Automating Your Bedbug Plan – From Prevention to Reporting, And Everything In Between

Bedbugs – the scourge of property managers everywhere.

Not only are they just plain gross, preventing and remediating bedbug issues is a ton of work. There’s multiple steps and parties involved – vendors, maintenance staff – and oftentimes major inconveniences to tenants. On top of that, some local law jurisdictions mandate reporting on bedbug findings and actions, adding even more work to your to-do list.

So what’s the best way to make sure bedbug related work gets done quickly (and correctly)? Automation.

Let’s break down how an automated bedbug plan would work:

Automated Preventive Maintenance

While preventive maintenance isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think bedbugs, it should be. The more you can educate tenants on good practices, the less likely you are to suffer from bigger, costlier infestations.

According to this “Bugs Without Borders” survey, bedbug activity increases during the warm summer months. That’s a great time to send out annual educational reminders to your tenants about preventing and identifying infestations. Whether it’s flyers and resources mandated by local law or just a list of best practices, send a communication to your residents around the same time each year.

An automated email from your management team (or even a text reminding folks where they can find helpful resources) goes a long way towards combatting these pesky pests.

Additionally, any preventive work or inspections should be set to automatically recur in your property operations system. That way you’ll never forget when it’s time to arrange an annual check-in, or perform any recommended preventive work (like integrated pest management techniques).

Automating Your Bedbug Responses

When infestations do occur, it’s important to respond quickly and thoroughly. That means developing a standard operating procedure for bedbug treatment, and deploying it as needed.

What might that SOP look like? It differs depending on management preferences and local law requirements, but here’s a response plan from one management team:

Contact exterminator immediately to schedule treatmentProperty Manager
Send tenant treatment process documentationResident Manager
Send adjacent tenants notification and process documentationResident Manager
Log & document all performed treatment/work in systemProperty Manager
Add infestation details to required year-end report for cityProperty Manager
Review current pest control plan and make adjustments as neededProperty Management Team

Most importantly – ditch the complicated, messy spreadsheets and use your property operations platform to track all bedbug-related tasks, inspections, and treatments. This way, any and all documents are tied to each individual unit and easily accessible. If you need to recall what was done in a single unit (and when), you can pull it up in your property operations platform instead of endlessly scrolling through a fallible Excel document.

Centralized, Comprehensive Reporting

One of the biggest reasons you don’t want your bedbug work documented in Excel? If you ever need to provide a report of specific actions taken at each unit, it’ll be even more work to get it out of Excel and into an easy-to-read, straightforward format.

Take NYC, for example. Local Law 69 requires “that all multiple dwelling property owners must attempt to obtain the bed bug infestation history from the tenant or unit owner, including whether eradication measures were employed for a bedbug infestation.” Owners must submit reports annually between December 1st – December 31st for the previous year from November 1st through October 31st.

Reports have to include details on that year’s infestations, eradication measures, and any units that had an infestation after eradication measures were deployed. It’s a lot of information, and a lot of details that don’t fit nicely into cells. Storing treatment details in your property operations platform makes it easier to export and share information, and saves your team from wasting time on administrative work. 

Don’t double the amount of work it takes to deal with bedbugs – eliminate wasted time and reduce risk from slip-ups by automating your process from start to finish.

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About the Author

Kristen Hariton

Kristen Hariton is the Senior Product Marketing Strategist at SiteCompli. A member of the SiteCompli team since March 2013, Kristen has learned more about compliance and property operations than she ever thought possible. When she's not sharing the latest industry trends, changes, and updates, she's planning her next adventure to Walt Disney World.