There's a chance that you may never have heard of bed bugs until a few years ago. Starting around 2010, New York City became the center of a massive bed bug epidemic. It has since started moving into other parts of the country, particularly in places where lots of people sleep, like dorms, hotels, hospitals and even apartments. Many of these bed bugs have proven resistant to traditional pesticides.
What exactly are bed bugs? They're small, parasitic insects that bite your skin and suck your blood, often leaving an itchy rash. They're nocturnal and like to hide in tight spaces. They do not transmit diseases to humans, but are notoriously hard to get rid of.
If you think you have bed bugs, and your apartment complex management is lax in handling the issue, you need to take immediate action. Odds are, your neighbors have bed bugs too because the creatures spread easily throughout buildings. You need to get in touch with the people who live near you and implore them to treat their units also. Clean up the clutter around your apartment, vacuum it thoroughly, wash your linens and clothes, and set off pesticide bombs. Steam cleaning is also pretty effective at killing them. If all else fails, you can always move.
Author's Note: Insects 5 Things Renters Should Look Out For
In my time in apartments, I've dealt with every creature on this list with the exception of bed bugs (and I hope to keep it that way.) Honestly, the worst pests I've experienced weren't insects -- they were mice. Those little jokers are notoriously hard to get rid of once they get in the walls. One summer, I caught more than 10 of them with glue traps. It was truly awful.
- Apartment Therapy. "Dealing With Flies in the Home." Apartmenttherapy.com. (July 31, 2012) http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/dealing-with-flies-in-the-home-117918
- Oh My Apartment. "How to Kill Cockroaches." Ohmyapt.apartmentratings.com. Sept. 11, 2006. (July 31, 2012) http://ohmyapt.apartmentratings.com/how-to-kill-cockroaches.html#b
- PR Web. "The Recent Bedbug Epidemic Is Spreading Nationwide Says New Report from Planet Amazing." PRWeb.com. April 24, 2012. (July 31, 2012) http://www.prweb.com/releases/planet-amazing/kill-bedbugs/prweb9430703.htm
- Rapp, Jessica. "A lesson in apartment living: The ants come marching." STLToday.com. July 6, 2011. (July 31, 2012) http://www.stltoday.com/suburban-journals/metro/article_3b86fa58-9c23-5613-978e-8734dfe91b46.html
- Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. "Bed bugs and your apartment." Citybugs.tamu.edu. (July 31, 2012) http://citybugs.tamu.edu/factsheets/biting-stinging/others/ent-3013/
What's in your typical can of bug spray? Find out how bug spray works at HowStuffWorks.