“Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite…”

When I was a little kid, I thought this was just a nonsensical fairlytale reference my parents said when they put me to bed.  But over the past few months I’ve been hearing landlords complaining about infestations in their rentals.  Yikes!

And actually, I dealt with a bedbug problem in one of my apartments a year ago, although I didn’t realize what it was for a few weeks.  My tenant, Erica, was being attacked by “something.”  She was sure it was fleas, but she had no pets.  Well, although I didn’t mention this to her, I’d evicted the prior tenant for sneaking a cat in, so I thought there might be a chance there were fleas in the apartment.  So I treated for fleas.  (My pest control company sells me Ultracide, which is an excellent product — they use it themselves — and it really works.) 

I couldn’t figure out why, a week later, she was still having the problem.  When she said nothing was jumping on her (bedbugs don’t jump) and she was only being bitten at night, in her bedroom, the lightbulb went on.  She had a bedbug infestation.   Here’s an example of what bedbug bites can look like:

Erica’s mom had recently bought her a “new” (used) mattesss.  Big mistake.  Bedbugs are often brought in on used furniture, and they say the increase of cases in the US may be realted to more overseas travel and also an increase in people buying used furniture.

Anyway, upon closer inspection, I found the little buggers.  You can tell on a mattress by looking in the crevices for littles dark specs, and also for the same thing in other furniture or along the walls at the base of the carpet.   Ick!  I told her she was going to have to throw that thing out immediately, which she did, and vacuum the whole place thoroughly.  Anything that can be thrown in the dryer on high heat, should be.  High temperatures will kill them.  Aside from that, I recommend hiring an exterminator if the problem persists.  From what I know, there aren’t any truly effective home rememdies for bedbugs.  FYI, you might want to consider putting something in your lease about bedbugs . . . anything reported to you within 15 or 20 days of move-in could be yours to handle, but anything beyond that could be the tenant’s responsibility?  Something to think about.

As for Erica, we had more pressing problems . . . she did get rid of the mattress in question but she was also behind in her rent and was having issues with her rommate as well.  When Erica was at work one day, her roommate threw all of her clothes out back and set them on fire, a little too close to the house.  The fire department came, but not before the fire melted some of the siding right off the house . . .

Needless to say, they’re no longer with me . . . but neither are the bedbugs! 

Onward and upward   🙂