Bed bug infestations have become a serious problem in housing throughout the country. This Notice provides information and references to best practices regarding the prevention and control of bed bug infestations. It also provides guidance on the rights and responsibilities of HUD, Owners and Management Agents (O/As) and tenants with regard to bed bug infestations.
After a long absence, bed bug infestations are a growing problem in the United States today. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), bed bug populations have increased dramatically. Bed bugs are considered a pest of significant public health importance by the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although the insects are not known to transmit disease, bites may itch and cause an allergic reaction in some people, which may lead to secondary infections. The presence of bed bugs can also cause stress or anxiety.
Experts suspect the resurgence is associated with greater international and domestic travel, lack of knowledge regarding the complex measures needed to prevent and control bed bugs, changes in pesticide availability and technology, and increased resistance of bed bugs to available pesticides. Bed bugs are not an indicator of poor sanitation, but excess clutter can provide them more places to hide, making early detection and targeted control difficult.
HUD has received numerous reports of bed bug infestations in Multifamily properties in various regions. HUD is working closely with other federal agencies to develop and share best practices for preventing and controlling bed bugs.
According to the EPA, principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for bed bugs include:
- Raising awareness through education on prevention of bed bugs;
- Inspecting infested areas, plus surrounding living spaces;
- Checking for bed bugs on luggage and clothes when returning home from a trip;
- Looking for bed bugs or signs of infestation on secondhand items before bringing the items home;
- Correctly identifying the pest;
- Keeping records – including dates when and locations where pests are found;
- Cleaning all items within a bed bug infested living area;
- Reducing clutter where bed bugs can hide;
- Eliminating bed bug habitats;
- Physically removing bed bugs through cleaning;
- Using pesticides carefully according to the label directions; and,
- Following up on inspections and possible treatments.
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