In terms of bed bug infestation, an apartment is likely to have a greater chance of being infested. It is because bed bugs can spread much more easily toward gaps and spaces that connect from one unit to another.
So, to get rid of bed bugs in the apartment, we need three simultaneous actions which are inspection, treatment, and prevention. In this case, killing bed bugs in the apartment should be easy and fast because the space is limited and there is less stuff than in a regular house.
However, the exception is only for the big size apartment with a lot of stuff. There, you need more effort and attention to deal with bed bugs.
So, let’s dive in.
Bed bug inspection techniques for apartments in apartments
The first rule of bed bug inspection in apartments is that everything you own must be inspected. Bed bugs spread everywhere in your apartment and they can hide anywhere as long as it is possible for them.
Current research shows that from 6 types of apartments layout, bed bugs spread in bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and living rooms which means that bed bugs completely spread everywhere inside an apartment.
Signs of bed bug infestation
Adult bed bugs are much easier to be found and treated. But, it doesn’t end there. You cannot neglect other aspects like the possibility of bed bugs eggs and nymphs to avoid the next infestation.
So, there are some signs of bed bug infestations that you need to look for as follows:
- Fecal stains
- Shed skins
- Blood stains
- Bed bugs’ scent
Related article: A List of Guides to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
In a heavy infestation, it is quite hard to differentiate fecal stains and blood stains because they are mixed together as bed bugs live in a colony. But, if there are fewer bed bugs, fecal stains have rusty brown color while blood stains look darker.
Then, bed bugs nymphs have a lighter color with a dark spot in their belly which means that they have had a meal. In this case, you need also to look for eggs and shed skins too. If you find that, it means that there is a bed bug infestation.
The other thing that can be noticed is bed bugs’ scent. It is quite hard to describe it but it smells bad especially if you get a spot with some blood and fecal stains.
A step-by-step guide to inspecting bed bugs in an apartment
To inspect bed bugs, you need some tools such as :
- An LED Flashlight
- A reader’s magnifying glass
- Crevice tools such as a triangle plastic card or a cake spatula
- Lint roller (extra sticky tape)
- Clean pill bottle
- Ziploc bag
Use your LED flashlight and reader’s magnifying glass to inspect all the things you have in the apartment. In this case, you need to carefully and patiently check side by side. A crevice tool can be used to check small gaps in your stuff.
Then, a lint roller with extra sticky tape can be very useful to inspect a suitcase, clothes, backpacks, etc, especially for those who love traveling. You can collect the bed bugs you get into a pill bottle or Ziploc bag before destroying them.
Well, there are a few particular spots you need to check as follows :
- Box spring
- Headboard and bed frame
- Bed linens
- All the rooms and stuff inside your apartment
Point no 1-4 is the main part you need to check first because people mostly sleep in a bed. But, if you don’t have a bed, then you need to check first the place where you sleep like a couch, carpet, etc.
In this case, the most important thing you need to understand is that bed bugs can hide anywhere because their body is so small and flat. Research shows that bed bugs can even hide in a screw hole. It shows how small this bug is.
If you have some stuff hanging on the wall or small cracks in the wall, you need to inspect them too because they hide in an unexpected area too.
Bed bug treatment options for apartments
There are some bed bug treatment options for apartments as follows:
- Heat treatment
- Hand wash
- Insecticide sprays
First, vacuuming is effective to suck both adult bed bugs and nymphs. Here, use a HEPA-filtered vacuum as professional exterminator use. You can use a vacuum for your bed, couch, carpet, wall, etc.
Second, isolation is mainly used for all things that cannot be treated by vacuuming, heating, washing, spraying, or steaming. Primarily, isolation is applied to electronics because it is the safest way to treat them.
Third, heat treatment can be done with a few tools like a heater chamber, heater box, hair dryer, iron, etc. Here, you can use this option to kill bed bugs that hide in books, fabrics, clothes, shoes, etc. It is a completely great option to kill all eggs, nymphs, and adult bed bugs.
Fourth, steam can be done for a deep cleaning too. As long as you set the steam machine to the correct lethal temperature for bed bugs, this option will help you a lot to kill bed bugs easily at once. It is absolutely perfect for your carpet.
Fifth, hand wash is used to clean your clothes, blanket, fabrics, etc. In this option, you should use a specific detergent to kill bed bugs that you can find easily in the market.
Sixth, insecticide sprays can be used to kill adult bed bugs fast and easily. This option is completely great if you don’t have much stuff inside. So, there is less possibility for bed bugs to hide.
Natural remedies for bed bug removal in apartments
So far, there are only two natural substances that work to remove bed bugs in apartments. They are diatomaceous earth and some particular essential oils. As it is natural, you may need to wait a bit longer to make them work.
This particular powder works as a desiccant that absorbs the waxy layer, a coat that protects bed bugs, of bed bugs and cut organ inside the bugs.
Research shows that diatomaceous earth is a sharp particle that penetrates inside the bed bug body, and is stuck between the joints. So, when the bug moves, those particles will cut the organs and make bed bugs lose water. This is why bed bugs will dry and cause death.
Well, diatomaceous earth takes about 2-4 weeks to work completely because it needs bed bugs to be fully exposed and all eggs to hatch so the nymphs will be exposed too.
However, diatomaceous earth powder is also harmful to human respiration if it is exposed too much repeatedly for a long time. Therefore, due to human health, researchers also recommend how to use it safely as follows :
- Remove diatomaceous earth after the application
- Use diatomaceous earth with a bigger particle size
- Only use diatomaceous earth in a prohibited area to reduce direct exposures
- Use diatomaceous earth in baiting spots
So, if you want to use this, make sure you understand the risk and completely calculate the rationality.
Blood orange essential oils
The other natural remedy for bed bugs is essential oils. Research shows that chemical substances in essential oils like Limonene, Thujopsene, Cedrol, Thymol, Carvacrol, etc. can kill bed bugs. There, the research also shows that blood orange essential oil is the most effective essential oil to kill bed bugs.
The blood orange essential oil contains Limonene which has 66% effectiveness in killing adult bed bugs with a direct application. It takes about 1-3 days to kill all bed bugs because some bed bugs can revive and need to be treated again.
Well, there are so many other essential oils that can be used too. Other research shows that the combination of essential oils and pyrethroid insecticides in the right dose can kill about 90% of bed bugs.
So, the research still continues to find more opportunities and potential formulations to combine essential oils and other natural substances to get rid of bed bugs.
Best practices for eradicating bed bugs in apartment units
Averagely, the apartment doesn’t have a too large area with less and small stuff inside. In this case, you can apply a bed bugs interceptor that you can easily get in the market.
It is simple yet effective to control bed bugs. Current research shows that this method is 90% effective to deal with bed bugs in apartments. Here, you need to put this trap everywhere inside your apartment.
Specifically, you need to put bed bug interceptors in each of the legs of the furniture you have got inside. Also, you need to locate them everywhere inside your apartment including the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living room.
However, this method may take a bit longer because the bed bugs interceptor doesn’t kill the eggs. So, it is either you wait for the next bed bugs to be captured or you combine another method to kill the eggs completely.
Bed bug heat treatment for apartments
To kill bed bugs in the apartment with bed bug heat treatment, you can use some daily stuff that you have such as a hair dryer, iron, and steam cleaner. Those household devices are effective things to kill bed bugs.
Here, all you need to do is to set those heaters to at least 113°F (45°C) to kill both bed bugs and eggs. However, that temperature takes so long. So, to kill them instantly, you need a temperature of 122°F (50°C).
But, if you have much money to rent or buy a specific bed bug heater, you can buy a bed bug box heater. A bigger version of this tool is called a bed bug chamber heater. It depends on how many things you need to treat.
The important thing in using any of the heater devices is to understand how much temperature your things can deal with. Please remember that plastic materials, electronics, books, carpets, and fabric materials have different durability when those things are exposed to heat.
Chemical treatments for bed bugs in Apartment settings
If it is just one or a few bed bugs, you can use the bed bug spray that is available in the market. There are so many products consisting of different substances. Make sure you understand which of the chemical substances are safe for you.
The other thing you need to consider is how long and how much you are exposed to those chemical substances during the treatment. It is much better to have good air circulation or simply leave your apartment after treatment to avoid chemical exposure.
In addition, you may need to repeat the treatment since there is a possibility that there may be some eggs too. So, bed bug spray is just effective to kill adult bed bugs and nymphs.
DIY methods for getting rid of bed bugs in an apartment
No matter how hard it is, I do believe that you can do it yourself to get rid of bed bugs in an apartment. As long as you can identify them, have the right tools, and apply the right methods you can successfully kill them all.
A step-by-step guide to eliminating bed bugs in an apartment
Generally, there are three main points in eliminating bed bugs in an apartment. They are inspection, sortation, treatment, and isolation.
The most important thing to do at first is inspection. Here, your main goal is to find bed bugs in all forms including adult bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs. Here, you need to be patient because it may take time.
The most important thing here is to ensure whether there are bed bugs eggs or not. Those eggs are the most important part that needs to be treated since the upcoming life cycle starts there.
As I stated before, you need to check all the things and rooms inside your apartment.
The next thing you need to do is to sort all the things you have inside your apartment. Ensure that you do not mix the infested stuff with the clean one. It is important to put the clean stuff sealed tightly in a plastic bag to avoid bed bugs spread. Put some labels so you can recognize it.
After you separate your clean stuff from the infested one, you can decide which method is the best to treat your stuff. Here, you can apply a vacuum, heat treatment, hand wash, steam, or even natural remedies. The most important thing is not to let your stuff be broken by choosing the wrong treatment.
After the treatment, you also need to isolate your stuff tightly in a plastic bag. Do not forget to label it and it is even better to group it in an area, splitting it from the clean one that you have sealed before.
The last step of treatment is isolation. Isolation is the safest yet the longest treatment you can do. The isolation method aims to protect your stuff from the potential damage of any treatment method you choose. In this case, please remember that each treatment method has its pros and cons.
Here, you need to wait for about 4,5-6 months until all bed bugs die from drying. The goal of isolation is to cut off the nutrition and water supply for bed bugs. The biggest problem here is time because bed bugs can survive that long before they are dying and die slowly.
Dealing with bed bugs in neighboring apartments
The very first and most important thing to deal with bed bugs in neighboring apartments is to block any possible access for bed bugs to come into your apartment. Well, there are a few spots you need to focus on as follows:
- Cracks and crevices on the wall
- Any small gaps that connect your apartment to other spaces outside
Windows and doors are the most vulnerable area where bed bugs can infiltrate through any holes and small gaps there. As long as it fits, those flat bugs can crawl inside your apartment unit. Here, you can seal and set some traps and lure, so they will stay there.
Then, cracks and crevices on the wall are other important access for bed bugs. If the bed bugs come from an adjacent unit, you need to pay attention to the wall you share together with your neighbor. Don’t let any small holes crack and crevices exist. Close them.
The other thing you need to watch is any small gaps that connect your apartment to the outside such as ventilation, lamps, keyhole at the door, light switch, etc. If it is possible, seal them. Then, if it is impossible to seal those small gaps, you can seal some traps and lure.
The main point here is to completely block them. So, you can effectively do treatment inside your apartment.
Cooperative approaches to eliminating bed bugs in apartment complexes (H3)
Cooperative approaches to eliminate bed bugs in apartment complexes is necessary. It is because bed bugs spread much more easily in apartments since all the units are connected to each other. Here are some things you can do based on the guide on Vdacs.
First, the action plan to get rid of bed bugs in an apartment must cover a few aspects such as follows :
- Education for employee
- Awareness program in the community
- Bed bug reporting procedure
- A professional pest management company
Here, you need to ensure that once a report comes, then the infested unit and the adjacent unit should be inspected and treated. It aims to cut off the bed bug spread and the adjacent unit as the closest apartment unit has a more risk to be infested too.
Second, it is necessary to spread the information and educate people about bed bugs. Here are some things you can do as follows :
- Sign some posters to warn the resident about the risk of bed bugs on furniture near the dumpster. So, they will leave the furniture alone.
- Sign some posters or notes to encourage tenants to report bed bug infestations in the apartment unit they rent. Make sure they understand that it is a good thing to report it and they will not be penalized or charged for reporting it.
- Spread the copies of bed bug action plan to each resident. So, they will understand what they need to do when they find bed bugs inside their apartment.
- Warn the residents to put any bed bug-infested plastic bags in the dumpster outside. So, bed bugs will not spread from there.
Preventing bed bug infestations in apartment buildings
Bed bugs can spread so fast in apartment buildings. The connected units and some cracks and crevices between the two apartment units are the best paths for bed bugs to travel.
So, the very first thing you need to do is to isolate and limit access from the outside for bed bugs. Remember that bed bugs are so small and flat (5-7 mm) that they can even sneak in electronics at night.
Well, let’s talk about the plan to prevent bed bug infestation in an apartment.
Bed bug prevention measures for apartment dwellers
There are some things you need to do as follows :
- Isolate your apartment unit and block any access for bed bugs to come in.
- Vacuum or steam your apartment unit frequently, at least once a week.
- Reduce your stuff to destroy hiding spots for bed bugs.
- Do not ever let discarded stuff come in. Be aware of bed bugs’ eggs that may be there.
- Don’t keep your stuff under your bed. It can become a hiding spot.
- Store your stuff in a sealed plastic container. It prevents bed bugs to hide.
- Regularly check your unused clothes, blanket, fabrics, and other stuff.
- Do not ever let your clothes and luggage come in from traveling unless you wash them. There may be bed bugs from the hotel/places you visit during your trip.
- Keep your room tidy and clean.
- Be aware of people who visit and stay at your apartment. Ensure they don’t carry bed bugs inside their bags.
Cleaning and sanitation tips for apartment bed bug removal
There are a few tips you need to do while you are doing bed bug removal in your apartment.
- Wash all the washable stuff like clothes, sheets, bed covers, socks, shoes, etc. Use a specific detergent to kill bed bugs which is available in the market.
- Use a high-temperature wash and dryer. The high heat from this step helps you to kill the eggs.
- Sort, isolate, and separate cleaned stuff to prevent the spread of bed bugs.
- If you get some bed bugs during the removal process, collect them in a plastic pill bottle. Destroy them by burning or spraying.
- If you don’t want to use your infested stuff, isolate and seal them tightly in a plastic bag. Then, burn them or discard them far away in the dumpster out there.
The point here is do not let bed bugs spread and if it is possible, destroying them once you find them is much better than discarding your infested stuff without any treatment. It helps you to prevent them to spread in your community.
Well, that is all about how to get rid of bed bugs in your apartment. If you have any other tips and tricks, feel free to share them with us.