Busted By Bedbugs
A Day In The Life...
If you’ve ever worked in a leasing office, it’s likely you’ve experienced your share of challenges in the pest control department. Bedbug infestation tops the list as one of the more challenging issues. Here’s a story from my book, I Have A Complex, But I’m Managing It! about an onsite team member that solved the mystery of how these pesky blood-sucking insects were spread throughout her property.
Busted By Bedbugs
I was overseeing several properties a while back. At one of them, a married couple complained about bedbugs in their apartment.
We treated the infested unit, congratulating ourselves for ‘nipping the problem in the bud’ by containing it to one apartment.
Our celebration was short-lived however when a few days later, another resident named Tina reported that she’d discovered bedbugs in her sheets. The young woman even managed to collect a few of the tiny parasites in a jar and brought them into our office.
“These things are disgusting!” Tina complained loudly while unceremoniously lifting her blouse and pointing to her stomach. “I’m covered in bites!”
I assured Tina we’d get our pest control experts out right away to begin treatment. Having been through this routine a few days prior, I had a couple of questions for her, so I called her back for a private meeting in my office.
She gathered her jar of ‘evidence’ and walked with me. As we got situated, I shared that we’d recently had to treat a unit for bedbugs on the other side of the property from where her apartment was located. “Our pest control guys told me that it’s not uncommon for these little bugs to make their way from one apartment to the next. They’re so small they can crawl through tiny cracks.”
Tina scrunched up her nose. “Like I said, they’re disgusting! I’m going to move back home until you guys get rid of them. There’s no way I’m sleeping in my bed until they’re gone.”
“I understand,” I said, thinking about what else our pest control guy had told me. “I know that they can spread in luggage. So, you might think about that before you pack up and go somewhere else.”
“You mean I could take them to my mom’s house?” she cried in dismay. “That’s not going to work.”
I took in her unhappy expression and tried to sound encouraging. “Look, I’ll get right on this and let you know when treatment will begin. By the way, have you traveled recently where you might have picked up bedbugs and brought them back to your apartment?”
Tina stood, readying to leave the office and shook her head sadly. “No, I’ve not been anywhere in a long time. I’m pretty much a homebody.”
After she’d left, Maria, one of our leasing consultants who lived onsite asked if she and I could speak privately in my office.
Once I’d shut my door, Maria told me that she seen the husband who lived in the first apartment with bedbugs frequently visit Tina’s apartment—without his wife.
“You didn’t hear it from me,” she confided. “But I’m pretty sure those two are having a fling.”
“Thanks, Maria,” I said. “Let’s just keep that information between the two of us.” I waited until she’d left my office before picking up the phone and calling our pest control professionals.
As the call went through, I noticed she’d left her collection of the reddish-brown insects on my desk. “You guys really are disgusting,” I muttered to the jar. “Busted by bedbugs! Guess there’s a first time for everything.”
From the book "I Have a Complex, But I'm Managing It!", stories from property managers compiled by Monica E. Simmons.
Monica E. Simmons, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for JDC Enterprises, LLC, has worked in the multi-family industry in several different capacities since 1987. She is a published author whose books include; I Have A Complex, But I’m Managing It!, It Happened in The Hill Country, 30-Love and it's sequel, Match Point.
Contact her at: Monica@TheVendorGuide.com