Bed bugs have been heavily featured in the news over the past few months as they seem to have become more prevalent than at any time in modern history. While winter seems to be their favorite time of year, warmer weather can also bring them out. As a landlord, it is your job to ensure your properties are free from these annoying creatures. However, unless you have dealt with them before, you may not know what signs your tenants may have an infestation.
No one should ever wake up to find there are blood stains on the bedsheets. However, when one of your tenants calls to complain that this is what they keep seeing, along with bites all over their bodies. Worth noting is that these rust colored stains are more than likely not blood but are actually bed bug excrement. The stains can also be found on furniture, walls, and clothing.
Bed Bug Excrement
Whereas blood stains tend to be redder in color, bed bug excrement is more likely to be very dark in color or black. The reason for this is that bed bug excrement stains tend to contain partially digested blood that will smear when wiped with a damp cloth. The stains tend to appear in clusters and appear along the seams of the mattress, edges of the box springs, and in the corners where bed bugs like to hide.
Groups of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs can be hard to spot, they are oval in shape, light or reddish brown in color, and very small, making them very hard to spot. They feed at night and move around very quickly. Like many small insects, they like to hang around together in clusters until the neighborhood gets too crowded. They are also very good at hitching a ride and can be found virtually anywhere such as clothing, backpacks, purses, even cell phones.
Three Meals a Day
Most people will not feel when they are being bitten by a bed bug as the insect secrets a tiny amount of anesthetic via their saliva when they bite. In many cases, it can be hard to distinguish bed bug bites from those from any other biting insect. However, insect experts say that bed bugs tend to bite in lines of three or as they refer to it, “breakfast, lunch, and dinner.” The bites cause small red welts to appear that will become itchy once the anesthetic wears off. The welts will eventually blister and can occur anywhere on a person’s body or face.
Bed Bugs Shed
Over the course of a bed bug’s life, it will shed its outer skin five times as it becomes an adult. The discarded skins appear as a clear exoskeleton and may show up in box springs, inside books, wood bed frames, carpets, inside electronics like phones, radios or televisions, and many other locations around the home.
If your tenant complains of having bed bugs, you need to keep them involved in the resolution process. There are a number of over the counter solutions available that will safely kill them. If you are not successful in treating them yourself, you may need to call in the services of a professional exterminator. It is your job as a landlord to help your tenants get rid of these noisome creatures before they have a chance to spread.