At the Triangle Law Group in North Carolina, we represent many clients involved in commercial or residential landlord/tenant disputes. Oftentimes residential disputes revolve around whether or to what extent a landlord fixed a problem with an appliance, water faucet, etc. Other times, the dispute goes to whether or not the landlord is living up to his or her obligation to keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition overall. One issue that can be a headache for both tenants and landlords is bed bugs.
If you have or suspect that you have bed bugs in your apartment or rental house, this falls under the heading of a fit and habitable residence. Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warms that the incidences of bed bug infestations are rising across the country.
What bed bugs look like
You will likely never see a bed bug even if these nasty little creatures have invaded your home or apartment. Many bed bugs are so tiny as to be microscopic, and the largest ones seldom reach a quarter of an inch in length. Bed bugs have a reddish-brown color, so you may see what you think are merely rust-type spots instead of actual bugs. But you almost certainly will see - and feel - the results of one or more bed bug bites.
Where bed bugs hide
Bed bugs seem almost like intelligent beings when it comes to hiding out. Since they live on human blood, they tend to congregate in and around the places where you sleep. This includes in the folds of your sheets, pillow cases, blankets and bedspreads, as well as in your mattress seams and box springs. They also love hiding in clutter, especially that which accumulates on the floor around your bed. In addition, they love to hide in the cracks and crevices of your bed's headboard and your night stand and bureau drawers. They have even been known to hide behind wallpaper.
Bed bugs and disease
Bed bugs do not carry or spread disease, but their bites can cause an allergic reaction in you and/or your children similar to a mosquito or spider bite. Multiple bed bug bites generally look like a very itchy red rash on the affected parts of your body.
Unfortunately, the only sure way to wipe out a bed bug infestation is for the landlord to call in a professional exterminator. You cannot exterminate them yourself by normal cleaning and vacuuming.
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