Since the abandonment of the widespread use of DDT in 1972, bedbugs have made a stunning resurgence, becoming resistant to pesticides and blossoming into a hot topic in cities all over the United States in the past five years. These blood-sucking insects are not known to spread any blood-borne diseases, but they can create severe itching and rash in bite victims, as well as significant emotional stress. A bedbug infestation can also be remarkably difficult to get rid of, so here are some tips for avoiding getting these critters in your apartment in the first place.
When you first move into an apartment, observe the neighbors. Bedbugs love clutter, as it gives them lots of places to hide. Do your neighbors seem like a neat bunch, or do you observe a lot of neglect? If you’re in a larger apartment building, it can be difficult to get a look at the neighbors’ space. Just remember that if your apartment does become infested, it may not be due to anything you did.
Keeping It Clean
Keep your own apartment neat and tidy. Make sure to vacuum regularly, especially under beds and other sleeping areas, and wash and dry your sheets on high heat. When you change your sheets, use a flashlight to do a quick visual inspection of your mattress, box spring, and frame to see if you notice any signs of bedbugs. Signs include molted exoskeletons, rusty red spots, and actual bugs, which can be small and hard to see.
Resist Sidewalk Shopping
If you buy used furniture, be sure to inspect it thoroughly, and ask previous owners about their history with bedbugs. Avoid taking discarded furniture off the street; if you feel you must, avoid all beds and other upholstered items like chairs, couches, or pillows, and clean other furniture thoroughly before bringing it into the house. A good wood soap will kill bedbugs and eggs on wood, and a 91 percent isopropyl alcohol spray can be used on certain materials like metal and glass. All items should be thoroughly inspected regardless of material.
Don’t Bring Them Home
If you are traveling, be sure to check the rooms you stay in for bedbugs prior to unpacking. If you carry a small flashlight with you, you can perform an inspection of the bed just as you would at home. Inspecting dresser drawers is also recommended, though it’s even better to not unpack your suitcase. Instead, inspect the luggage rack thoroughly, then store your bag on top of it, pulled away from the wall to avoid bedbugs crawling up the wall and into the bag. When you return home from traveling, be sure to put your packed clothes in the washer right away, and dry them on hot for at least 20 minutes to kill any bugs or eggs that may have hitchhiked home with you. Going over your suitcase with a steamer, or even putting it in the oven (on the lowest setting) for ten minutes, will kill any bugs.
Get It Taken Care of Fast!
If you do find signs of an infestation in your apartment, be sure to notify the apartment management immediately. Especially if it is a large building, the management will very likely treat the entire complex, at the management company’s cost. If you live in a smaller building with only a few tenants, you may need to work out something with your landlord and the other tenants.