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The 5 Most Hated Pests You’re Likely to See in an Apartment

Pests are more than just a nuisance in multifamily properties. They can carry and spread diseases, contaminate food and even cause expensive structural damage. Unfortunately, apartments have all the elements necessary to create a perfect pest storm: varying resident lifestyles, lack of uniform cleaning standards and close proximity of units.

According to a recent survey of apartment renters across the United States conducted by Orkin Pest Control and the National Apartment Association (NAA), 85 percent have encountered a pest in their apartment in the past 12 months. Orkin also found that recurring pest issues cause 60 percent of apartment renters to look for a new place to live. To help property managers have a better understanding of tenant attitudes toward pests, Orkin aimed to answer the questions, “Which pests are most common within apartments,” and “Which pests would renters least like to see?”


Bed Bugs 39%

Rodents 28%

Cockroaches 26%

Ants 2%

Flies 1%

Other (Moths, Spiders, Stink Bugs, etc.) 4%

The results showed that while bed bugs are the most feared of all pests, flies are the most common pest problem in apartment units, followed by ants, cockroaches and rodents. Bed bugs generated the most angst among apartment renters, with 39 percent saying it is the pest they would least like to see in their apartment. Perhaps they are so feared because they can hitch a ride home in luggage, personal belongings or even furniture—and once they’re inside, they can be extremely difficult to treat.

Prevent the Burden of Bed Bugs

Here’s what your residents need to know to catch bed bugs early and help reduce the chances of a costly infestation.

What to look for:

  • Black or brown stains on surfaces, especially mattresses
  • Adult bed bugs (about the size of an apple seed)
  • Molted skins

Where to look:

  • Mattresses, box springs, headboards and footboards, bed frames and any furniture within 5–8 feet of beds
  • Cracks and gaps behind wall outlets
  • Floor, window and door molding
  • Where carpet edges meet the wall

Encourage residents to report any signs of potential bed bug activity right away, and call your pest management provider immediately to properly assess the situation.

Fight Flying and Crawling Pests – Rodents, Cockroaches, Ants and Flies

Rodents, cockroaches, ants and flies are also on your tenants’ radar, so it’s essential you know how to help prevent them. The following tips help cover all your bases to deal with the most common and hated pests:

  • Seal all cracks and crevices on the building exterior and install weather-stripping and screens to help prevent pest entry.
  • Maintain landscaping in a way that does not attract pests (e.g. creating an 18-inch buffer between ground shrubs and building exteriors).
  • Properly dispose of waste. Indoors, keep trash cans lined and sealed to prevent access to rotting food. Remove the trash at least once per day, disposing of it in tightly covered dumpsters located as far as possible from your property.
  • Host a training for staff and provide educational materials to residents so that all parties understand their role in pest management. Only 25 percent of apartment renters indicate they are currently receiving information and tips on keeping pests out; yet, 66 percent are interested in getting these kinds of tips from management.

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