Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ask Mr. Pest Control!

Servall Pest Control bringing you another great Q&A session from ask Mr. Pest Control!
Is there any precedent by landlords to check prospective tenants' bedding & furniture for bed bugs before signing a lease? Or, are there any Pest Control firms offering such pre-rental services?


Well now, this is an interesting question for several reasons. One is that it suggests another possible service that PMP's could offer to their customers, or potential customers. Since a properly trained PMP should know how to inspect things for the presence of bed bugs much more so than the manager of an apartment complex, perhaps this could be a valuable service to offer. I really do not know if any pest control companies currently do this for their areas, but this issue was brought up at the recent NPMA Conference during some of the talks on bed bugs. At the very least the owners and managers of apartments had better be acutely aware of the whole bed bug issue, and the possibility that incoming tenants could be importing the bugs, and they had better have some protocol in place for ensuring the bugs do not get into the apartment alive.

Suggestions included a standard policy of fumigating or heat treating all possessions of new tenants. A response to this, naturally, was that a policy like this is bound to get some harsh complaints of profiling or abuse by suggesting that a new renter might have bed bugs. I'm sure plenty of attorneys would happily push this kind of lawsuit. Of course, if nothing is done and the management allows bed bug infested tenants to move in without stopping the problem all the existing tenants will sue the management for failing to act. Something about a rock and a hard place. But, whether this precedent is there or just ought to be there, it is something that needs to be done. Even the tenant who goes on vacation and comes home with infested suitcases could be the one now giving every other tenant bed bugs. How do you prevent this without trampling on the civil rights of those tenants? At the least you, the PMP who handles the account, could provide training and education to all the tenants (and charge for the service of your time) so they become well aware of the problem.

It goes way beyond just apartments. Every hotel had better have strict guidelines in place too, and this is another add-on service PMP's can offer. We can train the housekeeping staff on how to inspect for presence of bed bugs after each customer leaves a room, in case that customer brought some bugs in with him. They can be trained on how THEY themselves can prevent carrying bed bugs home with them in their clothing or possessions. On that note, does every pest control company out there train their employees on how to keep from taking bed bugs into their own home? They had better do this.

I recently had a cable "box" for my TV replaced by the cable company, and I asked the technician if that company had a policy on dealing with these boxes that are returned to their shop. Remember back in the old days when we worried that German roaches could be inside cable boxes and transferred to another place when that box was re-used? Well, now it's bed bugs that could be in that box, along with eggs glued to the inside of the box. The cable companies had BETTER address this and decide how they are going to treat those boxes before they take them into their own shop or place them in a second home. All they need is for the media to get wind that they are giving people bed bugs and they are going to have a problem on their hands.

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