Well, my first experience with bedbugs was when I made an appointment several years ago in Yonkers... not my area, but I would view enough properties to keep on track with that market place. A friend's son, a police officer, wanted to look at some apartments, and of course I was there to oblige. Not having seen this one apartment before, I arrived early, and decided to view it prior to his seeing it. Affixed to the door was a handwriten note - a visible plaintive cry - words to the effect that stated " Please help! We are completely over ridden by bugs, bugs in every room, everywhere. Our doctor has told us that we must have the apartment sprayed, please spray our apartment as the bugs are everywhere, and my son is covered with bites......" Well, needless to say, I took a few well placed steps backwards... called my client, and we decided not to view that apartment. I then went onto a broker's open house in my neck of the woods, and told my associates who were munching on sandwiches and Perrier what had just transpired. I saw them all visibly shrink from me and one asked if I had ventured into the apartment.., "Oh no" I replied but the little devil in me made me itch my head just a few times..
Whether we like it or not, the bed bugs are upon us, and since we are in real estate, it is something we must face, but how? A customer told me the other day that her friend bought an apartment, it is invaded with bed bugs, and she has it on the market for sale... she would not impart the building address to me for obvious reasons. I think that just as we look into cupboards for little roaches or eggs (hey - I do), we must also be attentive to other creepy crawlies. If a customer/client is purchasing a coop, then our customers/clients can ask to see the minutes as we know that subject would be brought up at a Board meeting if there was an issue. I read elsewhere that one building was demanding to go and inspect the mattresses of all apartments, and if a problem was found, then $200 would be charged to exterminate. I see all kinds of legal and insurance problems with that, but at the same time, who wants the bugs?
DDT used to used eradicate the little devils, but that is no longer allowed, and so since 1995 they have been making a comeback only not in Broadway terms... Hotels, beautiful homes, schools , colleges, stores, office buildings, all have been invaded. I just read in another article that one was found at a ‘311' center which just so happens to be the call center in that area for bed bugs! Ha! We all can recall the old ditty " Good Night, sleep tight, do not let the bedbugs bite.." but did any of us know if such a problem existed? I didn't..
I figured knowledge is power, and was dismayed to learn that they can hibernate, live for 5 days in -10 degree weather, and in short, secret themselves in bedposts, walls, crevices, and then come out to join you as you try to sleep. Fido the dog, Chaos the cat, and Benny the bug....Imagine inviting the love of your life over only to be joined by an army of bugs? Vampires are ‘in', bed bugs not. They might not affect you the same way as another... meaning it might take days before you notice a bite, or it could be hours or never. However, they are a problem, and one we must all address. I have read that placing covers on beds can help a little but if they find themselves in crevices and bedposts.... Who are we kidding?
Did you know there are bed bug canines? They will sniff out the bed bugs in 2 minutes!
Bed bugs feed every 7-10 days with 1-3 bites per feeding? (Come on, now - no one on a binge - go for the 5th bite -who is looking?). There are companies that are offering environmentally safe solutions...so be aware of what is available and where you can direct customers/clients if a problem is encountered.... but when I see the photos of a white mist being sprayed over a bed..... I am feeling itchy already! Where is my Albuterol? So, my point? Ask the right questions on behalf of your customers and clients, and ......... (sorry, I had an itch) tread carefully and if you don‘t wear glasses for vanity reasons... now is a good time to start wearing them!
Gay E. Rosen