Bed bugs have become one of the largest nuisances plaguing apartment dwellers, offices, and homeowners. What can be done about bed bugs, and who is responsible for paying for them if it’s between a landlord or tenant?
Paying for Bed Bug Treatment
Hiring a pest control company can be expensive, so it is common to do some research to find out how the bed bugs came to be in the apartment complex. Landlords will do research to determine if the bed bugs came from a tenant, or they will find out if it has become an infestation that has spread throughout the complex.
Maryland Law Pertaining to Bed Bugs
In Maryland, landlords are responsible for bed bug extermination prior to renting or leasing to anyone. Single-residency units will be responsible for the extermination costs while they are dwelling in the property as they are the only residents. However, multi-occupancy units are different as the property owner is responsible for the extermination costs.
What are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small, wingless insects that live within mattresses, bedding, and other areas and live off the blood of mammals. These small insects are typically brownish-red in color and have an flat, oval appearance. Small bed bugs are lighter in color, and commonly mistaken for ticks. Bed bugs are active at night, and procreate quickly compared to other insects.
Concerns with Bed Bugs
Bed bugs rarely spread infection, but they do bite and suck blood from humans. These bites can be tender to touch, and the skin is usually red and can have a rash in the area. The rash can quickly become worse, almost having welts across the skin. The rash can be itchy, sometimes extremely itchy to the point it leads to open wounds from scratching the area.
Inspecting for Bed Bugs
Landlords should conduct routine inspections to ensure the property is in proper upkeep. Tenants can focus on certain cleanliness habits that reduce the risk of bed bugs. If you have small, red skin bites, inspect for bed bugs immediately and contact your landlord to determine the next step to take. Follow this inspection guide:
- Use a flashlight and inspect bedrooms, closets, bedding, furniture, and other sleeping areas for signs of dead eggs and bugs.
- Look around the doorframes and window jams for bugs.
- Bugs often hibernate within the bedding itself, which will need proper treatment to remove. Look at the bedding for drops of blood as it indicates feeding, and a sign you have an infestation.
How are Bed Bugs Removed?
Pest inspection will need to be called in when there is a bed bug infestation. Removing bed bugs require intense treatment that includes multiple sprays of approved pesticides over the course of multiple weeks. Treatments do vary based on the severity of the infestation, and the pest control agency. Cleanliness is the key to keeping bed bugs away. However, tenants in multi-complex units should practice additional cleanliness habits to limit their risk of getting bed bugs from a neighboring unit. Some things that help to reduce bed bugs include:
- Reduce clutter
- Clean and vacuum often
- Cover power outlets
- Inspect furniture regularly
- Cover mattresses with pest control plastic coating
- Seal around the windows, joints, and door jambs
Keyrenter Annapolis Property Management provides solutions for homeowners and real estate owners. Contact our office to learn more about our team and our experience in dealing with bed bugs and other common issues.