How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

When I was little, my parents used to tell me to not let the bed bugs bite when they would tuck me in at night. Back then, the phrase was almost comforting, and I didn’t think much of it. After all, I didn’t know exactly what they were.

Now that I’m older and know that bed bugs are very real, that statement suddenly comes with a much scarier connotation. The last thing I want to think about before I shut my eyes is sleeping with bed bugs.

If you don’t already know what a bed bug is, they’re small, brown insects that resemble an apple seed. They feed off of the blood of other animals and humans, so they definitely don’t make for good bunkmates.

Here’s a brief guide on bed bug prevention and how to get rid of them if you have an infestation:

1. Buy Encasements for Your Bed

Purchasing an encasement for your bed and box spring won’t necessarily prevent bed bugs from getting to your mattress, but it does make them easier to get rid of. The encasement stops the bugs from being able to get inside the mattress, forcing them to crawl on the exterior.

This makes the bugs very easy to spot, and you can then take the proper steps to get rid of them, which I’ll get to later.

2. Be Careful About Returning from Vacation

It can be easy to pick up bed bugs when you travel, as they tend to hide in hotel mattresses and box springs. Therefore, it’s best to unpack your suitcase somewhere other than your bedroom.

Throw all of your clothes directly into the wash, and make sure to vacuum your suitcase before putting it back into storage.

3. Regularly Wash Sheets and Clothing

While bed sheets can be a pain to take on and off, you should still wash them once a week. Dust, debris, and sweat can build up over time, and washing the sheets frequently in hot water kills those germs and potential bed bugs.

If there are any stains or spots, use a damp cloth and some upholstery shampoo to remove them. Make sure to wring out the cloth, as you don’t want to soak the mattress – this will only damage the padding and attract mold and bacteria.

4. Make Sure You’re Dealing With Bed Bugs

Don’t jump to conclusions if you wake up with a bite. There could be other insects responsible, like mosquitos, spiders, fleas or ticks. It’s important to know how to identify a bed bug. Typically, they’re the size of an apple seed, brown in color and have a flat, oval-shaped body.

They may be more reddish-brown if they recently ate. You should also look for bed bug eggs, which are pearl white and the size of a pinhead. If you’re still unsure what insect you’re dealing with, you can call pest control to help figure it out.

5. Clean Your Bedding

If you do discover that you have a bed bug infestation, the first step is to clean all of your sheets, pillows, blankets, clothing, etc. Put everything in the washer in hot water, and dry them on the highest dryer setting as well.

Next, scrub your mattress (especially the seams) to get rid of the bed bugs and any eggs that may be there. After scrubbing, vacuum all surfaces of your room. When you’ve finished, take out the vacuum bag, put it inside a resealable container and set it in a garbage can outside. You don’t want any bed bugs escaping back into your room.

6. Hire Pest Control

While you can certainly clean up infested areas, getting rid of bed bugs for good typically requires the use of chemical treatments. Using chemicals on your own can be tricky, because not all treatments are safe for your mattress, or you, for that matter. You may want to call a pest control professional to ensure you exterminate your bed bugs properly.

It’s worth it to pay a professional to get it done, as you’ll rest easy knowing those pests won’t be returning. Make sure to choose the proper professional by going through dependable referral directories.

Any good company will give you a quote before treatment, so you know exactly what you’ll have to pay. These pest experts may also fill you in on how to prevent bed bugs in the future and work with you until your bug problem is completely gone.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Uses for aluminum foil

Aluminum foil is a Penny Hoarder’s BFF when it comes to preserving leftovers. But if you’re just using that handy foil to wrap up day-old food, you’re totally missing out on so many other uses for this extraordinary kitchen standby.

The Many Uses of Aluminum Foil

You might be dating yourself if you are still calling the shiny workhorse “tin foil” though it’s not uncommon to hear that phrase used. Foil was made of tin until after World War II when the stronger and cheaper aluminum became widely used. Now you know. Read on for 10 clever money-saving ideas.

1. Sharpen Scissors

Don’t toss a pair of dull scissors or pay someone else to sharpen them. Sharpen scissors with aluminum foil, says Rachel Timmerman, a Virginia blogger with The Analytical Mommy. Fold a piece of 10-by-10-inch aluminum foil three times. Then, cut the foil about 20 times with the scissors to make them as sharp as the day you bought them.

2. Substitute for Dryer Sheets

Crumble a ball of foil and toss it into your dryer, says Gladys Connelly, technical writer for The HouseWire, a product review site. This works exactly the same as a dryer sheet would, Connelly says. “It eliminates static and fluffs up your clothing,” she says. Spray lavender oil or your favorite scent into the middle of the aluminum sheet before you crumple it to make the foil smell just as good as a dryer sheet, Connelly recommends.

3. Lower Your Heating Bill

If you have cast-iron radiators, you can DIY a heat reflector out of aluminum foil. Tape some heavy-duty aluminum foil to a piece of cardboard with the shiny side up. That’s literally it. Place the heat reflector behind your radiator or under the radiator’s top. The heat waves will naturally bounce from the foil into the room instead of going into the wall behind the radiator.

4. Cover Your Paint Tray

Don’t toss your plastic paint tray after each use. Keep the tray clean by wrapping it in aluminum foil. When you’re done, just pull off the foil and your paint tray will look as good as new, Connelly says.

A woman uses aluminum foil to get gel nail polish off her nails.
Getty Images

5. Remove Gel Nail Polish

You can’t use acetone and a cotton pad to remove gel nail polish. Instead, you’re supposed to soak your nails in acetone. But it would be wasteful to use a bowl of acetone just to remove the polish. So Malaika Desrameaux, a Miami content creator with Self Care Sunday Love, figured out an aluminum foil method. 1. File the tops of your gel nails to get rid of the glossy layer. 2. Soak a cotton ball with acetone and put the cotton ball over your nail. 3. Wrap your nail (with the cotton on top) with a 3-by-5-inch piece of aluminum foil. 4. Repeat on all fingers, and let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes. 5. Remove cotton and aluminum foil, and peel off the gel nail polish.

6. Polish Silver

No need for a special polish or even any elbow grease to make Nanny’s heirloom silverware gleam again. Place a sheet of aluminum foil into a pan, add cold water and 2 teaspoons of salt. Put silver into the pan, and leave it for two minutes. Rinse off with water and let it dry. The aluminum causes a molecular reaction, cleaning the silver for you.

7. Clean Jewelry

Similar to the process for polishing silver, you can use aluminum foil to clean jewelry by creating an ion exchange (a molecular reaction with the aluminum). Place aluminum foil in a bowl, and fill the bowl with hot water and 1 tablespoon of bleach-free powdered laundry detergent. Soak jewelry in the solution for one minute, rinse with water and air dry.

8. Battery Replacement

You’re desperate for a battery to fire up the flashlight. Try aluminum foil, says Melanie Musson, a home safety expert with US Insurance Agents. “If your flashlight requires two C batteries but you only have one, you can fill the empty space with compacted foil,” Musson says. It may not be at full strength, but you’ll have a little light to get you by.

9. Garden Buddy

Aluminum foil will miraculously improve your green thumb. Birds are afraid of the shiny foil because of the noise it makes. So tie foil strips around the branches of your fruit trees, you’ll keep the birds from nibbling at the bounty. Same goes for mice and rabbits. These creatures don’t like the feel of the aluminum foil, so placing bits of it on your shrubs serves as a natural deterrent. Bugs bugging you and eating your plants? Nestle foil with soil or stones at the base of plants. Or mix some strips of aluminum foil in with your mulch. In both cases, the foil will keep the moisture in your soil and prevent the weeds from growing while keeping the pests at bay.

10. Custom Cake Pan

Don’t run to the store every time your child wants a cake that looks like something other than a rectangle. Need a dog-shaped pan? A heart pan? Make the shape out of heavy-duty aluminum foil, and place your DIY foil creation into a baking pan big enough to accommodate the shape.

11. Grill Cleaner

Don’t bother purchasing pricey grill scrubbers when a rolled up ball of aluminum foil works perfectly well, Connelly says. The foil ball should be large enough – about 3 inches around – to hold comfortably with tongs (remember that the grill is hot). Grab the foil ball with the tongs and swipe back and forth across the grate before it has cooled. Food bits will be easier to remove when the grate is warm. If you already have stubborn burnt food on the grill, then put a piece of aluminum foil on the grate, and close the grill. Turn on the heat and let it run for a few minutes. Then, remove the foil, turn off the heat and try the original cleaning method. It should be easier now because the foil sheet trapped the heat to help loosen any stubborn debris.

12. Ironing

Aluminum foil is a natural heat reflector. So if you place a piece of it under the cover of your ironing board, the aluminum foil will speed up your ironing time.

Danielle Braff is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.



Source: thepennyhoarder.com

How to Make a Great First Impression in your Apartment

You only get one chance to make a first impression.  Here’s how to make your apartment’s first impression count, when someone special comes to visit.

What to throw out

You might not notice any longer, but trash can smell pretty bad, especially if there’s meat or fish scraps, pet clean-up, cigarettes or diapers in it.  Empty your trash. From every room. It only takes a few minutes and you might save yourself some embarrassment, or – even worse – a bad impression you don’t even know you’ve made.

What to wash 

Stinky laundry can also kill your mojo, so suck it up and run a couple of loads.  This is especially relevant to towels and washcloths which haven’t been washed in a while, or any laundry which has been left to soak for too long in the washer. Bad news.

Hot Tip: Sneakers or any kind of athletic or hiking shoe can also harbor some wicked smells.  At the very least, put them away or outside where they won’t be seen (and smelled!)

What to tidy up

Pick up any clothes laying around. Look at your piles – of mail, or folders, or paperwork – and at least straighten the piles. Check the floor and countertops for dead bugs and remove them. Sweep the kitchen floor. Run the vacuum, especially if you have a pet, and check the sofa cushions for pet hair, food or worse.

Now look around at what’s hanging on your walls, or laying on your tabletops.  What might someone surmise about you by looking at these items?  Are they offensive?  Do they reveal a bad habit or a nefarious past?  How could you put your best foot forward without going overboard?

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What you might need to buy

You’re entertaining – even if on a simple level – so have some nice glassware,  and at least one thing to drink besides water.  Cocktail napkins are nice but not necessary. If you’re entertaining near a mealtime, it’s always a good idea to have a snack, but you’re better off with nothing than you are in offering stale crackers or some old leftovers.  A bowl of nuts is an easy option, as is a bowl of grapes or pitted olives.

Don’t forget the bathroom 

Clean the sink and hide the tub.  Empty the bathroom trash – it can be disgusting as well as revealing.  Put away your medicines.

Make sure you have toilet paper and a hand towel of some kind in the bathroom. If the words “hand towel” blow your breakers, then buy some disposal towels and put them in there. Soap also says you care, as do tissues.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Natural Remedies for Roaches: 8 Prevention Methods to Try

The survival skills cockroaches have are amazing. They can continue living, for a short time, without their heads. They can hold their breath underwater for 40 minutes. They can run up to three miles in a single hour.

This is all great for roaches (and pretty interesting too) — until the ugly bugs infest your apartment. Once they’ve made their way into your home, all you want to do is get rid of them. But, before you make an appointment with an exterminator, consider an organic, DIY approach. Use one of the many natural remedies for roaches to keep them away.

CockroachCockroach

How to get rid of cockroaches

Once you’ve established you’ve got unwanted visitors, whether you’ve seen roaches or just their nasty trails, it’s time to consider how you want to get rid of them. You can use chemicals to do the job, but if you have pets or young children or you’re sensitive to certain products, going natural might be a better option.

When it’s time to get rid of unwanted insect visitors, look to your pantry first, you might already have some of these natural remedies for roaches ready to go.

1. Sugar

This is an example of using something sweet to lure cockroaches to their demise. You just have to add a little something extra. Mix one part powdered sugar with three parts boric acid. The sugar brings the bugs in — the boric acid takes them out.

Boric acid isn’t toxic to people or pets, but it can irritate skin. When putting this mixture down, avoid counters and stick to the hidden spots roaches can use for hiding places. Good spots are behind appliances, under the sink and in any cracks along the edges of cabinets.

If either ingredient isn’t readily available, this is a versatile recipe, so you can swap out ingredients to achieve the same effect. Instead of powdered sugar, you can use peanut butter or jelly. You can also replace the boric acid with food-grade diatomaceous earth.

soapy water, one of the natural remedies for roachessoapy water, one of the natural remedies for roaches

2. Soapy water

If you spot a cockroach and want to kill it without having to get close enough to step on it, keep a spray bottle of soapy water handy. Use diluted dish soap so that whatever surface it gets on also gets clean (an added bonus).

Spraying this mixture directly onto a roach makes it impossible for the bug to breathe. It clogs up their skin, which is how they take in air. It may take an extra little bit to do the trick, and you still have to dispose of the roach but hey — it won’t head back to hang with its buddies.

3. Coffee grounds

This easy-to-find food staple helps make a perfect cockroach trap. They serve as bait to bring the roaches in and are non-toxic for every other member of your home. To make a trap, all you need is a glass jar, coffee grounds and water.

To build your trap:

  • Fill a large glass jar about halfway with water.
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of moistened coffee grounds.
  • Place the jars as close to potential nesting spots as possible.

The roaches will come in to check out the coffee, climb into the jar and get stuck and eventually drown. Then, dump the entire contents of the trap into the toilet for a goodbye flush.

Lemon, one of the natural remedies for roachesLemon, one of the natural remedies for roaches

4. Lemon

While lemon won’t work on its own to keep roaches away, using lemon-scented cleaners around your home can have a big impact on keeping the place cockroach-free.

A clean home is the best way to avoid an infestation, and the scent of a lemon actually works to keep a variety of insects from wanting to live in your place.

For an easy, all-purpose cleaner you can make at home, you only need two ingredients — citrus peels and vinegar. To make:

  • Fill a glass jar with clean, chopped-up lemon peels.
  • Pour white vinegar over the peels to submerge them and seal the jar.
  • Let the mixture sit for about four weeks, shaking it regularly.
  • Strain out the peels and put the liquid into a spray bottle.

This will keep countertops, appliances, floors and glass all clean and smelling great, while also helping you deal with the cockroaches.

Make sure to clean your place regularly, focusing on areas like the kitchen and dining room. Roaches love crumbs and can smell food if packages get left open in your pantry. It’s also a good idea to empty your trash regularly to keep food odors out of your home.

5. Plants

Another big attractor for roaches is moisture. One way to deal with excess moisture in your home is to check your pipes regularly for leaks, but sometimes it’s a matter of high humidity. To deal with this, consider buying a few house plants.

You’ll need a specific type, epiphytes like ferns, orchids and cacti. These are special plants that work as a natural dehumidifier, pulling water from the air to keep themselves hydrated. They’re easy to care for and will help reduce moisture levels in your home.

Place one in every bathroom, on a screened-in porch, or anywhere where the air feels heavy. They won’t repel cockroaches themselves but will help take away a serious temptation for the bugs to come into your home.

onions, one of the natural remedies for roachesonions, one of the natural remedies for roaches

6. Onions

This is maybe the strangest of the natural remedies for roaches, but it uses ingredients you’re bound to have at home right now. All you need is an onion and baking soda. Again, the food attracts hungry insects, and the baking soda does the dirty work.

To set this up:

  • Dice up about half an onion.
  • Sprinkle baking soda over it.
  • Place on a small paper plate anywhere roaches may hide overnight.

Since roaches prefer the dark, you’ll most likely “feed” more if you wait until evening to put out your trap. It’s also best to do it when there’s minimal risk of running into the nasty guys yourself.

7. Cornstarch

When you need to cover up cracks to keep the roaches away, this remedy is a great choice. Not only will it fill the space to let fewer roaches through, but it will also kill any of them who eat it.

Mix equal parts of cornstarch and Plaster of Paris to make a powder you can sprinkle anywhere. Don’t activate the Plaster of Paris with water beforehand. The roaches do that after they eat the concoction when they drink water. It’s the mixing in their stomach that ultimately kills them.

It’s important to note that Plaster of Paris is a toxic ingredient and dangerous for children and pets. Using this recipe specifically in cracks helps keep it away from everyone but the roaches.

Peppermint oilPeppermint oil

8. Peppermint

Roaches hate the smell of peppermint. They’ll avoid it like the plague. It can also actually harm them if they come into contact with it. Spraying a mixture with peppermint oil directly onto roaches can mean lights out, but that’s only if you see the invaders around.

You’ll have more success using mint as a repellent, targeting areas near where you think roaches are hiding. To make a mint-infused spray:

  • Mix two parts water with one part white vinegar into a spray bottle.
  • Add about 10 drops of peppermint oil.
  • Shake up and spray.

Chemicals aren’t required to keep the roaches away

The question is never if you’ll see a roach in your apartment, but rather when. They’re out there, and there’s a lot of them, but knowing how to repel them and say good-bye for good means you don’t have to live with them. Us

ing natural remedies for roaches allows you to live insect-free without having to buy harsh chemicals or spend money on an exterminator. Just make sure you’re targeting the right areas. Roaches love to live in places like boiler rooms, basements, crawl spaces, steam tunnels, drains and sewers. Happy hunting!

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Source: apartmentguide.com

How to Keep Bugs Out of Your Apartment

Whether or not you’re afraid of tiny critters, nobody wants to find an unwelcome little guest in your apartment. And it can be difficult to keep bugs away, so we’ve found a few ways to prevent bugs from settling in your home.

Check entrances

This means all entrances that bugs can use, not just the door that humans walk through. Make sure that all of your doors, windows, walls and pipes that tiny bugs use to access your home are sealed and have no cracks.

This is especially important if you live in an older place. If the windows frames are old, they often start to separate, leaving cracks. You should also check the weather strip at the base of your door to make sure it fills in the whole space. Add screens to windows and doors – especially if you ever leave them open – as an extra precaution.

Choose plants wisely

While most plants are bound to attract bugs, some attract more than others. Make sure that when you choose a plant, either indoor or outdoor plants, research it to make sure it isn’t appealing to insects. Avoid any type of shrubbery (they attract loads of bugs) and use a safe garden insecticide for extra insurance.

Take out the trash

Don’t let your trash overflow. If anything lands on the floor and isn’t cleaned up regularly, bugs will find it. Try to keep your trash cans clean, as well—wash them out every few weeks to make sure there isn’t anything left that will attract all the pests.

Diatomaceous earth

Don’t be afraid of the name – this is one of the best solutions for most bug problems. It’s a natural product that comes in the form of a white powder and is made from the remains of marine phytoplankton. It has a unique particle structure that’s rough and spiked and harmful to tiny bugs.

There are two kinds of diatomaceous earth – food grade and non-food grade. For the purpose of keeping bugs out, they work just the same. The best part about using food grade diatomaceous earth is that it’s safe for mammals. In fact, you can eat it and be just fine. If you have children or pets around, this is the safest solution for preventing a bug invasion.

Insecticide

Although you may not want to deal with a bad smell and weird chemicals, bug spray is such a popular solution for a reason – it works. If you’ve tried everything and had no success, you may have to resort to the method that stands the test of time. There are safer organic insecticides if you don’t want a strong chemical-based one.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

6 Proven Ways to Get Rid of Ants in Your Apartment

You’re cooking up your favorite recipe in your apartment when all of a sudden – ants. You see ants lining up all over your counters and no matter how many you get with the so-called killer spray, they keep coming.

Instead of calling your landlord to ping the exterminator and waiting forever while watching the ants take over, you can try to get rid of them on your own. Watch the ants’ patterns before smashing them and try these six proven ways to get rid of them.

1. Clean, clean, clean

clean kitchenclean kitchen

Before you start any method to get rid of ants, you’ll need a blank slate. This seems obvious, but sometimes, a few unseen food crumbs or small spills can be the culprit.

Spend a weekend afternoon deep cleaning your apartment – sweep and mop all corners, take out the trash, clean out the inside of your trash can and clear out all food from counters. Lastly, spray any places where you’ve seen ants before – yes, they leave a scented trail for others to follow – with a one part vinegar with three parts water mixture in a spray bottle.

2. Lemon juice

lemon juicelemon juice

Lemons are incredibly useful beyond cooking. They can be used for cleaning as well as deterring ants from setting up shop in your kitchen. Squeeze a few lemons into a spray bottle and find any holes and cracks around your apartment where the ants may be sneaking through, followed by sealing them with caulk. The acid deters them as it messes with their tracking and encourages them to go elsewhere.

Lemon juice also works against roaches and fleas, as they hate the smell.

3. Cinnamon oil

cinnamon oilcinnamon oil

Grab a Q-tip dipped in high-concentrated cinnamon oil and draw borders around the apartment’s entry points and common areas where the ants are entering the home. It’s been proven by a 2014 study that it helps repel and even exterminate ants.

4. Peppermint oil

peppermint oilpeppermint oil

Grab a bottle of peppermint essential oil and add about 15 to 20 drops (plus a few of lemon oil if you have it) into half a cup of water in a spray bottle. Shake the bottle hard to mix everything and spray along the baseboards, any ant trail spots you’ve seen in the past and all entry points. Repeat every few days until the ants are gone. Peppermint also deters other pests like cockroaches – and even mice.

5. Chalk lines

chalk lineschalk lines

Chalk isn’t only good for the classroom. While a very temporary solution, drawing a chalk line outside your windows and around door frames and other entry points can disrupt the ant scent trail and warn them not to come in. You can pick up chalk paint in a squeeze bottle at your local hardware store.

In combination with another deterrent, it should keep the pests at bay while you wait for the landlord’s chosen exterminator to show up and review the situation.

6. Hunt down the nest, if all else fails

ant nestant nest

If you tried addressing your ant infestation with all of the above methods, then you’ll need to wait for reinforcements. The problem may be bigger than just your apartment. Let the apartment complex’s exterminator know the solutions you tried, ask if other tenants are having issues and if they suspect there’s an ant nest nearby.

Ants prefer damp areas like flooring with water damage, so be sure to check your walls and ceilings for any water leaks and alert the pest control team.

Other bug problems? Check out 10 Household Bugs and Natural Remedies for Ridding them or How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

How to Find Where Cockroaches are Nesting in Your Apartment

We all deal with cockroach infestations from time to time. If you see a cockroach in your apartment, it’s likely that there’s more than one lingering around. Cockroaches take up occupancy in places such as shelves, boxes and magazines to protect themselves from humans.

People also frequently find them in their garages or basements where there’s a lot of clutter. But before you call in the exterminator, there are a few things you can do to solve the issue yourself. It’s essential that you first find out where the cockroaches are nesting in your apartment.

Let there be light

If you find a cockroach in your apartment, it’s safe to say you’re probably dealing with some sort of infestation. To find out where the cockroaches are nesting, you can use lights to get a general idea.

Flipping the lights on and off in a dark room and observing where the creatures run will let you know where the nest location is. You can use a flashlight or your phone flashlight to look under furniture and other areas of clutter.

You also want to make sure to look behind walls to see if roaches are nesting in them. If you find any roaches during this process, use a vacuum to suck them up.

Beware of other nesting signs

Live roaches are obvious, but you’ll also find signs of cockroach nests and this is what you want to pay attention to. Look for cockroach feces, which look like small black spots – kind of like black pepper.

If you see feces, it’s a sign that you’ve got a lot of roaches in your apartment. If you consistently smell something bad, that might also be a sign of a cockroach infestation. They give off a poor, musty-smelling scent.

Other signs of nesting include skins and remains of roaches on your floors. Any kind of remains or feces is an unfortunate sign that there are cockroaches nesting in your apartment.

Process of elimination

To locate and eliminate the cockroach nests, you can put out sticky traps. Your trap will fill up quickly if you’re in a prime nesting area. If it doesn’t, you may not be near the nesting area after all.

However, if the problem persists, you should call in a professional exterminator to figure out the source of the issue and get rid of it. It might be hard to fully eradicate the infestation if it’s spread quickly.

Keep it clean

Similar to the approach you’d take to keep bugs out of your apartment, cockroaches aren’t much different. Keeping your apartment clean and organized is the first step to eliminating cockroach nests and preventing them to begin with.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t leave any food or crumbs out
  • Clean any spills up quickly
  • Create more open space
  • Clean your apartment regularly
  • Organize your garage or basement
  • Regularly take out the trash

Remember, cockroaches love clutter. If you keep your home clean and, cockroaches are more likely to find another place to nest.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Does Renters Insurance Cover Bed Bugs?

You bought renters insurance to protect you against life’s what-ifs. So if you wake up with a row of small bites, you might be wondering: Does renters insurance cover bed bugs?

America’s top-rated renters insurance

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Bad news. In most cases, you can’t get renters insurance to cover bed bugs. You’ll be on the hook for paying for extermination or the other treatment of your choice — provided you can’t prove your landlord is responsible for the situation. 

(This doesn’t mean you should drop your renters policy. It still covers you against a whole bunch of risks.) 

Long story short, renters insurance bed bugs coverage is pretty much nonexistent. Let’s find out why.

[ Read: Is Renters Insurance Worth it?]

In this article

Does Renters Insurance Cover Bed Bugs? 

No. 

But your renters policy is supposed to protect you against unexpected disasters, so why doesn’t renters insurance cover bed bugs? 

Your renters insurance safeguards you against sudden, unavoidable disasters. Bed bugs disqualify you for coverage in two ways. First, insurers don’t see them as a sudden peril. Secondly, they’re generally seen as avoidable. In fact, most insurers will argue preventing and dealing with bed bugs is a maintenance issue. 

Beyond that, most renters policies — both cheap and pricey renters policies — specifically exclude bed bug coverage. Even all-perils policies usually list bed bugs as a policy exclusion. (The same is generally true for home insurance policies, too.) 

Some companies offer renters insurance bed bugs endorsements, meaning you could add bed bug coverage to your policy. But these endorsements are increasingly hard to find. And as far as insurance policies designed specifically for bed bugs, those are usually reserved for landlords and business owners (e.g., hotel owners). You’ll probably have a pretty hard time finding renters insurance with bed bugs coverage. 

[ Read: The Best Renters Insurance of 2021 ]

Is my landlord supposed to take care of bed bugs? 

Does renters insurance cover bed bugs? No. But does that mean you definitely need to pay out-of-pocket to deal with them? Not necessarily. In some cases, the infestation is your landlord’s responsibility. 

Legal rights as a tenant 

In most states, landlords have to provide their tenants with a safe, habitable living space. If you can prove that the bed bugs are your landlord’s fault — not yours — you have a leg to stand on here.

It’s easiest to lean on your legal rights as a tenant to have your landlord handle the infestation in two cases:

  • You just moved in and found bed bugs. In this case, you can probably prove that the bed bugs were there before you.
  • You live in a multi-unit property and multiple units have bed bugs. If the bed bugs can’t be traced back to you or another tenant at the property, your landlord will have to deal with them. 

Bed bug laws 

In some states, landlords are legally required to get rid of bed bugs at their property. In Arizona, California and other states, for example, a landlord can’t knowingly rent a unit that has bed bugs. In Florida, landlords are explicitly required to exterminate bed bugs any time they show up on their property.

Ultimately, bed bug laws vary from state to state. But that doesn’t mean you have to delve your state’s statutes and codes to find out if your landlord is on the hook. The EPA has a handy, alphabetically organized spreadsheet summarizing all bed bug laws in each state. 

[ Read: How Much Renters Insurance Do I Need?

How do I prevent bed bugs? 

Since you know you’re lacking renters insurance bed bugs coverage, you want to avoid this infestation, for sure. Steering clear of bed bugs comes down to checking items before you bring them into your house. 

After travel

If you travel somewhere you suspect had bed bugs, launder any clothes you’re wearing and shower right away. Then, leave your suitcases outside until you can launder everything in them (on hot) and vacuum them out thoroughly. Make sure you hit any seams with extra care. 

After buying second-hand 

If you thrift for furniture or clothing items, check anything you bring home really well before you bring it inside. 

Tips at home

Additionally, you can do a few things around the house to make it harder for bed bugs to thrive there:

  • Clear out clutter around your bed so these bugs don’t have a place to hide
  • Vacuum regularly around your bed
  • Put your mattress inside a protective cover (bed bugs love hiding in mattress seams)

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How do I get rid of bed bugs? 

You have a few options you can explore to nix those pesky pests:

Hire an exterminator

Your best bet for ditching bed bugs is to bring in a pro. Costs to treat your bed bug infestation can vary based on the extent of your infestation and the treatment you choose, but you’re probably looking at somewhere between $500 and $1,500. 

Launder what you can — and seal up what you can’t

Run all your clothes through the laundry on a hot cycle for both the washer and dryer. Do the same with your bedding and literally anything else you can launder, including bedskirts, drapes, towels, rugs and stuffed animals. 

If something can’t go through the wash, double bag it in a trash bag and be prepared to stash it for a while. Bed bugs can live for months without feeding. 

Vacuum, then empty your vacuum carefully

Vacuum the crevices of your mattresses and furniture. Vacuum all of your floors, focusing particularly on the areas around the legs of your bed, too. 

Immediately after finishing vacuuming, take the vacuum outside. Dump the contents into a trash bag and seal it. Place that bag in an outside trash — don’t bring it inside or you risk undoing all of your progress. 

[ Read: How to Buy Cheap Renters Insurance Online ]

We welcome your feedback on this article. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

Source: thesimpledollar.com

Are Tenants or Landlords Responsible for Pest Control?

When a property is rented, one of the most overlooked aspects is pest control. Is the property pest-free? Are there any structural issues that could encourage the entry of pests? Does the rental contract include any details about pest inspections or treatments already conducted? Who is responsible for keeping the property pest-free – landlord or tenant?

Before understanding the roles of both the parties, let’s understand which pests are more likely to affect a property.

What are some of the most common pests?

Cockroaches, bed bugs, rodents, spiders, termites, silverfish, ants, fleas, ticks and flies are some of the most common pests found across the U.S. Pests like bed bugs are stubborn and require comprehensive bed bug treatment for effective results.

Some areas tend to attract certain pests more depending on the location. For instance, in the South, termites are the most common pests found in homes. Some commercial pest control services offer free pest and termite inspections. Talk to a professional pest control expert and ask if you can avail a free inspection.

Now, let’s take a look at the responsibilities of the landlord, as well the tenant, when it comes to keeping a rental property free from pests.

What is the landlord responsible for?

In most states, the landlords are legally required to maintain and offer a pest-free property. The tenants are more likely to sign the lease renewal and the cost of searching for new tenants is eliminated when the property is well-maintained.

Also, happy tenants mean positive reviews, which can help attract new tenants easily.

Listed below are the responsibilities of the landlord:

  • The property should be inspected and any pest infestations should be removed thoroughly by a professional pest control service provider before a new tenant occupies the property.
  • All structural issues in the property such as cracks, seals or any openings in doors, windows or torn screens should be addressed before the property is rented. Remember, pests such as mice can enter into the home from holes as small as the size of a pencil.
  • The rental contract should include a specific section related to the maintenance of the property which has been carried out for preventing pests.

What is the tenant responsible for?

Tenants are partly responsible when it comes to pest-control of a rental property.

Here’s what they need to do:

  • Before signing the rental contract, the property should be inspected with great care to see if there are any signs of pests.
  • The rental contract should be reviewed thoroughly and the landlord should be asked about pest control if nothing is mentioned in the contract.
  • The property, once rented, should be kept clean and free from pests. Regular cleanup should be done because clutter and carelessness can give way to pest infestations. Food containers should be kept properly sealed when not in use. There should be no water stagnation around the property.
  • Any structural damage or signs of pests should be immediately reported to the landlord and necessary action should be taken to terminate the pests. This can help avoid any expensive and time-consuming efforts in the long run.
  • Carelessness with garbage disposal is one of the most common reasons as to why pests are attracted to any property. Always keep the garbage bins covered. Dispose of all garbage properly and follow the garbage disposal and collection rules of your new community.

Both the landlord and the tenant should fulfill their responsibilities when it comes to keeping the property pest-free for a win-win situation. Regular inspection can help in the early identification of any signs of a pest infestation. This enables both parties to save a lot of time, money and efforts in the future.

Property management companies should seek the services of professional pest control experts when required as this is more likely to give effective results.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

7 Ways to Get Ready for an Early Spring

Our friend, the Groundhog, didn’t see his shadow this year. That means we’re in for an early spring.

There’s probably not going to be too much complaining about this prediction, because most of us prefer the warm weather, sunny skies and activities that go along with spring in general.

However, before spring approaches, it’s always good to get a head start on a few things around your apartment so you can fully enjoy the season when it arrives!

1. Start your spring cleaning

spring cleaningspring cleaning

Get ahead of the game and start organizing your apartment early for spring. Clean out your fridge, closets, bedrooms and other cluttered areas. Since you’re probably still stuck in winter hibernation mode, you might as well get ahead. Consider donating old clothes and household items that you no longer have use for.

2. Keep your plants comfortable

plantsplants

Make sure you’re taking care of your plants as spring approaches by monitoring the temperatures. Give them the right food and provide as much sunshine as possible. Soon, you won’t have to do much besides basic maintenance on your plants because spring will be here before you know it!

3. Check on your interior systems

air conditioner maintenanceair conditioner maintenance

It’s always a good idea to check on your air conditioning system and other interior systems before spring approaches. Consider having a service person come for an inspection, so you can prepare if anything needs to be fixed. Ask your landlord early to schedule something, and remember them it will be a lot less expensive in the winter and spring months than it will be during summer.

4. Declutter storage spaces

declutter storage spacedeclutter storage space

Whether you have a traditional garage or a designated storage space, it’s time to declutter these areas and get ready for spring. Clean out your garage and storage, so that you feel organized again. You’ll also want to flip your storage spaces and start storing those winter items that you won’t need for another year or so.

5. Prepare for the bugs

antsants

Spring brings warmer weather, some warmer than others. And with the warmer temperatures, bugs will start to appear, so it’s important to prepare ahead of time. There are numerous ways to prevent bugs, but the first step is making sure your apartment is in pristine working condition to keep them from getting in.This is a good time to examine if you need any new weather stripping around your apartment, because you want things as sealed as possible to prevent bugs.

6. Stock up for summer early

beach towelsbeach towels

Call us crazy, but summer requires a lot of things that you don’t normally keep year long such as, sun block, insect repellent, aloe and beach towels.

If you know you’re going on a summer vacation, stock up early to save money on these items ahead of time. Once spring arrives, these items get more expensive, so get it out of the way early.

7. Spruce up your interior design!

spring interior designspring interior design

Get excited for spring by changing some design aspects of your apartment. Perhaps bring in lighter, brighter colors and change some decor around to spruce things up. Pastel colors, flowers and bright shades will get you in the spring mood! Take a shopping trip to HomeGoods and make a fun day out of it.

With spring just around the corner, there’s so many things you can do to get ready and prepare ahead of time. Cleaning your apartment, decluttering your space and changing the mood inside your living space are just a few things that will get you in the spring spirit!

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Source: apartmentguide.com