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Is this place still going to have bed bugs?
July 29, 2011 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Is it worth renting this house that used to have bed bugs?

So, yet another bed bug question. My wife and I are looking at renting a house that had a fairly recent (this year) complaint on Bed Bug Registry. We contacted that real estate agent, who said that the landlord hired a professional exterminator to deal with the bugs.

How likely is it that the problem is actually taken care of? Are there any specific questions we need to ask about what sort of extermination was done? Does anyone have experience with bed bugs staying around after a professional extermination?
posted by Bulgaroktonos to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
 
How likely is it that the problem is actually taken care of?

Not particularly. Unless you're in an area that has had serious bedbug problems -- NYC, for instance -- many exterminators don't really know how to deal with bedbugs. Spraying or setting off bug bombs doesn't work, and it takes multiple sessions over a period of time to really get rid of the fuckers.

Honestly? I would never consider renting a place with a recent complaint.
posted by griphus at 8:14 AM on July 29, 2011


Spraying once, that is.
posted by griphus at 8:15 AM on July 29, 2011


(I'm Mrs. Bulgaroktonos so I'd be moving in too) -- this is in DC in case it's relevant.

We didn't find out about the complaint until the recent bedbugs thread when I checked the bedbugregistry.com report (which I hadn't heard of until then).
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:16 AM on July 29, 2011


The problem with bedbugs is that, if any survive a treatment, they can essentially go dormant for up to a year, so you might think they're gone and then 12 months later start seeing bites when you wake up in the morning.

It typically takes multiple sessions to get rid of them for good. I've lived in an apartment building that's had bedbug problems (most buildings in my city do) and it took at least 2 or 3 shots of spraying the entire building -- including units that didn't appear to be infested -- before we finally stopped seeing them (hopefully for good).

Now, with a house, it may be a bit easier to get rid of them because you don't have to worry about new people moving in and bring them with them. And you also don't have to worry about other tenants not taking the necessary steps to prepare the place for the exterminators.

It may well be that the place is clean. But, personally, I'd be vary wary. Bedbugs are a major nuisance and trying to get rid of them is a HUGE headache. At the very least, I'd think twice about moving in to this place.
posted by asnider at 8:28 AM on July 29, 2011


Our place was treated for bedbugs almost 2 and half years ago and has been bedbug free ever since, so it can happen! If the landlord used (DC area-based) American Pest Control, their bedbug treatment has a one year guarantee.
posted by amarynth at 8:29 AM on July 29, 2011


I wouldn't rent a place with a recent complaint unless I had some inside information about how the problem was dealt with - who was the PCO they hired and what process did he use? Did the tenants keep living there? A house that had been heat-treated and where the tenants lived there for at least six months with no further problems - I'd rent there, for example.

Bedbugs can be dormant for somewhere under two years, but they're going to try to snack on any humans living there.
posted by Frowner at 8:30 AM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Run. Away.
posted by thejoshu at 8:33 AM on July 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


As someone who has never even had bedbugs but recently dealt with a tiny suspicion that our house might have them, I would recommend against it. From what I can gather, and from my experience, the itchiness of bedbugs is not the #1 worst part of having them. The worst part is always WONDERING -- I feel an itch, is that a bite? What's that tiny dark speck on my mattress? Oh god, do we have bedbugs [again]? The thing is, you will always get occasional itches and specks of fuzz on your furniture and other things that can send your internal alarms racing. Knowing that your house once had bedbugs is what makes these things stressful, and it's kind of awful to deal with. Maybe you're less of a worrier than me, but I would skip this house simply for peace of mind.
posted by vytae at 9:34 AM on July 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm not the OP but I'll follow-up; we wrote back to the guy and said no. Vytae's peace of mind argument is definitely one of the things we considered. Thanks everyone!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:58 AM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


You did the right thing.
posted by Vectorcon Systems at 10:03 AM on July 29, 2011


From what I can gather, and from my experience, the itchiness of bedbugs is not the #1 worst part of having them. The worst part is always WONDERING -- I feel an itch, is that a bite? What's that tiny dark speck on my mattress?

This is 100% accurate. Even though my building has been bedbug free for at least 6 months (longer, I think), I am always slightly paranoid now when I have an itch or see a speck of fuzz on the mattress or something. This, really, is worse than the bedbugs themselves.
posted by asnider at 10:08 AM on July 29, 2011


You did the right thing, but not for the reasons I would have.

Pesticide residues are far more dangerous than bedbugs could ever be, and if they're giving a year guarantee, there will be pesticide residues.
posted by jamjam at 12:03 PM on July 30, 2011


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