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What do I do if my apartment has bed bugs?

Bed bugs can be found in houses and apartments, office buildings, stores, buses - any place where people are. They are excellent hitchhikers and are spread by moving furniture, clothing or other belongings from one place to another.

Here’s how to protect yourself:

  1. Know how to identify bed bugs:
  • Bed bugs are small, flat, oval, reddish-brown, wingless insects;
  • Adult bed bugs are about ¼ inch long; young bed bugs are quite small and may be clear in color;
  • Bed bugs do not fly or jump, but do crawl very fast.
  1. Know the signs of a bed bug infestation:
  • red itchy welts on skin that is exposed while sleeping;
  • small black or rusty-colored spots on bed linens, pillows, or mattresses;
  • live bed bugs, eggs, and cast skins.
  1. Inspect for Bed Bugs
  • Look for live bed bugs, eggs, or blood spots on mattresses, box springs, headboards, upholstered furniture, papers, backpacks, gym bags, and curtains.
  1. Treat Bed Bug Infestations
  • If you suspect you have bed bugs in your unit, tell your landlord about the problem. The landlord should contact a professional pest control company for advice and assistance. Complete elimination of a bed bug infestation can be difficult and may require several treatments.
  • To help with the process,
    • Eliminate clutter. Don’t keep piles of clothes, papers, etc. on the floor, under the bed, or in closets.
    • Wash infested bedding and clothing in hot water and dry on a hot setting for at least 30 minutes.
    • Encase an infested mattress and box spring in a zippered cover that is certified “bed bug proof”. Leave the covers on for at least one year.
    • Vacuum bedrooms thoroughly and often, paying attention to the bed and the area around itself.  Put the vacuum cleaner bag in a zip-lock plastic bag in the trash outside.

Bed bug infestations can happen to anyone. Do not be reluctant to discuss a possible infestation because of embarrassment. It is important to report the infestation to management. The earlier it is addressed, the more likely it can be quickly controlled.

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