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How to Prevent Apartment Pest Problems in Advance

By Chris Williams on November 16, 2016.

I’m getting ready to move into my first apartment and I’m a little worried about getting bugs, especially from the neighbors. What kind of pests can I expect and what can I do about them? W. P., Peabody, MA

Anytime you live as close to your neighbors as you do in an apartment, you can expect them to share certain things: noise, smells, and sometimes pests. The level of this sharing will depend on the quality of both your apartment building and your neighbors.

Cockroaches and Mice Top the Apartment Pest List

Cockroaches, specifically German cockroaches, are still the number one apartment pests, although in some buildings, bed bugs are gaining ground (see link below). Mice can become a real problem in apartments if they are initially overlooked and unreported. Likewise, ants can be nuisance pests in apartments, as can miscellaneous flies. All of these pests can easily be controlled in apartments if caught early, but all can easily reproduce in apartments if ignored.

Anyone in the pest control business will tell you that the primary cause of pest problems in apartment buildings is a failure of residents to report problems to management. Most apartment buildings have exterminators on contract and on call to regularly address and treat pest problems. However, if a resident doesn’t report a problem, it goes untreated, and pests can multiply and spread throughout the building.

Apartment Pests Often Migrate to Neighboring Units

Some progressive apartment buildings are designed and built with limiting pest movement in mind. Door thresholds are installed and gaps and openings around pipes and lines are sealed. But it seems that in some buildings, gaps are purposely left underneath doors so that management can deliver notices. Any one of the pests mentioned above can easily crawl under the door of an infested apartment, cross the hall or follow the wall, and enter under the door into a neighboring apartment. Pests can also move next door and to floors above and below through wall voids, pipe chases, trash chutes, or by following utility lines.

Don’t panic. Not every apartment building has pest problems. Whether or not yours does depends on who your neighbors are, the level of cooperation from tenants in your building, follow-up from management, and the expertise of the exterminator. The main thing you can do to prevent pests in your new apartment is to be diligent. Small sticky trap monitors can be useful as early warning alerts that pests are present. At the first sign of a pest, notify your property office and ask to have the exterminator inspect your unit.

If your entry door doesn’t have a threshold or sweep at the bottom, see if you can install one yourself. Sanitation and proper food storage is of prime importance. Never leave food out at night and keep garbage in tightly sealed containers.

P.S. Make sure your new apartment has been treated for pests while empty. It’s generally standard procedure to have the exterminator treat a vacant unit after previous tenants move out and before new tenants move in. Take a look around before you begin unpacking.

Here’s more on managing pests in apartments:

Photo Credit : Pixabay

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