategize, and have a take no prisoners approach.  If you are worried about the insecticides, call a professional.

Bedbugs are generally a low quality tenant issue.  They can happen to anyone, but getting rid of them in a higher income unit is easier.  Generally, higher income people do not have bedbugs, and their friends’ homes that they visit do not either.  They do not buy mattresses at the corner mattress market that stores old mattresses in the back room alongside the new mattresses.  They do not pick up old mattresses on the curb that are being thrown out (probably because of bedbugs).  They do not have bags of clothes stacked to the ceiling in the closet.

If your tenant has clutter, which is common in a low income rental, you will have a hard time getting rid of the bedbugs.  If you have a tenant with clutter, understand you will likely have to get rid of the tenant before your problem will be 100% resolved.

I do not care what kind of ‘Pest Addendum” you have, in a multifamily unit, it is your expense to get rid of them.  You can attempt to charge the tenant, but in reality, you do not know where the bugs came from.  They could have come from the common laundry area, an adjoining unit, friends of the neighbors, etc.  It is impossible to pinpoint the source of the bedbugs.

 Manual Removal

It is easy to kill a bedbug.   If you see it, you can step on it.  You can squish it with your thumb.  You can spray them with almost any bug spray, and they will die.  And you know where the bugs will eventually go to; the bed where people are sleeping.

If you sat on a bed, with an ice pick, sooner or later every bedbug will come up to say hello and bite you.  They must eat, and they eat human blood.  You could stab each one with that ice pick as they got close.   That is, if you can see them.

But fear not, they must feed five times before they can breed, and by that time, they are easy to spot.  Be patient on that bed, it will only be a few months, a year at best.  They are about the size of a wood tick when they are full grown, but much faster.

Sitting on the bed, with an ice pick, is not an option for most people, and you might get a look like you are crazy by your family members.

Other options are heat, which is expensive, and might not work.  It may damage some items in your apartment because your entire apartment would be heated to ~130 degrees.  Everything gets hot, except the small deep crevasse (or the apartment next door) where the bedbugs went to hide. And there will be places for them to get to.  Heat is also very expensive.

There are also bedbug dogs, but that is only a detection method.  Bedbug traps get some, but not all.  They too, are more of a detector, not a destroyer of bedbugs.  So you have to go to plan A, insecticides.

 What to do with the Tenants

If you have tenants in the unit, you will have a different approach than if you are vacant.  If your tenants have clutter, you want to start the bedbug extermination just before you give them notice to move.  Moving them out will be your only way to be 100% bedbug free.  Understand that every time they do wash, or walk through the hallways, they may be spreading the bedbugs to other units, so do not waste time.

I highly recommend if there is significant clutter, give your tenant notice to vacate, so you can be rid of the issue.  But do not wait, start to reduce the population immediately.

If your tenant is going to stay, have them buy bedbug mattress covers.  Make sure they wash all the clothes that they have.   Wash all of the bedding.  Wash, or at a minimum, put all of the stuffed animals in the dryer.  If you have coin operated machines, your tenants will not want to spend that much money.  If they do, they will pack the washing machines so full, some of the clothes do not even get wet.  Therefore washing everything will not be effective.

With tenants in the unit, you want the bugs to stay put, and die.  You do not want to chase them to a different unit. A bedbug fogger will chase the bugs away; it will not kill them as well as you want.  Some will die, and you will feel good, but other bedbugs will linger behind, afraid to come into the poisoned area.  They will detect the poison and stay in their hiding place until it is safe to come outside.

You need a pesticide that has a long residual effect.  You need a pesticide that is non-detectable by the bedbug.  You need a pesticide that the bedbug does not have a resistance to.  And you need the bait or feeding source to stay put until the poison gets to the bedbugs.  The bait is your tenant.

 Bedbug Insecticide Strategies

One of the best poisons for bedbugs is a chemical called Chlorfenapyr, which is the active ingredient in Phantom.  Phantom is made by BASF.  It meets all the basics.  In tests that I have read, they sprayed Phantom on a surface, let it dry, and walked a bedbug across the surface.  The bedbug died but it took 10 days for a near 100% kill.  Doing it again, on the same surface four months later, the bedbugs died in 10 days again.

So Phantom works, but it takes time.  As long as your tenants are in the unit, this insecticide is the one to use.  That’s why you want to start with this spray.  The bugs will not migrate to the next unit, as long as they have food in this unit.  And they won’t hide, as they cannot detect Phantom.  And they are not resistant to it.

Phantom also kills all sorts of other bugs.  Cracks, crevices, baseboards, bed frames, the back of headboards, box springs, outlets, etc. are all great places to spray.  Move stuff around, or take it apart, and spray.  Spray it under the sinks to kill roaches while you are there, odds are if they have bedbugs, they have roaches too.

The bedbugs are going to be close to the bed; studies have shown that 85% – 90% of bedbugs are found within fifteen feet of the bedding. The closer to the bed, the more likely it is the place the bedbugs will go to.  Look to the closest places first, headboards, bed frames, mattresses and box springs.  Bedbugs are lazy; after they eat, they look for close place to take a nap.  They don’t remember where the slept yesterday, so each day they might be in a different cozy spot.  If your tenants are not moving out, Phantom is the only insecticide that you will need.  You can also use an insecticide dust, but Phantom will do the job.

One strategy that works is to give your tenant a 2-gallon sprayer full of Phantom.  They will be able to spray all sorts of places that you might not be able to.  They can spray new places every day.  Fill it up when they empty it.  I had tenants spray about 10 gallon of spray over the course of a few weeks.  They really wanted to get rid of the bugs.  That is about 40x the recommended amount, but it worked.

After the Tenants are Moved Out

Once the tenants have moved out, like 2 minutes after the door closes, get a fast acting insecticide like Temprid.   You want a product that will not let the bedbugs out of the apartment once they touch it.  You want a long residual life; Temprid lasts 90 days indoors.  Even if the bedbugs can detect the spray, it’s OK.  You want to contain them.  When they eventually come out, looking for food, you want a fast kill; you do not want hungry bedbugs looking for an easy meal in the next apartment.  You want them to die, as soon as they come out from hiding.  If your tenants are gone, spray the walls, ceilings, carpet, everything.

If you have worn out carpet, now is the time to replace it.  You sprayed the top of the carpet as soon as the tenants have vacated, now spray the floor again after the carpet is removed, especially the edges and tack strips.  Caulk the top of the baseboard.  Caulk where the window, and door trim meet the wall, to eliminate hiding places.  It will also look better.  Remove the outlet and switch covers, and spray inside the electrical boxes.  Spray the window trim.  You need to make sure that is a bedbug comes out of hiding a month later; it will cross a line of insecticide.

Once you have done that, you should have your problem contained.  Have a follow up treatment with Temprid in ~4 weeks, if you are still vacant.

To Summarize

  • Bedbugs are easy to kill, but hard to find
  • Start early before the bedbug spread
  • Use a long lasting residual product, like Phantom, when the tenants are in the building
  • Once the tenants have moved out, spray a faster kill spray but long lasting, like Temprid
  • Call in a professional if you have to, but know it will be expensive


Have you ever had to get rid of bedbugs?  What was your strategy?

81 Replies to “Landlord Nightmare: Bedbugs in an Apartment”

  1. It grosses me out just thinking about bedbugs….glad I don’t have to carry those mattresses out. And to me bedbugs would probably be the absolute worst part of having rentals.

    One of my grandma’s rental houses got bed bugs and it took them FOREVER to get rid of them. Although I’m sure it probably had something to do with the tenants. My grandma probably spent thousands of dollars on professional treatment but each month the tenants say they were back.

    1. Thank you for the comment!

      They are gross, but better than a cockroach, if that helps. It will always be better to get rid of the tenant, then tackle the bugs. Or the bugs will always be back. Of course, that means the bugs go somewhere else.

      Phantom take a big bit out of the population, but it is still hard to get the last one, unless you can spray every crevice and space.

  2. You make it way too hard and it is no wonder so many get sued.

    I am still amazed that property management, owners and landlords has no clue yet.

    You need to put together a Layered Defense Strategy before you rent to anyone. If more would do this- the bed bug populations would start to decline in multi-unit properties.

    Spraying chemicals is not the answer.

    1. Thank you for the comment!

      Unfortunately, chemicals are the answer once you have bedbugs. All of the other ‘solutions’, like oils, diatomaceous earth, etc. are a second class solution to a solid, proven insecticide. If there was a better method, it would be promoted by all of the health departments in all of the major cities.

      In the ‘old’ days, DDT was the answer. It lasted a long time, and was one of the best insecticides for bedbugs that there ever was. It also worked for mosquitoes and prevented millions from dying from malaria. Unfortunately the DDT hoaxers got it banned.

      What is your definition of a layered defense strategy? Mine is avoiding a low quality renter that cannot afford my apartments, and avoiding a low credit score renter, and moving a renter out once they have bedbugs. Then, hitting the bedbugs with a powerful insecticide that lasts a long time.

      I see you sell a book on this so called “layered defense strategy”, so I am sure you want to promote your book on my site. Unfortunately, your hocus-pocus methods will not work.

      1. I am not here to promote anything or sell you anything and I do not have a book called “Layered Defense Strategy”.

        I just found the article interesting seeing that people are giving such advise to others and that is one of the reason why bed bugs continue to spread.

        Being a landlord myself and an expert at educating people about bed bugs I work with many multi-unit properties and the hospitality industry.

        Bed bugs have built up a “resistance” to most of the chemicals we use today and most don’t know how to use them correctly anyway.

        It’s what a landlord does with their buildings and units before a tenant moves in that makes all the difference in the world.

        And “depending” upon how long your tenant has hidden the fact that they have bed bugs from you – they may have already spread and you wouldn’t even know it.

        Best of luck to you!

        1. Thank you Denise. You do have a book that is listed on Amazon, eleven(11) actually. If you want to talk about affiliate income, I would be willing to discuss. Or feel free to send me a copy of your book(s), and I will write a review on it and post the review on my blog.

          You are correct; pesticide resistance is a problem with Bedbugs. That is why Phantom is so effective. But not all bedbugs are resistant to all chemicals. And most tenants that bring in bedbugs do not let the landlord know right away. They try their own methods first, which may help but not eliminate the bugs. Or it may make it worse.

          With low quality renters, many just assume that is the way of life that they live. So I avoid them and I have fewer issues all around.

          As far as prevention, I already caulk around my baseboard and window trim. Not because of bedbugs, but because it gives the apartment a more ‘polished’ look. Renting to a better quality renter saves not only bedbug issues, but many other issues. When bedbugs happen, getting rid of the renter is the most cost effective solution.

          1. Drop me a line directly at with your direct email and phone number. I would like to have a short conversation to let you know how we help. Or you can call me at 888-966-2332 or 888-9-NOBEDBUGS
            I’ve had a bed bug crisis hotline for the past 5 years in which I speak to 4 to 500 hundred landlords, tenants and property management people a month. I am here to help in any way that I can!

          2. Eric,

            Thanks for the article! If you do end up following up with Denise and/or review her material, please post reviews on your blog.


          3. I have read some of the comments you have made about low income renters. I am a low income renter, even tho I work to jobs, and have never had bed bugs in my entire life. I have found a few in my apartment due to the Landlord being a slum lord. Therefore I take your comments about low income renters personally and as discrimination. therefore I would think twice before saying or being discriminating towards low-income renters. Bed bugs come in all different ways…i.e… boxes, paper bags, animals and so on.

          4. Thank you for the comment!

            If you have never had bedbugs, why do you say you have them now? It is definitely low income habits that create an environment for them. Somehow the your ‘slumlord’ brought them in? Who was living there before, a rich person who left them there?

            I am glad you are working two jobs, however I would encourage you to join the military, like I did. Perhaps you would have a better life and feel good about helping out your own country. Help pull the wagon, instead of constantly riding in it. The military might help you learn the discipline that it takes to achieve far more success in life than you have now.

            Far too many people complain about being low income, yet they do not feel that the Military is worthy of them. Here it is on Memorial day, and veterans like myself have sacrificed for your ability to live in freedom. We may die for you on the battlefield, wherever it is, but we will not come and kill the bedbugs for you. That is your own responsibility.

          1. I am a building manager for a small apartment complex and i am low income. I saw where you had told another low incom ed person working 2 jobs that hd should join the military and change his life. I am a veteran and i am disabled. So i am low income. The tennants at the apapartments i am building manager for are not necessarily low income but we make our apartments affordable. Our unoys are all nice. We have a few problems from time to time with bed bugs and we take care of it asap. It is usualy from some one visiting some place else thst has them. Then unknowingly they are brought here. Bed bugs dont care how much money you make. They can be picked up from hotels/motels and,anywhere people are. If you go into a building infested with bedbugs they can get on you and you will bring them home with you. We have great people living here who pay the rent on time,dont cause problems and keep the apartments clean and nice. If one of them visit a friends house who has bed bugs the will get them. People that have bed bugs wont tell you they do so unless you see them you will mever know.

          2. Thank you for reading!

            As a disabled Vet myself, I thank you for your service.

            You are 100% correct, Bed bugs do not care about income, they care about habits. If you have low income, high-risk habits, and do things like pickup furniture in the street, visiting other people with bed bugs, staying in motels that generally use low-income labor, staying in any low cost motels that people with bed bugs might temporarily stay, have a lot of clutter in your residence, etc. you will have a higher chance of getting bed bugs.

        1. Diane,

          That all goes to show how terribly ignorant you really are and how little you know. I run into many people with your intelligence level. Before you go throwing smack around about anyone I would check myself.

          I am not an attorney nor am I as you say 2 bit.

          Furthermore I am not out to make a buck off anyone. To the contrary. I developed this organization and have written books to help people best understand bed bugs so that they do not get sued. The profit .65 cents from the books goes into the 501 (3) c to help people.

          I deal with anywhere between 4- 500 people that call our hotline monthly.

          Both landlords, property management groups and tenants.

          We are actually helping a rather “expensive” condo group in Manhattan right now. Some of the units are worth several million dollars.

          Oh and did I tell you I don’t charge people??

          A rather wealthy owner/resident has hidden the fact they have bed bugs because they are hoarders and didn’t want anyone coming into their unit. Now because of this, the bed bug have spread to three floors affecting many people’s condos. This is going to cost close to seventy thousand dollars to the HOA by the time they are done.

          Had, they the Layered Defense Strategy IN PLACE this would have NEVER happened.

          We’re here to help!

        2. I just found out Two neighbors have them in a condo l rent, below me l knew a year ago when one moved in that was trouble someway, pull up in a old trailer with old furniture, etc . I knew l been here 4 yrs I just got my lovely new furniture fireplace etc, beds , l called management they screamed at me, my sister been in management property 18 yrs, she talk to them and told them they should be right on this, however l have not seen one in my unit, but both 2 units admitted and told me they have them, l am not in same criteria is them, one running a daycare, other About 12 people where at one time living there, l have a very nice unit l invested some own money to upgrade rasing my granddaughter don’t have alot money. But very very clean, management here awful , now if and if l get nor have, l can’t buy more new furniture, took my life savings, I’m 55 I’m a very clean good person, what are my options towards management to replace my furniture, l have all receipts just paid, l am in a nervous wreck, cant sleep, eat, please help me

          1. This just happen a week ago l learn from two guys down stairs told me they have bedbugs they moving out, Nov 1, but ldont know where l stand, l had management come spray after fighting with them 3 days, my other neibor lady runs a daycare, not licence, but l can’t take this how l am treated by owner management l did not bring those nasty bugs, and the guys said they had now 6 months, l just found this out , lm so angry my new furniture so if l have l have to throw my furniture out??? Please some one help me

    2. Please twll me the answer…i live in Hud apartments. 12 floors 12 units on each floor and there is a horrible infestation here because people are too embarrassed or too stupid to know or tell management they have them.. thankfully i haven’t gotten them…i do not let anyone in my apartment and do not go in theirs…and when management finds out..they heat treat and tarp and tape off the apartment they are heat treating and usually do it a few times.. but i am scared to death to get them…not something i want to deal with. Just nasty.. Everytime I got a mosquito bite this summer i freaked out..made myself crazy checking for them.. thankfully they were juat mosquito bites but worried if they dont get it under control…i will get these nasty critter’s…ugh help. How to prevent them and how to get the entire place eradicated from them..i will gladly take your advice to my manager

      1. Thank you for reading!

        In a large building, it is near impossible to vacate all the units to clear out the bedbugs. It would be cost prohibitive. Clearing out the bugs, without chemicals, will only clear them out for that time snapshot. They can come back, and start again. With chemicals, the ones that come back are killed from the residual effect of the poison.

        I would think about moving out, if I were you. If you are trapped there, due to rent control or income issues, that is an incentive to do what it takes to get out of there.

        I stayed in a cheap motel this summer for a night. After that, every time I got a mosquito bite, I felt the same as you. I did not have a problem with bedbugs, but when you scratch, that is sometimes the first thing you think of.

  3. Great post and great advice. I know when I was looking for apartments to move into, I avoided ones that had reviews that said there was a bed bug outbreak. Not only a bad issue for landlords, but also for tenants who end up with them because of OTHER tenants.

  4. Wow, I’m glad I haven’t had my breakfast yet. 😉 We’ve never dealt with bedbugs when we rented, but we dealt with roaches quite a bit…especially in our first rental after just getting married. We found out how they were getting in – it was through our neighbor as their apartment was absolutely filthy. The landlord tried to charge us and I fought it so he ended up covering it. After we moved out, we found a bunch of roach eggs that seemed to be dead due to some spraying in the corner of our pantry. Boy were we glad to be moving out. 🙂

  5. Do you have any clauses in your lease that allow you to remove a tenant for pest problems? I know that may be a problematic clause. I ask this since some tenants may not be cooperative with pest removal.

    1. Thank you for the comment and question!

      I do not have a clause. I would wait for the lease to expire, then get the tenants out. Spray as much phantom as you can, while they are in. When they leave, leave the unit vacant while you spray and clean/replace carpets.

      I timed a major remodel for one unit I forced a tenant out. That way, you get more time for the bugs to either die, or come out of hiding looking for food.

    2. Having set a protocol, policy and procedures up front along with your Bed Bug Addendum can allow you to remove those tenants that do not comply with these policies or are negligent.

      You can not leave it up to chance that a tenant is going to tell you that they have bed bugs so it is up to you as the landlord to set the seen before you encounter problems.
      Waiting is not a game you want to play when it comes to bed bugs.

      The earlier you acknowledge them and treat for them the better off. Remember, if bed bugs are allowed to remain for 90-120 days, it is then that they start to grow exponentially and wind up spreading to other units. Then your cost of remediation becomes in some cases unbearable and severely affects your ROI.

      Educate every tenant, residing and new and give them the rules up front along with paperwork to fill out should they “suspect” a bed bug. Address the situation immediately and have quarterly inspections.

      I am here to help!


  6. I am here to give you all an update on chemicals and bed bugs. Please find an article on studies done at Kentucky University regarding bed bugs and chemicals.

    I post on a daily basis – anything new within the bed bug industry. As time marches on we work on finding the best ways to handle bed bug situations as well as show people what isn’t the best solutions to keep them safe.

    You can visit here as well

      1. So far – so good with Phantom

        Here’s some info on Phantom from quite a while back:

        Alvaro Romero is a doctoral student at the University of Kentucky

        New York vs. Bed Bugs: You’ve also tested a non-pyrethroid currently in use against bed bugs, what have you found?

        Alvaro Romero: We have tested chlorfenapyr, the active ingredient of “Phantom,” and although it is effective against all strains tested so far, its killing action is relatively slow.

        Bed bugs also generally need to rest on treated surfaces for longer periods of time compared to what is required with pyrethroid-type insecticides.

  7. This is a study that lists products in order of efficacy.
    I’m not sure of the date of publication, but I don’t think it’s new.
    Phantom doesn’t fare well here.
    Laboratory evaluations of insecticide product efficacy for control of Cimex lectularius
    Author(s) MOORE David J. (1); MILLER Dini M. (1);
    (1) Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, ETATS-UNIS
    Résumé / Abstract
    A susceptible, laboratory strain of bed bug, Cimex lectularius L., was used to determine the efficacy of insecticide products labeled or possessing a site label for bed bug control. Field strain bed bugs also were used to evaluate one insecticide product. The lethal time (LT)50 values calculated for the laboratory strain bed bugs indicated that all of the pyrethroid products killed significantly faster than chlorfenapyr (0.5% [AI]; Phantom: BASF; LT50 = 10 d and 9 h). A-Cyhalothrin (0.03%; Demand CS; Syngenta) was the fastest acting insecticide (LT50 = 20 min), followed by bifenthrin (0.02% [AI]; Talstar One, FMC; LT50 = 53 min), deltamethrin (0.06% [AI]; Suspend SC; Bayer; LT50 = 61 min), and permethrin (0.05%; Dragnet SFR; FMC; LT50 = 88 min). The field strain bed bugs exposed to deltamethrin had an LT50 value of 14 day 8 h, indicating that the field strain was significantly less susceptible to deltamethrin than the laboratory strain. Chlorfenapyr exposure did not prevent the laboratory strain bed bugs from mating and laying eggs, nor did it prevent the eggs from hatching during the 2-wk exposure period.
    Surprisingly, none of the insecticides tested, including the pyrethroids, were repellent to laboratory strain bed bugs. Bed bugs rested on pyrethroid-treated panels and remained in contact with the panels until they died (2 h).
    Chlorfenapyr was also not repellent to bed bugs, but it caused no mortality during the 2-h test period. This study suggests that although pyrethroids were effective for controlling laboratory strain bed bugs, there is the potential for significant resistance in field strains. This study also determined that pyrethroid products were not repellent to bed bugs and would not cause bed bug aggregations to scatter or avoid treated surfaces.
    To buy the studies go to
    The study had a 2-hour test period and Phantom (a.i. Chlorfenapyr) doesn’t kill within 2 hours. It’s a metabolic inhibitor that can take 10-17 days to kill the insect. It wasn’t suspected by many that Phantom prevented the insects from mating.
    Papers like this are why I caution non-scientists from taking a lot away from them until you check with someone who’s qualified to evaluate the study. This study was most likely intended to evaluate the knock-down effect of the pesticides and Phantom isn’t a knock-down pesticide.
    To answer the original question, Phantom has a 28 day retreatment interval and by label, shouldn’t be applied any more frequently.

  8. This is great information – thanks for putting this together! I think bed bugs are one of those big “scare factors” that a lot of people use to justify their lack of involvement with rental properties (which is kind of like throwing out the baby with the bath water). It’s good to read about a viable solution to the problem.

    1. Thanks for the comment!

      There are a lot of issues in landlording, but bedbugs are not the worst. They are easy to kill, if you can find them. They are easy to find in am empty apartment.

  9. It is absurd you are putting the blame solely on tenants. To top it off, you are claiming bed bugs are directly related to low income households. This could not be farther from the truth. I am a nurse anesthetist making over $130,000 a year and got bed bugs. During my residency we moved into an apartment that had bed bugs from the previous tenants. One of the biggest problems is landlords thinking they can spray some Raid once or twice, slap some paint on the walls, and the bed bugs will magically disappear before the new tenants move in. Landlords rent the units out KNOWING they are already infested! I was out to dinner at a very nice restaurant and found a bed bug on the menu. Some of the nicest hotels in the world have bed bugs. They do not care how much money you make. Your post is composed of a lot of half-truths and assumptions. Just wait until you bring a couple home on your shoe, might change your perspective.

    1. Thank you for the comment!

      Yes, they can happen to all income levels, but more likely lower income tenants. Where do you think the previous tenants picked them up? Habits such as buying used furniture or getting free items left at the curb are a problem in spreading bedbugs. Clutter makes it difficult to get rid of them.

      Once again, all income levels can get bedbugs, but they are more likely to be present in lower income households. And harder to get rid of in a cluttered area. high density living quarters makes it very difficult.

      1. Where are the studies showing that lower income people are more likely to have bed bugs? Airports and hotels are huge sources of bed bugs — my friends have seen them in Marriotts and the like on business trips. You offer no evidence and think that simply due to your higher status in the world you’re correct, and those filthy low-income people are the main problem. It would behoove you to check your bigoted attitude.

        1. Thank you for the comment!

          While there is probably no evidence published about income and bedbugs, it is pretty intuitive. All the places you mention have many lower-income workers. Bedbugs ride on peoples clothes.

          Low income habits, such as picking up used furniture on the street, are prime facilitators of bedbugs. So is visiting anyone who does that.

          Clutter is another way to keep bedbugs, as the bugs are near impossible to get rid of in a cluttered apartment. Crowding more people in a smaller apartment and house than it was designed for contributes to clutter. A cluttered home is more prevalent in lower income than upper income.

          It has really nothing to do with income, but it does have to do with low income habits. Keep away from people that pick up used furniture, stay out of people homes that have clutter, and you are a long way to avoiding bed bugs.

        2. I can not tell you how wrong you are and standing by a statement like that will ultimately find you not liked by many. You may be no non-sense but you have no common sense.
          As an expert in bed bug education I do suggest that when it comes to bed bugs, this is an arena that you should stay out of. Some of the comments you make are so off the charts its as if you are reading “stuff” on the Internet.
          Being a landlord with the sense that you have when it comes to dealing with bed bugs can be dangerous to those who follow your suggestions.
          BTW, it was five star hotels that first started to get bed bugs that have proliferated into all other areas.
          If landlords are smart, they put an proactive protocol in place BEFORE they rent to anyone. This does not entail trying to hold anyone at blame. It is a cohesive action plan that has everyone on the same wave length so that “when” the occasion should occur – all are doing what is needed so the bed bugs do not become “infestations”. It is so simple that it is beyond me that more don’t understand it.
          We work with many HUD facilities which accompany very low incomes, disabilities and mental problems with great success. Don’t think that because one has low income that they are not affected just the same as if someone had money.
          If you are ready to learn the truths about bed bugs and social aspects of them, please reach out for a training.
          We are here to help!

          1. Thank you for the comment Denise!

            If you are saying picking up furniture off the curb, is not a risky behavior for picking up bedbugs, I disagree.
            If you are saying visiting a home of someone that picks up furniture off the curb, is not a risky behavior for picking up bedbugs, I disagree.
            If you are saying higher income pick up just as much furniture off the curb as lower income people, I disagree.

            If you are saying living in a cluttered apartment and getting bedbugs does not make it harder to get rid of them, I disagree.
            If you are saying higher income live in in more cluttered apartments than lower income people, I disagree.

            If you are saying the customers of a high-priced hotel have a higher chance of bringing in bedbugs into a hotel, rather than the lower paid help, I disagree.

            I agree that bedbugs impact everyone who has them equally, but it is far more common to get them in a lower income setting than a higher income setting. It’s just the way it is.

  10. You say to get rid of renter but what if u have moved in and land lord goes to u oh by they way there is bed bugs and cockroaches in building so what do u do when landlord wont help the board is in denil and so on

  11. You are completely misinformed about how people get bed bugs. It is not a low income or a filthy apartment issue. They can travel or migrate to a unit. A businessman can stay at a five star hotel and they can catch a ride on his luggage and infest his two thousand dollar mattress at home. You can live in an upper class neighborhood and still have bed bugs. More than likely the landlord kept quite and did not warn the other tenants to try to avoid paying for extermination in multiple units. If you think for one second that renting to only a certain demographic is going to prevent bed bugs think again. Bed bugs do not discriminate. Landlords should inform tenants of issues instead of being secretive and telling them not to tell any one or waiting a week to exterminate. With all the PREJUDICE surrounding bed bugs, I can understand why people do not disclose when they have them. Probably the wealthier tenant afraid of being ostricized, moves out leaving the lower income tenant holding the bag. Low income is not a synonum for low class, filthy, nasty, or hoarder. Who would ever think bed bugs are the standard of living? You need to educate yourself on the subject before spreading lies. Do your research learn the facts than write a blog to benefit everyone not to discriminate against low income renters.

    1. Thank you for the comment!

      You are correct. Bed bugs do not discriminate. And neither do cockroaches. Unfortunately, low income habits, such as picking up used furniture and mattresses on the curbside is a low income habit. Low income habits spread bed bugs. People visiting households that pick up curbside mattresses are also likely to be low income households and can being them back home.

      Clutter is another factor for bedbugs. Low income people are generally living in a higher density apartment, and have more ‘stuff’, which means more places for the bed bugs to hide. That makes them difficult to get rid of. The wealthier tenants will call their own exterminator, very early on, rater then wait. The lower income tenant cannot afford it, and they try home made remedies that make it worse. They have a difficult enough time paying rent, let alone an exterminator.

      I stand by my statement.

    2. Shema,

      I am so sorry you are being labeled please don’t take him serious. He’s just ignorant.

      Your right, it isn’t about rich or poor, clean or dirty. They are parasites which love blood and by the recent statistics I believe that accounts for 7 billion people world wide.

      We have heard just about every story possible about bed bugs throughout the years and it included very wealthy people, blue color as well as lower income.

      I even have a friend that owns a rather large wall street corporation and lives in a ten thousand square foot house who does a lot of picking up extras at local thrift stores. She told me she always finds “gems” that people throw out there. She found a signed painting from the 1800’s which was worth thousands of dollars.

      One of the biggest problems we are having is landlords doing self-treatments and “thinking” they got them all. When a new resident moves in they are now riddled with an existing bed bug problem that the landlord never told them about. It is happening all over the US.

      I just got a call from a woman in Oregon that moved into an apartment 6 weeks ago. She and her son have been getting bitten since the second day they moved in.

      It is obvious that the previous tenant had a problem/ or maybe they never told the landlord/or maybe the landlord did a self treatment and “thought” the bugs were gone. All different scenarios.

      God Bless and keep up the good information and defending those who fall victim to bed bugs whether they be rich or poor!


      1. Thank you for the comment Denise. Unfortunately, most pests are a lower income habit problem. While they can affect anyone, it is MUCH more likely to be in a place where people bring home used furniture or visit people that do. That includes bedbugs, roaches and ants. Leaving food out brings roaches and ants. I had a social worker for my tenants that had bedbugs that would not even come and visit them until the place was certified clear.

        I would have no problem offering a service to tenant that wants to bring in a dog or pest control company, at their own expense. Unfortunately, doing a pre or post tenant bedbug inspection is not cost effective. And it would not stop the tenant from bringing in used furniture and getting bedbugs after the fact.

        I would rather just avoid tenants altogether that have those types of habits. I like tenants that can afford to pay rent easily, and have solid credit scores.

  12. Eric, this blog article hits home right now! I like to call myself a single mother of a 3-family house in East Boston, MA. Bought it Nov 2004, redid 2/3 of it, and ‘touched up’ one floor’s existing renovations. Had turbulence with a tenant once (and an eviction), but now I’ve arrived at…. what I consider to be a Landlord’s worst nightmare – Bedbugs! BC I live IN the building I was fortunate enough to pick up on some odd behaviors. June of this summer – about 2 months ago – one of my tenants was walking back INTO the building with his mattress. Me and my neighbor saw him marching in and I said “Gary, why are you bringing your mattress in from outside?” – I’m pretty sure it was his mattress, bc I could see he had sheets on it, etc. “Oh, just Cleaning…” Gary said. Are you sure? I asked him. Have you seen any Bugs?, I queried. Oh no no – just cleaning he repeated. OK – here’s the deal. The convenience store employees are from India. I let them come on board two years ago and it was only go to be two of them. The apt is a 2 bedroom with 1 large and 1 “kid/office” BR. It has a living Room. So that’s why 2 turned into 3 people. So I said I have to charge more. Then it crept to 4 (without anyone asking) and I said Hey whoa, wait a minute – that’s going to be 100 more, and that’s enough people. Then this past Winter – I hear a WOMAN’S voice – up till then it was only 4 guys. Now only bc I LIVE in the building was I keen on their “growth”. They are CLASSIC ‘low income behavior’ tenants if you want to call them that. I have felt uneasy about their presence, but only bc they are such hard workers and the new wife is such a sweet woman was I tolerating this. I should have used good common sense this past spring and said “you’re done”. After the mattress moment with Gary I asked the tenants repeatedly – have you had any issues with bugs? Anything? Each time – “No, No, everything’s fine.” Called the Exterminator to have him look. Sure enough – buggers! The worst part – it’s coming out now from 3 of them that they did KNOW all Summer they had a problem. And tried to ‘handle’ it on their own and/or hide it. The owner of the store pays their rent. I hold him responsible as well as them. They are dear people and very hard workers but they are clearly a danger to my property and sanity. I have had at least 3 sleepless nights worrying I will have a bedbug on the 2nd floor (they live on the first floor) or worse yet, in my 3rd floor unit where I live. This is like a horror movie! I’m giving them 2 weeks notice – yes not legit I know – but they have endangered my home and behaved in a way that’s reckless and completely disregarding of the tenants who live above them, as well as my property. Shame on them. I may not get them out by Sep 1st, but boy will I try! Exterminator did Treatment yesterday. I dont recall seeing ‘Phantom’ on the list, but there were similar names like that. I will check.

    Next Steps = 2nd treatment 2 weeks from now ( Exterminator recommends), an once they are out, I’m tempted to do heat treatment.

    Your thoughts? As far as the debate goes on “low income” versus high. It’s not about income – it’s about “Behavior” which you could classify as “Class” if you want to be class-ist. Poor people are often ‘stuck’ in oppressive living situations – and cant always join the army 😉 However, I’ll bet there are college kids with money who treat their apts like a flophouse, mattresses on floor, etc and some of these “preppy” types give their parents heart attacks when they call home to say “I got bed bugs”, or worse yet – bring them home to mom and dad’s house in the suburbs!

    1. Thank you for reading!

      It is not about income, but is about behavior. Far too often, lower income people have the same poor behaviors, maybe it is due to not having enough income? Often, people that live in countries where many people have bedbugs, do not even recognize it as an issue. The same is true for squalor. When a person came from a place and lived in squalor (USA or otherwise), they never notice when they turn your place into squalor.

      I would give proper notice, but you are doing the right thing. Even if you get rig of the bedbugs, it will only be temporary. They may very well bring them in again.

  13. You sound very uneducated when it comes to bed bugs. Bed bugs are very hard to kill. Anybody can get them (I know, you’re trying to keep yourself looking like the Mr. Know it all and I just blew your cover but let’s get real…) you can pick them up at a hotel/motel, restaurant, friends house, school, doctor, store, bus, etc. Infact bed bug infestation is pretty common due to how difficult it is to get rid of them and how easy it is to pick them up and take them home with you. Now like you said, yoh van pick them up by the mattress on the side of the road or buying the second hand couch from the thrift store but let’s not make this an income problem. Your child could have carried them home with her or maybe the hotel you stayed at while you were on your job.
    You can squish a bed bug… yes but the reason why bed bugs are so hard to kill is because they have become resistant to most chemicals. So no you can’t just spray them and poof they’re gone. Truth is, those bastards are hiding in the cracks of the floors, the holes on the walls, in the baseboards, light sockets, pictures, rugs, couch, etc. And when you think you’ve killed it there are eggs that are hatching 2 weeks later. If you catch them early, it won’t be such a hard battle but if not you will be fighting hard.

    1. Thank you for reading!

      I admit, I am not an expert, but I have removed the problem. I also know other landlords that have too. Most bedbugs are not resistant to chemicals, although some are. Bedbugs show no resistance to Phantom. They are hard to find is the main issue. Although most are within a few feet of the bed. Phantom takes a while to kill the bedbugs.

      It is not an income problem, although many low-income habits have a tendency to bring them in. When you stay at a hotel and pick them up, it is probably the help that tracked them in.

      The best way to get rid of bedbugs in a unit is to remove the tenants. At the end of the lease, issue a non-renew and spray the unit thoroughly.

  14. How do you get the tenant to move out of the apartment when they have bed bugs? If they’re on a lease and they reported activity then you can’t break their lease. Just wondering what your strategy is, I could use some advice. I have a unit with bed bugs. This unit previously had bed bugs but was treated and cleared. Months later the new tenant is reporting bugs. I’m suspicious about this tenant and think he’s been down this road before. He travels a lot and knew some units here had previously had bugs. I think he intentionally took the unit so we would treat his place. It’s a 3 bedroom unit and only this one tenant and his one room have activity. I’d love to get them all out but can’t find cause.

      1. That’s really nice of you. Now this person is homeless because you can’t get an apartment if you’ve ever lived in one that had bed bugs.

        1. Thank you for reading!

          Actually, it is better for all of the other tenants in the building. I am not sure why you cannot get an apartment of you have ever had bedbugs, these people had no trouble. And tenants with bad habits that bring in bedbugs need to change their habits. Things like do not pick up furniture from the curb.

  15. What property management groups don’t understand is that if you don’t have policies and procedures in place up front – you loose. Bed Bug eggs can also be in wall voids and in the right conditions hatch making the owner think they had the infestation clear but in essence, not.

    Go to and learn about the Layered Defense Strategy for Apartment Owners and how to be successful with bed bug issues. It reduces “infestations” to “occurrences” and puts plenty of money back in the budget so they are not out of pocket for any remediation.

    1. That is a a great $3,700 package for apartments. I wonder how much damage the unit does if things get too hot? Maybe I can charge the tenants a few hundred if their unit gets bedbugs and I certified it as bedbug free before they moved in? Maybe spread the cost among all the tenants in the building, as a one-time assessment, and take it from their damage deposit if they do not pay?

      I cleaned mine problem out for less than $200 and got better tenants, and higher rents, in the process. I did a full spray, and a complete remodel as I was re-positioning my places to a higher caliber of tenant.

      It’s amazing after I did upgraded my tenant base. No more missed rents. No more roaches. No more bedbugs. A win-win for all.

      1. See you are still paying out of your pocket which greatly affects your ROI. Over the years those two hundred dollar squirts will cost you. Not to mention the chemical build-up.

        The LDS puts $$$$ back into ROI for owners to replenish their lost ROI because of bed bugs. No more coming out of pocket for the owners.

        Example: with 800 units we show them how to put up to 192,000 dollars in their kitty that can be used for regular inspections and heat treatment when an occurrence happens. Not a penny of that comes out of the owners pocket.
        On a 15,000 unit property we show them how to put close to a million towards any bed bug problems.

        Face it, bed bugs are real and will be a problem that owners will have to deal with for the next century no matter how rich or clean one can be.

        Every tenant (even those with suppressed immune systems, children, pregnant women, elderly and pets is safe from any possible poisoning or build-up residual, there is no chemical spray used or layered a couple weeks later (while bed bugs continue to move away from the spray, lay eggs in the walls) because it is turned around in hours compared to weeks.

        Remember, the longer you allow even one female bed bug stay in an environment, they are laying eggs creating more bed bugs. You might even cause it to go upstairs or downstairs by spraying, to annoy another tenant that of course you would blame for bringing in bed bugs. (I hope you can see how your system of getting rid of bed bugs is not fair and would never hold up in court)

        But then again, these figures are for those owners of large amounts of high dollar units and not for someone who owns a few duplexes.

        If your budget allows 50K for pest control and because of bed bugs you are spending 75K a year, guess where that money comes from?

        Again, its not always the higher caliber of tenant. We educate expensive high rises in Manhattan and other parts of New York and downtown Chicago where the rent is $3,500 to $5,500+ a month.

        These “high income” tenant habits often bring in bed bugs from their travels, work or other and go ignored for great amounts of time. There is a sense of entitlement that accompanies them as well.

        These units were designed specifically for apartments and don’t over heat or ruin items and have been used for years successfully.

        One of the best things an owner of any apartment can do is educate everyone including their staff abut bed bugs before leasing out any unit to either high dollar or low dollar.

        1. I have not spent any money on pest control in a few years. I attribute it to better tenants. I will always recommend better tenants.

          How can I get money from an LDS program, without it coming out of my revenues? Does someone else pay? Or is it somehow a savings?

  16. This is from a professional pest control tech – “I have been dealing with phantom health issues for over 4 years. The coworker training me said don’t report it, we would get fired. I ended up quitting the job due to chemical sensitivity.A little time passes and my drive slowly diminishes to nothing and motivation in general. I was noticing my brain was becoming impaired. I started having a numbness to life. I was having weird burning sensations in my head and was always going to the doctor just not feeling right. I made calls to various experts. I even did my own research and found this pesticide along with others are hormone disruptors.”
    Pesticides are lipophilic and store in the fat. We are seeing more and more of this type of pesticide reaction from people.
    Owners beware of using any pesticide inside your units. You could be literally poisoning your tenants without them knowing. Everyone reacts different to chemicals and you do not want to be responsible for hurting anyone. Educate your tenants up front. Stop trying to lay the blame and find a professional that does heat treatment for bed bugs. You will be protecting your tenants and your buildings.

    1. I agree. I am not the person to ban the pesticides. If they are legal, I use them. I am not going to use a heat treatment that may not work, or skip the residual pesticides that are used on a regular basis, even after a heat treatment.

      I do think that if a tenant wants to verify my units are bedbug free, they are more than welcome to hire an inspector, at their own expense, BEFORE they move in. That is an idea that you could be promoting. If it is bedbug free, the tenant pays. If there are bedbugs, the landlord pays. And the tenant can move on to the next place.

      1. I will not promote a tenant hiring a dog, that is something that should be done by the owner of units to provide a safe, habitable unit before considering leasing the unit to anyone. (Implied Warranty of Habitability which is the owners responsibility)

        I do believe that if you continue doing what you are doing by soaking your units with pesticides regardless if they are legal or not – the build up will hurt someone someday and you will wind up being sued. For your sake, I hope not.

        The whole process is not that hard if owners pay attention to the details of bed bugs but some just flat out refuse to be open to what works and want to do it their way.

        There is NO EXCUSE for any “infestation” to ever occur in any unit “if” the owner does what is needed. That is what the LDS is all about. Those who want to learn about keeping their units from ever having an infestation can find information here
        It is not my site but they have used the IBBRA LDS for the past two years with huge success and no “Infestations”.

        Always here to help!

  17. no nonsense landlord I have read your comments and blog. I have an apartment building and had a tenant who brought in bed bugs. Aaagh!! these tenants have now left and I am in the process of cleaning, which includes steaming all wood work and along wall floor joinings. We had Orkin come in several times when the tenants lived there. I have increased the heat up to 80 degrees to make all eggs hatch, hopefully. I have other chemicals to use after I have finished with the 2 week egg hatch. How will I know for sure I have eradicated the apartment of all bed bugs without waiting for an entire 12 months for them to die a natural death? I would like to have the apartment bug free for the next renter. We live in a small town and don’t need to get a bad reputation. Will setting out some sugar yeast (produces CO2) trapes with some dirty socks help to trap any so I know if I can declare the apartment bug free? What information do you have to make sure the apartment is bug free? Cannot newly remodel or replace carpet because they are newly remodeled already.

    1. Thank you for reading!

      I would use a lot of spray with a long residual time. Orkin may be able to help with that. Spray the walls, floors, outlets, ceilings, everything. If any come back, they residual spay should kill them. Use Phantom, it has a long life.

      1. U can tell this guy nit picks about everything I wouldn’t wanna rent from some one like u.. also they don’t live on filth the cleanest person can get bed bugs from stayin a night in a hotel with their gf/bf.

        1. Thank you for reading!

          You are 100% correct. Typically hotels and motels hire low-wage people to clean and maintain the hotel. Some of these workers will have bedbugs ion their clothes, and will being them into their workplace, the motel. And then you and your bf/gf can pick them up.

          When you are lower on the income scale, you are more likely to pick up used furniture and visit others who do. And more likely to have clutter, which is one of the main problems with getting rid of bed bugs.

          When you have lower income, you do not have the means to effectively get rid of bedbugs when you have a problem. If you come from a country where bedbugs are common, you may not even realize you have them, or may tolerate them for a longer period and they get out of control.

          I would say that you personally are far better off renting from someone that doesn’t nitpick. Then, the apartment can be a lesser unit and more affordable to you. Far too many people want a nice apartment, and are unwilling to pay for it. You recognize that quality costs, and you do not need or want it.

    2. Hi Michael,
      Your story is very common. When would you know when the bed bugs are gone. I work with a lot of property managers and owners all over the world.
      Chemical treatments have a high failure rate because of the eggs and spreading of bed bugs. Yes, I suppose you can play the waiting game for all the eggs to hatch but that seriously affects your bottom line having a vacant apartment. And BTW, bed bugs die off a lot sooner than a year without blood meals.
      While you are playing the “waiting” game, the bed bugs will leave the vacant apartment, travel through the structures and walls and wind up in an adjacent apartment to find a blood meal.
      You don’t want to saturate your unit with chemicals because if someone moves in that is sensitive to chemicals you can have a problem and doing this will also cause them to become resistant to the chemical. (This is a big problem everywhere).
      Replacing carpet again is overkill and will do nothing. Bed bugs often hide under the tack strips, behind baseboards and in the smallest of crevices around windows and door frames (depending upon the extent of the original infestation)
      If you were not using chemicals you could bring in a detection dog to find scent cones of bed bugs left behind but since you used chemicals you would have to wait up to 30 days for that. Learning how to be a landlord in a bed bug ridden world is very important. Do your due diligence, educate all your tenants, have regular inspections and consider obtaining your own equipment to do single efficacious treatments without chemicals.
      Educating your tenants will have them tell you earlier that there is a potential problem and knowing you will take care of it without trying to blame them or hold them financially responsible will have your building a place where more people would like to live. If you need any help you can always reach out to me.

      1. Thank you for the information Denise.

        In the meantime, Michael has a vacant apartment that has had bedbugs. He needs to re-rent. Some people are sensitive to chemicals, but I have never run across a person that had a problem with my spraying for spiders which use similar chemicals. Most pest control companies will use chemicals. Phantom is a great one. Heat treatments are very expensive and do not always work. Chemicals are safe, they are approved for use by the Government after extensive testing.

        It’s too bad that tenants cannot be required to carry insurance to be able to reimburse a landlord to get rid of their bed bug issues.

        It’s a great time to switch to a laminate flooring, rather than carpet, which has many places for bedbugs to hide.

        Prevention is a great topic, and all the waivers and notification paperwork doesn’t help once you have them. It’s better to have a higher grade of tenant.

        1. You might be right that you personally have never had anyone “complain” about chemical residuals but if you kept up with what’s going on out there, one third of our children and many adults are suffering from environmental-driven chronic diseases.

          Don’t take my word for it, see for yourself. As a landlord I personally wouldn’t want to subject my good tenants to anything that would harm them or their children, elderly or pets.

          Phantom/chlorfenapyr, among many others has been linked to:

          The Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database, launched by Beyond Pesticides, facilitates access to epidemiologic and laboratory studies based on real world exposure scenarios that link public health effects to pesticides. The scientific literature documents elevated rates of chronic diseases among people exposed to pesticides, with increasing numbers of studies associated with both specific illnesses and a range of illnesses.

          Here’s another one:

          With some of these diseases at very high and, perhaps, epidemic proportions, there is an urgent need for public policy at all levels –local, state, and national—to end dependency on toxic pesticides.

          Best all,

          1. I do not disagree, but since DDT was banned, a landlord has to use other chemicals. DDT was one of the best bed bug destroyers out there. Maybe we can teach tenants that bed bugs are just part of the apartment living experience.

          2. Yes, bed bugs are part of the multi-unit experience if you have an ignorant landlord that isn’t proactive. (Don’t take it personal I am not attacking you but ignorance is not bliss with bed bugs)

            And thank God DDT was banned – it’s residual is still being found, it did a lot of long term damage. Then again, it took years before they knew how bad it really was. They are now starting to look at what we now use and are finding some serious problems with them. You have to understand politically what and who’s behind these chemicals. It’s all about the money $$$ We are slowly poisoning ourselves, our children, future generations and the world we live in.

            And yes, I am a now tree hugger and would love to see these chemicals taken off the market. Anyone can purchase these chemicals over the internet. Untrained people over apply, misuse and have no clue what they are doing long term.

            I never used to be a tree hugger until I got into this business. I was just plain flat out ignorant. My arms are not the only thing around a tree, I now have both arms and legs! I even quit using chemical cleaning products because I don’t want to poison myself, my grandchildren, pets or friends. I clean my whole home with a steamer, vinegar, borax and hydrogen.

            With bed bugs, a landlord or anyone else for all that matters doesn’t “have” to use chemicals at all. Matter of fact, the chemicals cause more problems than solutions. (spreading, resistance, environmental poisoning, etc.)

            Yes, educating tenants should be right up there as important and mandatory info every landlord should give to them BEFORE they sign their lease. Have that conversation with them, tell them your proactive methods.

            Regular inspections is another thing that landlords should do on a quarterly basis so that no infestation has time to build. (Infestations take time) Let it go and “wait” until the lease is up is a big no no. After six months you now have exponential growth and they spread into adjacent units. And, you might have a tenant that attempted self-treatment which again is a big no no.

            Look, as an owner of property you always have to deal with fixing this or that; and the small investors do a lot of repairs themselves to save money. That comes with having a tool box with the right tools to make their job easier.

            I had a landlord that owns seven properties call me after fruitlessly attempting bed bug control in his own units. He was so frustrated because tenants will and did re-introduce bed bugs. Another problem was he used chemicals and drove them deeper into the walls only to rear their ugly heads later.

            I directed him to purchase a small heater and do it himself. He did and treated every one of his units. He now heat treats every unit after a tenant moves out to make sure nothing is left behind.

            Heat is the Achilles heel for bed bugs. Failure rates are only by those who don’t know how to do it correctly.Yes, he got trained to do it right first.

            The one time investment he made for the unit was under $2,500.00. He now decided to share it with his other landlord friends and rent the equipment to others for 300 a day. He got his return on investment in less that two months and purchased another unit – did the same – and them another one and another one. He now has four units which he advertises and rents out on a daily basis making him a nice profit every day. This is one smart property owner.

            No I don’t have anything to sell you, I’m an expert at what I do. I’m just saying it is time that property owners and managers get savvy and start protecting their investments better. (Bed bugs are going to increase over time and are not going away any time soon).

  18. I wanted to give everyone an update on two (2) other chemicals that have been found as significantly resistant for bed bugs.

    Unfortunately, this does include Phantom. We knew it would only be a matter of time.

    Serious vigilance, massive education and heat seems to be the only way to deal with them correctly.

    1. Thank you for reading Denise!

      Can you post a link to that study about Phantom and resistance? I know you are an anti-pesticide person, so your information regarding chemicals is always suspect. And even if some bedbug infestations are resistant, it does not mean to abandon chemicals altogether. Often a stronger dose of the pesticides is all that is necessary. Spraying in a preventative fashion, rather than wait for an infestation to occur, also is a large step in preventing bedbugs.

      I 100% agree education is a major step to reducing bedbug issues. Educating landlords to avoid low quality tenants that have habits that encourage bedbug infestations is key. That is what I try to do. If you keep low quality tenants out, you reduce bedbugs, roaches and much damage in your rental. You become much more profitable.

      As you are aware, heat treatment is the most expensive, and chemical treatments are one of the cheapest. Using chemicals as a first resort makes the most economical sense. If the chemicals fail, using pyrethroid, dinotefuran and chlorfenapyr treatments, then heat may make sense. As always, vacating the unit first by terminating the lease will help landlords effectively deal with the issue.

      Unfortunately, tenants that have their lease terminated for bringing in bedbugs do not like moving, but it is the best way to rid a unit of bedbugs.

      1. Where did you get that I am a anti-pesticide person? Maybe suspect to you, but my last article got 187, 650 views

        Since 2007, I’ve studied the resistance issues with bed bugs and called it so people would be prepared. But like yourself, many didn’t listen. They are now facing more serious bed bug issues within their properties and is costing them so much more than if they had put a protocol in place to begin with.

        “Infestations” don’t have to be part of an apartment complex or duplex “if” the landlord knows what they are doing. If they are having “infestations” that is the landlord’s fault. “Occurrences of bed bugs” will be part of life as we know it and won’t matter how “quality” of a person as you say you are.

        It really has nothing to do with the “quality” of people that you seems to be stuck on. It’s all about education and having proper protocols in place. We use it in all the apartments in Manhattan as well as those in the outskirts of Ohio, PA, Ill, TX, CA, and many more.

        Being on the Task Force in several of these cities helps me evaluate just where most of these property owners go wrong.

        Pesticides are chemicals that have to be used according to the label to be effective. Using heat as a first resort makes the most economical sense because you are not spreading them, building resistance and can get the ones that are hidden.

        The biggest problem is ignorant non-professional and some professionals have over used these chemicals and now because of it, we are having serious resistance issues.

        It is estimated that 907,875 bed bug jobs were completed in the U.S. this past year. Too bad there isn’t way for me to attach a file so you all can see the most recent demographics of bed bugs on a map here in the US.

        Since people were noticing reoccurring incidents and extreme failure rates after the use of these chemicals, they decided to look further into it.

        These tests were performed by Purdue with strains of bed bugs from all over the US.The study, published in The Journal of Economic Entomology, found that bedbugs are showing a lower susceptibility to two common pesticides containing chlorfenapyr and bifenthrin.

        Here’s one from Time Magazine:

        The study recommends a combination of chemical and nonchemical means — such as traps, steam, physical removal and mattress encasements — to combat bedbug infestations.

        With the human mentality of one is good so two must be better is what gets us in trouble to begin with.

        I work with a lot of multi-unit housing and we show them how to DIY using heat and residuals to stop bed bugs from moving into wall voids. The equipment is not expensive and the ROI keeps their pesticide budget from being hit hard. I even invested in equipment and rent it to them when needed. It saves them thousands of dollars.

        1. Thank you for the link. It does make sense that bugs get resistant to the pesticides. Hopefully science can keep up with the bugs. In some countries, bedbugs are just a part of life. It may eventually be that way here too. Just as people live with mosquitoes, they may wind up living with bedbugs.

          Based on mu unscientific experiences, and many other landlords that I deal with, better tenants just do not have pest issues near as often. Maybe the better tenants are more proactive, or do not bring home the pests to begin with, I am not sure. I just know when I upgraded my tenant base, I no longer have issues with roaches and bedbugs.

  19. I can’t believe as a landlord how ignorant you are on how bedbugs spread into apartment units. Maybe you operate buildings and rent to “low income” tenants who pick up mattresses on street corners. I recently discovered we had bedbugs in our apartment and promptly reported them to the landlord of a large apartment development. We are not low income, associate with low income people or hoarders.

    My friend is the Assistant Operations Manager of the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel in Tarrytown, NY. The rates run between $150-200 a night. Lots of low income people can afford that I’m sure. They had a bedbug infestation problem that forced them to close each wing of the 259 room hotel at a time to ensure that the bedbugs would not scurry from one room to another and not resolving the problem. The hotel had the guts to post a sign at the front desk informing guest checking in that the hotel is being treated for bedbugs and to notify guest services if they see any in their room. Read up on bedbugs. I did a lot of research when I discovered we had them.

    I live in spotless apartment complex for over two years and never seen a single pest anywhere in my unit, According to CDC the resurgent of bedbugs in North America and Western Europe in the 21st century is probably due to the immigration of Eastern European and Asian populations who did not consider the little critters an issue. Also the use of pesticides that we did use in the 1950’s like DDT are now banned and less effective pesticides and methods are now used. So I’ll agree that yes some low income people may carry bedbugs and cause issues but also before you through your tenants out do some research.

    Also the increase of online ordering where bedbugs can be shipped while nesting in the cardboard boxes the product is shipped in can cause infestation. This is especially true with Ebay where the person selling the item may have bed bugs that thrived in the shipping envelopes or boxes. Be a little more informed, Obviously you did no research on the issue. Yes it creeps me out that we had bedbugs but I did not panic and try to assign blame.

    My wife and I are clean, take showers everyday, minimize clutter and keep our apartment clean. Oh and by the way bedbugs were found in the cabins of the Queen Mary II. Lots of low income people travel on that ship.

    I’m glad your not my landlord. Oh one more thing, I was once a landlord myself having owned two homes and yes I had an individual who ran a hand made clothing business from her house. Yes you could have called it cluttered but never had any problems with any kind of bugs. So do your research before starting a blog advising other landlords to kick people out.

    1. Thank you for reading (and confirming my un-scientific observations).

      Bedbugs are not wild, they do not live in the woods. The live in houses that allow them. You have the means and financial ability to get rid of them, lower income folks do not. They thrive in a cluttered environment.

      The Queen Mary and other high-end hotels have lower income people working for them. Many immigrant workers are housekeepers. Many of the countries where these immigrants come from have bedbugs. Often, it is just accepted that you will have them, as they do not have the means to get rid of them.

      It is not that bedbugs only attack low-income people, it is low income people do not have the means to get rid of them. They also have a tendency to have habits that fester bedbugs. They visit other low-income people that may have them, get packages from countries that may have them, and unknowingly spread the bedbugs to their work places.

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