Next to you, bugs are small, but there's something about an infestation that can make you feel like you're under assault. If you live in an apartment with adjoining units above, below or beside yours, the problem may extend beyond your ability to effectively control.
This doesn't mean that it's hopeless -- only that you must wage an aggressive offense on multiple fronts to conquer the enemy. Enlist your landlord or super early in your efforts and you might save money and time.
- Try to identify the bug so you can plan a proper strategy. The most common bugs among apartment dwellers include ants, bedbugs, silverfish, roaches and spiders. Look for them or traces of them, including webs and droppings, in kitchens and bathrooms, in carpet, around windows and doors, in pantries, and in mattress seams and bedding. Once you know what bugs you're up against, reach out to the apartment manager or maintenance department. Meanwhile, you can research the best natural, mechanical or chemical solution for each pest. You might use traps, sprays, bombs or diatomaceous earth, for instance.
- Inspect your apartment for leaks and holes where the bugs might be gaining entry so that you can plug the holes with caulk or weather stripping. Check near appliances, where cords and pipes exit through a wall, and near windows and doors, including the screens. If you're not sure that a gap or hole exists, wait for a breezy day and hold a lighter against a suspected hole. If the flame flickers toward you, chances are good that you have a leak that should be plugged.
- Stay vigilant about keeping a clean and tidy apartment. Rid your apartment of paper clutter -- a natural hiding place and breeding ground for bugs. Reduce piles of paper and plastic bags. Sweep or vacuum floors and carpets regularly. And keep food off counters and garbage containers covered.
- Reach for some common household products as repellent. For example, fruit flies and other insects are repelled by the smell of white vinegar, so try placing small bowls in strategic locations. Ants dislike lavender, garlic and paprika, so try sprinkling some along their apparent trail.
- Notify your landlord of your bug infestation problem, as well as the steps you have undertaken to address it. Your efforts probably will have to be augmented by a pest control company. Since bugs can easily move from one apartment to another, the company may decide to treat nearby units as well.
If your landlord is unresponsive to your requests for help or flat-out refuses to assist you, you may have to turn to the board of health in your community or the agency that addresses tenant issues in your county.