How does a tenant prevent bed bugs from entering his suite in multi family settings?

The first and most important advice is for the tenant to avoid risky behaviour. The tenant should take precautions in hotels, avoid visiting or entertaining others known to have bed bugs, avoid used furniture, and absolutely no dumpster diving. But often tenants get bed bugs in multi family settings with no fault of their own because their neighbours have bed bugs. What does a tenant do then?

The first thought of the tenant is to apply chemicals proactively and exterminators are happy to sell these products because they make money in the sale. Though there may be a few bugs dissuaded from coming under the door if a barrier of repellant pesticide is applied in front of the door these chemicals are basically a waste of time and do more harm than good. The tenant lacks the equipment and knowledge of how to apply these pesticides properly and disaster usually ensues. In my own building I have banned the use of these products. If your neighbour insists on inappropriate panic induced actions there is nothing you can do to stop the bugs from entering your suite. There are simply too many entry points to keep the bugs out. For example, if a tenant sprays “RAID” hundreds of bugs may enter the suite below through the bathroom exhaust vent.

If you have to live in a setting where your neighbors have bed bugs you can keep your bed permanently isolated with climb up interceptors or glue boards. At least then you do not have to have bugs in your bed.

Tenants should also keep track of their neighbour’s behaviour. If your neighbour is a dumpster diver, or has an inordinate number of guests, it is time you ask the landlord that these behaviours stop. If you notice lots of mattresses in the back lane, and tenants are dragging unwrapped infested mattresses down the hall, it is time to demand action from the landlord. If no action is forthcoming the best proactive step is for the tenant to move out.

Notice that the most important part of keeping bugs from infesting other suites is the management skill and effort of the landlord. An individual tenant has little power to keep from being infested and is really at the mercy of his/her neighbours. Preventing bed bug spread in multi family settings is a management issue.

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