Chicago is the third most bed bug infested city in the United States. Orkin recently released a list of the cities with the largest bed bug problems. Unfortunately for Chicago, we now rank higher for bed bugs than New York! Why is there a large prevalence for bed bugs in Chicago, and how can property managers find a way to limit the risk of bed bug infestations? At Keyrenter Chicago North Property Management, we have put together a detailed guide for handling bed bug infestations, and tips on how to prevent them.
What are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are a small, flat, brown, wingless insect that feed on the blood of animals. The typical bed bug is around the size of an apple seed with a brownish-red coloring. Bed bugs are large enough to see, but they tend to hide in mattresses, cushions, and tight spaces.
How Do Bed Bugs Travel?
Without wings, how do bed bugs move from place to place? Bed bugs normally get into furniture, luggage, clothing, and through cracks in walls. Over the past decade, bed bugs have made resurgence in the United States due to less effective insecticides and decreased social vigilance. Commonly, bed bug infestations tend to happen in public places such as hotels, motels, movie theatres, schools, shelters, public transportation, and more.
Signs of Bed Bugs
Landlords and tenants should both take the time to diligently check for bed bugs. There are some signs of bed bugs to watch for:
- Red or rust stains on a mattress or box spring
- Eggs or egg shells
- Live bug found in the home
- Red bites on the skin
Where to Inspect for Bed Bugs
Property owners and tenants both have a responsibility to care for the property, and prevent issues like bed bugs. Some areas to check when inspecting the home for bed bugs include:
- Check couches, chairs, and other areas where there are cushions
- Inspect around window frames
- Look around electrical outlets
There are other areas to consider, but these are the common areas where bed bugs tend to be found.
How Can Bed Bugs Be Prevented?
While bed bugs can be found anywhere, there are some steps that can be taken to prevent an infestation. Use these tips to prevent bed bugs:
- Reduce clutter inside and outside the home or apartment
- Use bed bug covers on mattresses
- Wash and heat-dry bedding, clothing, blankets, etc.
- Check hotel rooms prior to bringing luggage into a home
What to Do If Bed Bugs Are Found in an Apartment
Tenants that discover bed bugs should call their landlord immediately. Tenants should not try and rid the property of bed bugs on their own, as a professional will need to be called for proper eradication. Landlords have a responsibility to provide a safe living environment for their tenants. One thing landlords will do is have a pest control company come in and spray and help to eradicate the property of bed bugs. A full inspection will occur to ensure the bed bugs have been quarantined in one apartment, or if the problem is widespread throughout other units.
Should Furniture Be Thrown Out If Bed Bugs Are Found?
Pest control experts will let customers know if furniture has been ruined by bed bugs, and should be thrown out. In many cases, furniture can be saved by using correct bed bug covers. Infested items need to be sealed in plastic and must be marked prior to having them thrown out as it will reduce the risk of bed bugs spreading to other areas.
Bed Bug Law in Illinois
In Illinois, if a tenant is responsible for bringing bed bugs into the property, the tenant must pay for the removal. Landlords will pay if a bed bug infestation has occurred, and it was not the fault of a tenant. However, most landlords will pay for the removal services of bed bugs to reduce the risk of them spreading to other units.
Keyrenter Chicago North Property Management services are here to provide property owners, landlords, and tenants with the best information we can related to bed bugs. Contact our office to discuss your property management needs.