It may surprise you that the pests people are most commonly concerned about are the least likely to be encountered within apartments and multi-family homes. Pests like bed bugs are by far the most feared pest of all pests based on a survey taken by Orkin but flies actually make the top of the list for the most common pest found in apartments and multi-family living spaces. Though you may not be able to get rid of all pests completely it’s certainly a problem worth addressing as 85% of renters have expressed encountering some kind of pest in their apartment according to the National Apartment Association. For landlords and owners, this is something worth paying attention to as pests can quickly take up residence and become a full blown infestation.
The Most Feared Common Pests
The three most commonly feared pests that tenants worry about are bed bugs, rodents and cockroaches. Bed bugs are the least likely of all common pests to be encountered among renters but that is not to say renters will go without seeing them. Bed bugs can easily travel from one space to the next. Commonly known as travel guests, people unknowingly bring these pests home from trips where they’ve stayed at hotels or other vacation rentals. Just setting down your luggage on the floor can provide these pests access to your possessions and a free ride to a new destination.
Bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed which can easily go unseen. They can hide pretty much anywhere but common places to look for them are along the seams of mattresses, around headboards and footboards, along bed frames and any furniture close to the bed. Pulling back carpet from the wall to look along the floor boards is another one of their hiding spaces. Floor, door and window moldings as well as gaps and cracks around outlets are other areas to look at.
Outside of being travel companions these pests can also enter your living quarters if used furniture that is purchased is infested without the new owner’s awareness.
The Most Likely Of All Common Pests
Flies– Flies are inevitable. If you open your doors to enter or leave your home the chances a fly will come in are highly probable. If you eat fruit and leave it out on counters, have a kitchen drain and/or garbage disposal then it’s also likely that you will come across fruit flies. House flies and fruit flies are commonly seen inside living spaces and can become a nuisance very quickly. Keeping food stored in air tight containers and screening doors and windows will help to keep these pests out but even with those precautions, you are still likely to see them from time to time.
Ants– Ants are the most common pest seen in apartments and multi-family spaces. This is because their colonies are literally everywhere with thousands of ants within each colony. These pests are typically seen inside our walls during the spring and fall months when they begin to scavenge for food that they store up for the winter. Keeping counters and floors clean as well as pantry foods in airtight containers will help reduce the odds of ants invading your space. However, ants can easily hone in on food sources and once they make it inside they leave a scent trail behind to let other ants know where the food source can be found.
Cockroaches– Now this is a pest that no one wants to see inside their abode but unfortunately they are one of the more common pests to cause problems. Hiding within walls and having the ability to squeeze through small cracks and crevices allows them to stay out of sight before one realizes how big of an infestation they have on their hands. Colder temperatures of course begin to force these pests inside but once they have made refuge they will quickly breed in large numbers and can easily move from one unit to the next.
Rodents– Rodents are disease carriers. Not only do they carry diseases harmful to humans but they can quickly destroy the structural integrity of a building leading to high replacement costs. Rodents are not a pest anyone wants to encounter within their home which means that owners and managers of multi-living spaces need to make property maintenance a top priority to aid in rodent prevention.
How To Keep Common Pests Away
One of the first things you will hear when it comes to pest preventative methods is making sure that food, water and shelter sources are well maintained. This means that all food, including pet food, should be stored in airtight containers, the perimeter of a building is sealed and that there is not any water leaking around the property or within. Leaky faucets and shower heads not only increase one’s water bill but they provide easy access for pests. Sealing a building foundation vents with heavy mesh along with even the smallest of cracks and crevices will deter rodents from entering. Cleaning up after meals by wiping counters down well with a disinfectant along with storing food away and not leaving dishes sitting in the sink will reduce the odds of pests entering your home dramatically. Ultimately, you are not wanting to give them any reason to even think about your apartment space as a place for them to eat and take shelter.
If an infestation has occurred it’s important that you contact your local pest control company as some of these pests can be harmful to humans. Even coming into contact with their feces and urine can place you at risk of disease. It’s also important to note that apartment spaces can easily allow for these pests to move from one space to the other. Just because one apartment is bombed for a pest infestation doesn’t mean that the neighbors are safe.
Why Maintenance Is Critical For Owners And Managers
Market Appeal- Due to the digital age, renters have the capacity to easily leave good or bad reviews for pretty much anything they experience. If tenants find themselves constantly battling pest control methods within their living spaces they may be more likely to leave a bad review. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take many bad reviews to tarnish one’s name or reputation. Keeping up with regular maintenance methods will not only ensure a well maintained property but can prevent bad reviews from having a negative impact.
Reduce Turnover- Most people don’t want to deal with pests but they usually tolerate them from time to time as long as the pests don’t stick around for long. However, when pests are constantly a problem for tenants the last thing they want to do is renew their lease. Keeping pests at bay through regular property maintenance and specific pest prevention methods will help keep tenants happy and likely increase renewal contracts.
Prevent High Repair Costs- Outside of paying for expected maintenance costs like sprays or pest bombs designed to kill pests; other unexpected costs like repairing structural damage, soiled insulation or damaged ductwork can also come into play and quickly add up. Pests are not just a nuisance. Pests like rodents can chew through just about anything and often destroy things that cannot be seen until further investigation. If rodents have made a home within the walls of a multi-family living unit the damage can be excessive which is why maintenance is critical for owners and managers.
Let’s face it, wherever there are people there will be pests they have to deal with. Unfortunately, there is not a way to prevent encountering pests 100% of the time, however, you can drastically reduce the chances and when it comes to apartments and multi-family living spaces this is definitely something that you want to pursue as pest problems can deter renters as tenants.