How to prevent bed bugs in apartment

Proactive Steps to Prevent Bed Bug Infestations in Your Apartment

Avatar of author Ismael Girard
Ismael Girard
min read

Wondering how to prevent future bedbug infestations in your rental? You're not alone. Bedbugs are a common, yet often overlooked, problem in apartments across the Country. They're sneaky, hard to find, and even harder to get rid of. Fortunately for you, we're here to help!

In this text, we'll share our top tips and tricks to prevent bedbugs from turning your home into their breeding ground. Here's what we'll cover:

✔️ How to avoid bedbugs in your apartment

✔️ How most bedbug infestations starts in multi unit buildings

✔️ Responsibilities of both tenants and landlords when it comes to bedbugs

✔️ Must have anti-bedbug products for your apartment

Backed by expert advice and proven methods, we're confident you'll find our guide not only informative but also practical.

How to Prevent a Bedbug Infestation in a Rental Unit?

Implementing strategies to prevent bed bugs involves practicing strict cleanliness and maintenance in your apartment. Here are a few useful tips:

  • Regularly inspect mattresses, box springs, bed frames, baseboards and upholstered furniture for signs of bedbugs.
  • Avoid bringing used furniture or clothing into your apartment without thoroughly washing and drying them at high heat.
  • Clean and reduce clutter as bedbugs find hideouts in discarded clothes and cluttered spaces.
  • Vacuum regularly, especially your bed and upholstered furniture.
  • Keep your furniture away from walls and do not allow your beds and bedding to touch the floor. Bed bugs often hide behind wall sockets and can climb onto furniture from there.
  • Seal any cracks or openings along walls as bedbugs can navigate through them.

By adhering to these guidelines, maintaining the sanctity of your living space becomes achievable to a large extent.

Where Do Bedbugs Come From?

Bed bugs can infiltrate your home through various of ways. Primarily, they hitch rides on items such as baggage, clothing, and used furniture.

To protect against neighbor's bed bugs, seal off entry points like light sockets and cracks in the walls that may allow them to crawl from one apartment to another. Understanding the origin of these insects is crucial in cutting off their entrance pathways into your apartment.

What Do Bedbugs Look Like?

To prevent bedbugs, recognizing their appearance is critical. Bedbugs are small (about the size of an apple seed), flat, brown insects, which become reddish after using human blood as food.

Their eggs appear as tiny, white, and sticky specks attached to surfaces. Sightings of these bugs or their tiny fecal spots indicate an infestation.

How Does a Bed Bug infestation in an Rental Unit Start?

An infestation often starts when bed bugs find their way into our homes. They tag along with us on our clothing, luggage, or used furniture. Even a visit to an infested apartment or building can lead to these pests hitching a ride back to our place.

Unknowing Pathways for Bed Bugs

Bedbugs cannot fly, but they’re excellent hitchhikers. Commonly, they come into our apartments situated in our stuff after travel or hidden in used upholstered appliances. Also, in apartment complexes, bedbugs can spread from an adjacent apartment through light sockets, wall voids, or by simply crawling across the floor.

Hidden Spots for Bedbugs in Rental Units

Bedbugs are experts at hide and seek. They prefer tiny crevices in bed frames, headboards, mattresses, and box springs. But they don’t stop at the bed – these pests may also be crawling behind picture frames, electrical switch plates, wallpaper, and even inside clothing, shoes, folded areas of fabric, and clutter.

Signs of Bedbugs in an Apartment

While not always visible to the naked eye, clues of bed bugs include small reddish or rust-colored spots on bedding, tiny pearly white eggs hidden in dark spots or tiny molted skins.

Also, waking up with itchy red bites not there before bed is a sure sign that bedbugs may have chosen your unit for their new home.

Bedbug Prevention: Responsibilities for Tenants and Landlords

When it comes to the war against bedbugs in apartments, both tenants and landlords own crucial roles. It's not about pointing fingers, but about solving the problem together.

Responsibilities of Property Managers

Property managers carry the bulk of the responsibility in the prevention and treatment of bed bugs. They have multiple duties that, when carried out timely and properly, can effectively tackle this problem. Here are some key responsibilities:

  1. Education: Inform tenants about bed bug prevention. This may include distributing leaflets or holding meetings to educate tenants on recognizing hints of bedbugs. Also, provide information on actions to reduce likelihood of pest problems.
  2. Routine Inspections: Conduct regular inspections of common areas for signals of bedbugs. Use a licensed pest control professional for these inspections, and once a year for the whole building.
  3. Prompt Treatment: Have an action plan for when infestations occur. This includes developing an aggressive bedbug IPM program, with reputable pest control company on call. You also need to inform all tenants in the building of the issue and actionable steps to prevent spread.
  4. Mitigation: Carry out proactive strategies to promote bed bug-free living. This may mean using plastic covers for beds, sealing cracks and crevices, and regularly cleaning communal areas.

Responsibilities of Tenants

While landlords manage the overall strategy, tenants play a crucial role in preventing bedbugs in their individual floors. It's not only about protecting their own space, but contributing to the health of the entire apartment complex. Here are their primary responsibilities:

  1. Prevention: Tenants need to take preventative steps such as inspecting used furniture before bringing it home, washing and drying clothes and bedding in hot water or high heat to kill eggs, and regularly vacuuming to remove any stray insects.
  2. Reporting: Report any signs of bedbugs immediately to their property manager. This includes bites that appear after sleeping, sightings of these parasites themselves, or their reddish spots on bedding.
  3. Cooperation: Cooperate with property managers and pest control professionals. This may mean following instructions for pre-treatment preparation, temporarily vacating their apartment for treatment or allowing access to their floor for inspection or treatment.

7 Must Have Products to Prevent Bedbugs in Apartment Complex

Focusing on proactive measures, we've compiled a list of seven pivotal products that serve to keep bedbugs away in apartments. Our choices reflect the practicality, effectiveness, and ease of usage, bringing you one step closer to a bedbug-free living environment.

1- Mattress Encasements

Encasements are protective barriers that enclose your mattresses and bed frames completely. They're designed to trap bed bugs that may be hiding in the bed, and to prevent new insects from finding hideouts.

We recommend the SafeRest Premium Zippered Mattress Encasement, it's lab-tested to be 100% bedbug-proof and waterproof, offering an extra layer of protection against infesting parasites.

2- Alcohol Sprays

Alcohol Sprays render instant results by killing bedbugs on contact. They are perfect for treating small infested areas, upholstered furniture, and for quick treatments on travel luggage.

Brands like EcoRaider and JT Eaton are recommendations worth considering. Remember, Alcohol Sprays are contact killers, meaning they'll only kill bugs they come in direct contact with, so thoroughly spray all potential hideaways.

3- Luggage Liners

To prevent dragging bedbugs from one apartment to another or from your travels, luggage liners earn a spot in this list. They provide a blockade, limiting access to your clothing and other items.

Bed Bug Patrol Luggage Spray is a stand-out product, it's easy to use and adds minimal weight to travel gear.

4- Diatomaceous Earth

This naturally-occurring, non-toxic powder works as a bedbug killer by dehydrating them upon contact. Diatomaceous Earth, when spread around a room, on floors, and in other prominent areas, can serve as a potent bedbug deterrent. But, it must be used with caution as excessive inhalation isn't good for humans or pets.

5- Essential Oils

Ranking high for their deterrent properties, essential oils like tea tree, lavender, and peppermint can help keep bedbugs away.

They work best when regularly applied to potential hiding spaces. Eco Defense's Organic Formula is a popular implementation of these oils, savvily infused into a bedbug killer and repellant.

6- Bedbug Repellents

Bedbug repellents range from sprays to aerosol foggers, effectively creating a hostile environment and closing the door to bedbugs. They inhibit new infestations by removing conducive conditions.

Look out for products like Hot Shot's Bedbug & Flea Fogger to curb the problem swiftly.

7- Furniture Traps

Last but not least, furniture traps help intercept traveling bedbugs before they ascend onto furniture. Installed under bed and furniture legs, such products perform exceptionally well in isolating beds and other pieces of furniture from a rampant outbreak.

Brands like Climbup's Interceptor Cups lead the way in terms of effectiveness and ease of use in this category.

By wisely integrating these products into your routine, this annoying issue can be effectively dealt with and future issues prevented. To fully control these little pests, it's crucial to combine these products with regular inspections, cleanliness, and professional services as necessary.


In our previous discussions, we've underlined the challenges that bedbugs bring to apartment settings. From cleanliness to meticulous inspections, the joint efforts between tenants and landlords have proven successful.

Be sure to inspect your bedding thoroughly, and wash all your items and clothes in hot water, drying them on high heat afterward to kill any hidden bedbugs and their eggs. If signs persist, don't hesitate to reach out to professional pest control services.

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Frequently asked questions

What proactive cleanliness measures can prevent bedbugs?

Maintaining cleanliness through regular vacuuming, reducing clutter, and washing clothes and bedding at high temperatures are effective preventive measures.

What should tenants do if they suspect bedbugs?

Tenants should immediately report any signs of bed bugs to their property manager and cooperate with pest control measures.

How effective are mattress encasements in preventing bedbugs?

Encasements are highly effective as they trap existing bugs and prevent new ones from entering any part of the bed, serving as a crucial barrier.