The No-Prep Approach to Bed Bug Control

A bed bug infestation in an apartment or condo building is stressful for both residents and property managers. Not only is it inconvenient, at times stigmatizing and threatens the reputation of the property but achieving control can be costly.

On a recent Sprague Pest Solutions Spotlight Webinar Danny White of Bed Bug Central and Sprague’s AJ Treleven discussed the advantages of a no-prep approach to bed bugs in multi-family and commercial facilities.

Why does Sprague advocate a no-prep approach? After researching and testing the approach in the field, it was determined that having residents follow a pre-treatment preparation list can make the job of controlling bed bugs more difficult.

Residents removing bedding or clothing or moving furniture can disrupt bed bug infestations and cause them to disperse to areas that were not previously infested inside an apartment or condominium and worsen the problem possibly leading to a longer and costlier treatment program.

The no-prep approach lets Sprague’s technical team and service technicians bring their investigative skills to bear and help them more effectively identify, treat, and develop a customized treatment plan that correctly addresses the problem and yields the desired result.

White and Treleven referenced a Rutgers University study that found “out of 114 apartments treated for bed bugs, 95 percent were solved with no involvement from the tenant.”

They also pointed to higher client satisfaction levels with the no-prep approach.

“You’re not asking tenants and homeowners to turn their lives upside down,” said White. “Customers can easily become frustrated, disgruntled, and angry when they’re asked to do extensive preparation, and therefore are less likely to comply. Treatment with a no-prep approach can also be more effective, which will definitely satisfy customers.”

Resident Benefits of a No-Prep Approach

  • Bed bug elimination can be guaranteed with minimal or no effort of the part of residents.
  • Bed bug mattress encasements and bed bug monitors are installed with no participation required by residents.
  • Residents do not have to prepare their apartment or condo for a bed bug treatment. That means no flipping over mattresses, emptying dressers, moving furniture, or vacuuming.
  • Treleven said the no-prep approach makes communication between the service technician, resident and property manager more streamlined. He said it also allows Sprague to “stack the effects” of its bed bug management programs and bring its full lineup of treatment tools into play.

The Sprague no-prep approach includes an annual inspection and installation of interceptor monitors/traps under beds and furniture. Depending on the findings from the inspection the protocol also includes:

  • Vacuum live bed bugs
  • Steam upholstered furniture
  • Encase mattresses and box springs
  • Targeted pesticide applications
  • Follow-ups until problem resolved
  • Both White and Treleven stressed the importance of property managers implementing resident move-in and move-out programs as a preventive measure to reduce the risk of bed bugs being introduced into a unit.

The new resident move-in program includes inspecting high risk items during the move-in process and scheduling a treatment.

The resident move-out program will prevent property managers from leasing infested vacant units and leading to headaches with new residents and potential legal issues. Establishing this protocol affords property managers the chance to inspect and monitor when a lease is not renewed and have the unit treated prior to vacancy.

While the initial costs for adopting a no-prep approach and establishing new resident move-in and move-out programs is higher, the long-term financial impact swings in the favor of the property manager.

They pointed to a study conducted in a 360-unit apartment building with chronic and severe bed bugs issues where the property manager was spending nearly USD150,000 annually on treatment services.

After deploying a no-prep approach bed bug infestations reported by residents went from 72 to less than 20 in two years and expenditures on bed bug treatment drop by a third in the second year and continued to decline in the years after.

“Bed bugs were blowing the property manager’s budget out of control,” said White. “The takeaway is that a strong partnership between the property manager and pest management service provider along with implementing a proactive no-prep program pays out over the long haul in cost savings, reduction of bed bug infestations and happier residents.”

For more information on how Sprague Pest Solutions can assist you design and implement an effective no-prep bed bug management program for your apartment or condo complex or commercial facility, call 855.805.0755.

Hotels & Resorts, Bed Bugs