Bed bugs in rented accommodation

Bed bugs in rented accommodation

One of the most frequent problems faced by landlords is managing pests within a rented property, in particular bed bugs. Impossible to prevent introduction and difficult to detect at low populations, the first signs are typically from reports of bites by tenants. 
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With the constant risk of introduction from varying sources from new tenants possessions, second hand furniture, visiting guests or luggage after returning from travel, the cleanliness of a property is not a precursor to likelihood of there being a bed bug problem.      

Bed bug infestations in your rented property can be expensive and time consuming to address. Whilst there is little landlords can do to prevent bed bugs being introduced into one of their rental properties, there are ways to reduce the effort and cost to control bed bugs when they arrive. Early and reliable detection is key to this.

It is in the interest of all property managers from housing associations to private landlords to make sure that their rented buildings are free from bed bugs. Being proactive is the best way to achieve this. When a bed bug infestation problem does occur, whether it is the responsibility of the landlord or the tenant, bed bugs are always easier and more successfully controlled the earlier they are detected and action taken.  

The presence of bed bugs in rented accommodation in the United Kingdom is not covered by a specific piece of legislation. Since bed bugs do not spread any harmful disease, they are considered a nuisance pest rather than a disease vector or transmitter. It is ultimately the landlords responsibility to ensure a property is suitable for a tenant to live in, although it may vary who is responsible for monitoring, contacting the pest controller and ultimately paying the bill. What is certain is that the earlier bed bugs are detected and action taken to control them the less disturbance they will cause, higher the chance of success and lower the cost of control.

 

Why should a landlord use Nattaro Scout bed bug monitoring traps in their property?
  • Give you confidence in the status of your property and actions you are taking.
  • Early detection in rented accommodation is also important to prevent the bed bugs from spreading between rooms within the property or flats within the building.
  • Early detection and treatment is more successful and likely to be cheaper than once a larger bed bug population has become established.
  • An empty trap gives confidence no bed bugs are present (not that it is a poor quality or not correctly working trap)
  • Confirm no bed bugs present at the start of a tenancy
  • Confirm no bed bugs present at the end of a tenancy

The most effective way to manage the risk of bed bugs in rented accommodation is to have a proactive approach. There are various tools you can use to help achieve proactive bed bug management in rented properties which landlords may not have frequent access to:

  • Nattaro Scout bed bug monitoring traps. These will constantly monitor for the presence of bed bugs.
  • InsectoSec Tape for preventing bed bug population growth. Insecticide containing preventative treatment placed out of sight around a bed frame for high risk rental properties to prevent bed bug population growth after the pest has been introduced.

 

It can be very expensive to treat and infested property. Not addressing a bed bug problem early on can only make it more costly and more difficult to manage later on. The advantages of the high quality Nattaro Scout trap:

  • Unique attractant. Attracts both males and females, young nymphs and adults.
  • Volcano design to allow easy access into the trap, but unable to escape back out.
  • Lidded deign ensures bed bugs are always able to enter the trap even when the bed bug trap is placed underneath a bed mattress.
  • Easy visual identification to the presence of bed bugs within a trap.
  • Reusable trap, simply replace the attractant lure capsule every four weeks.

 

Using proactive ongoing bed bug monitoring allows a landlord to demonstrate care and support towards their tenants, and faster action to be taken when needed.

The importance of a reliable trap:

  • Gives a landlord confidence in the trap catch result.
  • A reliable trap result allows better decisions to be made.
  • Allows faster action to be taken if bed bugs are present.
  • Saves confusion from tenants correctly identify bites as those caused by bed bugs – not fleas, mosquitoes or grass seed allergy.

The risk of infestation by bed bugs to rented flat or house is constant. Whilst it would be ideal to inspect all new tenants and their property, apply regular clean up treatments and work with tenants on bed bug education, in the majority of cases this is not realistic. Bed bugs are a difficult problem to get rid of, and so it is important as a landlord to take steps to manage them as soon as possible.  

 

There are various ways bed bugs can be introduced into a rented property:

  • Brought in with new tenants furniture.
  • Brought in by guests from another bed bug infested property
  • Brought in by tenants returning from travel
  • Bed bugs relocating from a nearby infested property, for example a neighbour, via gaps in the building structure.
  • Bed bug migration from a heavily infested piece of furniture left near to the property.

If bed bugs are suspected within a rented property, an experienced professional pest controller is the best way to deal with the infestation. However, a first step a property manager can carry-out before calling the professional is to use a high quality sensitive bed bug trap such as Nattaro Scout to confirm that the bites being experienced by a tenant are caused by bed bugs and that the pest insects are present at the property. This allows the presence of bed bugs to be confirmed before any call out costs are incurred.

 

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are small brown insects between 1 and 5 mm in length. Active at night, they are very good at hiding out of sight around furniture in cracks and joins. To the untrained eye several insects can appear small and brown. To help avoid doubt, a bed bug specific trap can be used to detect bed bugs and will  help with accurate identification. In addition to the Nattaro Scout having the most attractive lure on the UK market, the trap also has a design to only allow bed bugs in so you can be confident what is caught in the trap is actually a bed bug. 

 

How to use Nattaro Scout as a tenant:
  • Ongoing monitoring to ensure early detection and rapid early (and therefore more successful) treatment
  • Monitor individual rooms to identify bed bug presence to reduce risk of bed bugs moving between rooms in the same property
  • Demonstrate end of tenancy clean premises
  • Demonstration of no be bugs at start of tenancy.

 

How to get rid of bed bugs from rented accommodation:

One bed bug is too many. Very rarely is there ever only one bed bugs. The key to bed bug monitoring is to therefore confirm yes or no to the question “Are bed bugs present?” Whether the answer is 1 or 100 bed bugs caught in a trap is irrelevant, action is needed. To reliably achieve this it is important to use a bed bug detection trap which catches bed bugs at both high and low populations, males and females, nymph and adult bed bugs. Bed bug traps should be seen as a decision supporting tool, “Are bed bugs present, and therefore do I need to do something?”, no bed bug traps control bed bugs by themselves.  

Once bed bugs are detected, it is best to get an experienced professional pest controller to eradicate them. Professional pest controllers will be able to contain the infestation and use chemicals and other products or techniques not available to others. Pest controllers will also have expertise to know where to look for the bed bugs, so that the treatment can be applied to everywhere it is needed. Before calling the pest controller however it is best to correctly identify that you have a bed bug problem. Using an accurate bed bug trap such as Nattaro Scout is a fast and cost effective way to give you confidence you have identified the correct problem you need to solve and the money you spend on the pest controller is worth spending.

Even after a professional pest controller has treated to control the bed bugs it can take a few visits for a property to be completely clear. This could be because not all of the bed bugs were contacted during the earlier visit or because of chemical insecticide resistance. This will increase the disturbance to your tenants.TO give the pest controller the best chance of quick success, early bed bug detection and action is key. 

 

Is your tenant being bitten by bed bugs?

It is difficult to determine what has caused a bite mark on skin. The most reliable way to confirm it was caused by a bed bug at your property is to catch the bed bugs. For this an accurate bed bug trap is required to reliably detect whether bed bugs are present. The Nattaro Scout is the most reliable bed bug trap on the UK market, even at low bed bug populations. This will allow you to confirm that your tenant is being bitten by bed bugs in your property and decide what action to take. 

 

Is your rental property infested with bed bugs?

Not all people react to bed bug bites, and there are various other things which can cause bed bug like bite marks to appear on skin. An accurate bed bug detection trap is the most reliable way to confirm the presence (or not) of bed bugs and therefore the action needed.

 

What can you do to spot the early signs of bed bug infestation in accommodation you are renting out?

Early action is always the best approach when it comes to managing bed bugs. Regular (ideally constant) monitoring for bed bugs with a reliable bed bug detection device such as Nattaro Scout will notify you at the earliest point when bed bugs are present and allow you as the landlord to take action.

 

What to do if you suspect bed bug infestation in rented property?

The first step is to confirm that bites experienced by tenants or insects seen are bed bugs. This should be done with a sensitive and accurate trap such as Nattaro Scout. If bed bugs are confirmed as present in the bed bug trap, the best course of action is to use a professional pest controller to treat the bed bug infestation.

 

How do I know if my tenant is being bitten by bed bugs?

There are various things that can cause marks on the skin either from bites (bed bugs, fleas, mosquitoes) or rashes (mild allergic reactions to grass seeds). The first step is to use an accurate bed bug trap to give you a reliable answer to whether bed bugs are present in your property. This will then allow you to decide what to do next.