Apartments and condos have one of the highest pest control demands of any industry. And the large base of residents with different lifestyles and sanitation habits can make pest management tricky—especially when it comes to common multifamily pests such as ants, flies, cockroaches or even bed bugs.
But what if all your tenants were on the same page about pest control and played their role in keeping pests out? What would you want your residents to know? Here’s our list of the top six things every resident should know about pest control.
- Poor sanitation can attract or proliferate pest problems.
Pests come into our homes for various reasons. Some are looking for a warm place to spend the winter, some are carried in inadvertently, and some pests, like rodents, flies and cockroaches, are drawn indoors or encouraged to stay longer because of available food and water sources. When it comes to preventing the latter, simple sanitation tactics can go a long way. Easy routines, like regularly taking out the trash, not leaving dirty dishes in the sink and storing food in tightly sealed containers, can help reduce the likelihood of attracting these pests or proliferating any existing issues.
- Water attracts pests.
One of the most universal pest attractants is water. Many pests can survive an extended period of time without a meal as long as they have access to water, which means it’s important to reduce not only food sources, but also water sources. Fixing a leaky faucet, emptying bowls or cups filled with water in the sink and preventing overwatered plants can all help.
- Bed bugs have nothing to do with cleanliness.
There’s a misconception that bed bugs thrive in dirty or unsanitary environments. The reality is that it doesn’t matter how clean an individual or home is. Bed bugs can still be introduced and thrive as long as they have blood from a living organism – preferably a human -- to feed on.
- Spiders may not be the cause of your bites.
At one time or another, most people have woken up with some bug bites and thought, “I guess a spider bit me last night.” In general, however, it’s fairly rare for a spider to seek you out in bed and bite you. Tenants should be aware that if they wake up with bites, they could have bed bugs. It’s also possible they could have been bitten by another pest -- such as a mosquito, tick or mite -- earlier that day and could be experiencing a delayed reaction. If tenants have pets, there is also always a chance that fleas could be the culprit.
- Pests can spread from unit to unit.
Bed bugs and cockroaches can spread from unit to unit, above and below. To avoid being a bad neighbor, it’s important for residents to maintain a sanitary home, report pest problems and cooperate with management to schedule inspections and treatments as needed.
- When to notify management.
A property manager’s worst nightmare can be a tenant that doesn’t report a pest infestation, allowing time for it to spread or grow into a much larger -- and potentially expensive – problem. It’s best for tenants to report a problem as soon as possible so it can be handled quickly, before it causes long-term problems. Some tenants are hesitant to report pest problems in fear of being evicted or, in some instances, because they are trying to hide something from management and don’t want their apartment inspected. As a result, some properties require regular inspections throughout the year as part of the lease agreement.
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