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Bed Bugs in Apartment Buildings: A Problem that Won't Go Away

Apartment building
Bed bugs may soon be the #1 pest in apartments
Photo © Pinto & Associates

Bullet Points

  • Bed bug outbreaks in apartments are increasing alarmingly in most metropolitan areas.
  • Bed bugs will have severe financial, liability, and public relations impacts on many apartment properties in the near future.
  • Bed bugs may soon become the #1 pest in apartment properties, and the one most difficult and expensive to control (typically $20,000-$50,000 for severe outbreaks).
  • Successful bed bug control requires proactive actions by property management, intensive pest control service, constant follow-up, and a high level of cooperation by residents (perhaps the most difficult task of all).
  • There are no quick answers or easy solutions.


Bed Bug Trends in Apartments

Managers of apartment buildings, and the pest control companies servicing them, have been seeing an increasing number of severe bed bug outbreaks in many urban areas. Not just in one or two apartment units, but spread throughout a building, or even a complex of buildings. (For possible reasons why, see Why Have Bed Bugs Made a Comeback?)

bed bug close up
Bed bugs present a major challenge in apartments
Photo by CDC from WHO

The trend shows no signs of slowing down. Count on it: Bed bugs will become a major challenge to most apartment property management companies and the pest control firms that service them. And bed bug infestations pose significant risks of health department involvement, lawsuits, and public relations nightmares.

Furthermore, the cost of controlling bed bugs is high. Pest control companies experienced in bed bug control charge anywhere from $100 up to $750 for the initial service of a single infested unit and from $75-$300 for follow-ups.

And bed bug infestations tend to be widespread, so that many or all of the units in a building often need to be inspected, and you can bet that many will require service.

In our experience, it is not unusual for a medium-sized property to end up spending $20,000-$50,000 while attempting to eliminate a widespread bed bug infestation. Afterwards, they may still have some low level of bed bug infestation that can bounce back again in just months.

Remember, too, that new infestations of bed bugs may be brought in by residents and visitors over and over again.

ALERT: Bed bugs are easily the most difficult and expensive pest to control in apartment buildings.

Unfortunately, by the time a site manager realizes that there are bed bug problems at their property, the infestations typically are widespread and the bed bugs are infesting much more than beds. They’re in the furniture, under the carpet, in the walls. At this point, only the most aggressive actions will succeed.

Next-- Why are bed bugs so difficult to control?


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