Laraine said that after nine treatments performed by two pest control companies, the bedbugs are still there.
A representative for Essex Properties, the company that manages the complex, said the company is doing what it can to try to treat the problem in Laraine’s apartment.
No. I am sorry.
If you have had nine treatments and still have bed bugs, I would seriously question whether someone–landlord, pest control operator, tenant, or neighboring tenant– is not doing what they should to eliminate those bed bugs.
Let’s just go through some things that might be going wrong:
- The landlord has not had a qualified and knowledgeable pest control operator inspect every adjacent unit (top, bottom, and all sides) and treat them properly if necessary.
- Treatment is not being repeated by the PCO at appropriate intervals (hint: PCOs who know bed bugs tell us they treat every 10-14 days; at least one in Denver treats at 3-week intervals instead, due to low humidity). Treatment must continue without a gap, until all bed bugs and signs of bed bugs are completely gone.
- The residents in every infested unit are not getting the same treatment, at the same times.
- The residents in every infested unit are not cooperating 100% with treatment, and following preparations as instructed by a PCO (who has such guidelines)– these often include washing and drying all clothes and linens on hot, and keeping them in sealed bags, and encasing the mattress. They may be much more extensive.
- Tenants or building employees are unknowingly re-infesting the unit. (This can happen if you got bed bugs from somewhere and you are getting them again, and again.)
Some of these things can happen due to simple ignorance about how bed bugs operate. For example, a landlord might ask neighbors if they had itchy bites or saw bed bugs. If they say no, it might be assumed they are not being bitten. (Not necessarily true!) PCOs may have treated bed bugs a number of times and may still not understand that fact.
Likewise, PCOs might have difficulty finding visual evidence, or may only count actual bed bugs as visual evidence. (But not seeing these, or not seeing them easily, does not mean a tenant is bed bug-free.)
Landlords may suspect or know neighbors are infested but may be allowing them to refuse treatment (based on anything from religious to medical objections to pesticides). While people may be concerned about the actions of pesticides on children, people with illnesses, and pets, bed bugs must nevertheless be remedied somehow. Neighbors who refuse traditional pesticides must be treated somehow. There are other options.
PCOs may refuse to treat infested units that are not properly prepped. Or may treat un-prepped units without success. Landlords might simply ignore those tenants’ units. This is a big mistake. Even if Rene is prepped, if his neighbor isn’t, the bed bugs can keep coming.
Other issues may be happening to make bed bugs hard to eradicate: pesticide resistance is real. However, good PCOs are aware of it and have options in their arsenal like dusts which have a mechanical action, and steam: neither of these can be resisted if the bed bug is in contact with them. Combined with pesticides, PCOs should be able to eliminate even pyrethroid-resistant strains of bed bugs, which do exist.
Some of these factors may be the tenant’s fault, make no mistake. Or they may be another tenant’s fault. Many of these factors mean landlords are mismanaging treatment, or hiring PCOs who mismanage treatment. I would put my money on adjacent units being infested and either overlooked or not treated properly.
Whatever the cause, landlords and tenants should be trying to avoid the above situations.
And if you have bed bugs after even four treatments, let alone nine, something is terribly wrong.