Case Study – A Proactive BB Approach vs. a Reactive Response

In the Fall of 2009, CDIS started working with a multi-unit facility that contained five buildings with a total number of 1675 units. They had a severe bed bug issue that was spreading throughout the complex, and had no way of knowing how to tackle the problem, other than their maintenance personnel or their pest control company visually inspecting. At low infestation levels, bed bugs are visually difficult to find by human inspectors. Whereas, a properly trained canine, can detect by up 90% accuracy. This complex supported housing needs for a nearby university, and the challenge was that the units needed to be turned in a quick manner for new residents moving in.

Initially, we were brought in to inspect vacant units on a monthly basis for residents who had just moved out. That year, we inspected 249 vacant units, with 28% of the units positive for bed bugs. In 2011, with the knowledge that many residents would move from one building to another building on the complex, we started inspecting occupied units, prior to their move out. Thus, hoping to identify the source and further spread of the problem to another building. Due to this inspection policy change, we only had about 9% of the units positive for bed bug issues.

In 2012, this client started educating the residents with information about bed bug biology and how easily that can be transferred. This was in anticipation of Chicago passing an ordinance regarding bed bugs in multi-unit buildings. The ordinance was eventually passed in June 2013.

In 2013, the property managers changed from monthly inspections to weekly inspections. By implementing a proactive BB program, and educating residents, the result further lowered the bed bug incidences, reduced the cost of pest control, and the amount of time in turning a unit.