HOW TO PREVENT BED BUGS & WHAT TO DO IF YOU EVER HAVE AN INFESTATION June 15, 2022 | Maintenance , Management | apartment , interior maintenance , safety , multi-family property , condo This week is Bed Bug Awareness Week. Although bed bugs are tough to rid your property of, there are many effective treatment options available. It is important to know the warning signs of an infestation, as it can be more than a minor annoyance. An infestation can actually negatively affect your health by taking over your property and anything stored within it. Whether you’re a commercial building manager or owner, it is essential to recognize the signs of an outbreak on your property. Causes Bed bug outbreaks can be caused by an assortment of factors. While it has always been thought that bed bug outbreaks only happen in dirty environments, this is actually a myth. Issues with bed bugs can appear in even the cleanest spaces. Bed bug infestations typically occur as the result of buying used household items and furniture, after traveling to densely populated areas, following vacations aboard cruise ships, and after staying in already-infested hotels. Transportation is the common theme for all the main causes of bed bug infestations. Bed bugs are notorious for their ability to “hitchhike” from one area to the next, making them easy to take with you to your commercial property and home. According to medical advisor and associate veterinarian, Vincent J. Tavella, bed bugs can survive a year without food and thrive on the blood of humans. Bed bugs like to stay hidden and are typically found on the corners of bed frames, inside of mattresses, in the lining of luggage and backpacks, behind light switches, and on top of piles of anything on your property that has sat idle for a prolonged period of time (i.e., stacks of old papers, mounds of clothing, storage boxes, etc.…). If you suspect an outbreak, there are several warning signs to look out for. Signs of Infestation While detecting the presence of bed bugs at a commercial property is a bit trickier than in a residential setting, there are still warning signs to look for that would indicate an infestation. The first and probably most obvious indicator are the appearance of unexplained bug bites on the skin. Instead of a marked indentation to the skin, bed bug bites look different from other insect bites in that they appear in a cluster of small red bumps. Another way to check for an outbreak at a commercial property is by inspecting the edges of the carpet at your commercial space. While you may not see the actual bed bugs, they often leave spots of fecal matter and shell casings in places they’ve inhabited. It is also common for bed bugs to leave spots of blood in areas they’ve recently been feeding. Bed bugs can also occupy the area inside of the cracks in wallpaper and drywall. Additionally, it would not be a bad idea to check behind light switches if you have the means to remove the plate attached to the wall safely, as this is another place where bed bugs hide. Just about any and every space can be overrun, which has its own set of issues pertaining to your property. But what are the implications of an infestation on your health? Effects on Health Although bed bugs do not directly transmit diseases like some of their counterparts, they can still have negative implications to your health, as they do carry bacteria. The most adverse effects of bed bug bites are to the skin. As a result of these bites, people often develop secondary skin infections of the streptococcal variety, which can spread quickly throughout the body and to others.. Over time the streptococcal bacteria can spread to other areas of the body, slowly weakening the immune system. Bed bug infestations can also have serious implications for the quality of your mental health. Those with prolonged infestations can possibly suffer from anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Treatment The most effective DIY method to rid your property of bed bugs is temperature treatment, as bed bugs cannot survive temperatures exceeding 120 degrees or anything below freezing. Therefore, to gain control of the outbreak you can try washing and drying all clothing and cloth materials on the highest setting of your washer and dryer. Another technique to try is to repair all cracks in your drywall and wallpaper, as doing so gives bed bugs one less place to hide. It is also imperative to get rid of any extra items adding to clutter on your property. Doing so provides one less place for bed bugs to thrive. Additionally, keeping your property thoroughly vacuumed can also be an effective means of stopping the infestation in its tracks. If these approaches don’t work, it may be time to hire an exterminator. With the help of a professional exterminator, you should be able to find and isolate the sources of the outbreak and hopefully prevent any future occurrences.