Pest control in apartments in 6 minutes

Of all the commercial jobs a pest control professional faces apartments have got to be one of the toughest. This is pretty remarkable when you think of it. Even the smallest mom and pop companies do service for high tech accounts such as flour mills with tight restrictions, elder care facilities, restaurants and other high maintenance jobs. Large companies do all of these but also tend to get such bids as hospitals, factories, stadiums and even whole countries. What all companies get regardless of size is apartments; This common client can be the source of the worst frustration for any route and where the fruits of your labor are seldom rewarded.

The major pest of apartment living is of course the german roach but mice, fleas and bed bugs can be quite maddening as well. These pests have the ability to literally go house to house with relative ease through the thin walls or shared plumbing and wiring. Not the case for fleas obviously but since the pets have to share the same common areas for relieving themselves it’s a simple hop or two for a flea to find a new home. When the 3rd Tuesday comes around and the bug man sprays your bldg. these same travel routes become the perfect safe haven for the insects. What most tenants experience is dead bugs for a few days but within a week usually they are right back as strong as ever.

In a perfect world

If apartment service wasn’t almost always a ‘low bid’ contract or at least planned out in such a way to schedule for optimum service, yourthumbs up technician would take the time to dust and appropriately treat every crack or crevice they could find. The refrigerator could be pulled out, back dark corners of the cabinets baited and communication which is probably most important could be exchanged so that sanitation or other concerns would be addressed. Also steps to seal the bugs out might be a little more realistically expected. Steel wool around plumbing pipes, caulking where needed and maybe some tighter screens. These are all things that we as an industry have promoted and even gave it a name. IPM (integrated pest management) involves homeowners in this process when either they provide the work to be done or pay the pest company to do it. With apartment complexes these tasks usually fall on the maintenance crew who might not be so interested in your pest management program and almost always have far more to deal with then caulking your cable wire entry hole.


The truth is that your bug man might have 50 to 60 units on his list that day with 5 or 6 complaint calls. If they were to spend even 6 minutes in each unit not allowing for any time in between that would take them 6 hours to complete. Now add in the time for the ‘trouble calls’ and you’re easily up to 7 plus. Now I don’t know about your company or how much you know if you’re not in pest control but it’s hard to maintain a route or pay the bills spending so much time on such a notoriously low paying stop. You may live in a smaller complex and think this shouldn’t be such an issue but it still is because the smaller job means the office can put more regular stops on your techs route. Or God forbid, another apartment complex.


Ok so there are some inherent problems with pest control in apartment situations but thankfully there are things that can be done to keep you as pest free as possible.

* Number one I would say is to be nice. We’re all human and the overwhelming majority of people respond to kindness rather than harsh attitudes and words. What I know for a fact is that maintenance men have their favorite tenants that they will drop what they are doing to go and help. The rest of you usually are told to call the office and get a work order first. This goes a long way when you need some sealing up or a new door sweep to keep the earwigs out. The same is true for your pest professional. I have some of the sweetest people in apartments that I’ll go above and beyond for almost anytime, it’s just the way it is.

*Second, you can and should do some of the pest prevention work yourself. After all you see where the bugs go in and out so caulking that teeny crack in the shower wall will never get done faster than if you do it yourself. Doing your part by cleaning and keeping up the sanitation levels is also of great importance and I doubt the maintenance or bug man will help you there.

*Finally and this may not be the most desirable to you but pay the tech to give you the extra service that you need. Now I’m not saying on the sly because that’s not fair to the owner of the bug company who isn’t banking his retirement plans on this account. What you can do however is arrange with the company to either pay a small monthly amount for your unit to be done as if it were a separate home or consider paying a little more to have what most companies call a ‘clean out.’ The clean out service is something you can do once per year or more and the tech would do all those things described above that are desperately needed for best results in apartments.

albert einstein pestcemetery.comI realize that paying for pest control or sealing up your own pipes may not be something you feel should be your responsibility but think of the alternative. You can just call out the maintenance man and yell at your technician and they’ll eventually come out and do just enough to get by and keep you quiet. There’s a definition for what happens in apartment pest control and whether it’s the management, bug guy or tenant that needs to heed I’ll let you decide; but I do know if you want a bug free unit something has got to give.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Albert Einstein

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

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  • I’m telling you I think I would be more afraid of BIG hairy spiders than the house that said GET OUT. But it would be close. Great article!


  • I’m telling you I think I would be more afraid of BIG hairy spiders than the house that said GET OUT. But it would be close. Great article!


  • Thats all well and good but my apt has a slum lord. I don’t even know who owns the building. It is in a program called REAP until the management does right by the tenants. The roaches weren’t a big problem at first. I saw them in the building but my apt didnt really ave a problem for about 7-12 months. Then it hit the fan. They won’t stop coming. They are everywhere. It is disgusting. They will just send someone over to poison me. The smell stayed for a week last time. The sprays and bombs cause fertility problems for women and I want to have invitro so its a problem. The two days of poison didn’t stop the roaches or the bed bugs and I am sick of packng everything up for nothing. I will call the real pest control people and pay them to seal or whatever. They are coming from somewhere and I don’t think it has anything to do with dirt. We are not dirty. They are even in places with no food like the closet. WTF? So stressful. Will a pest control company do a clean out on a studio apt with 3 rooms? Is there a natural way that doesn’t use the fertility killing chemicals?

  • I’m not aware of any fertility ‘killing’ chemicals– at least there’s nothing like that on my trucks. It sounds like regular maintenance service was neglected and that’s a shame. Now look at all the corrective work that needs to done. I’d lay low on the chemical front for a while and invest in some caulk. In the mean time, your approach sounds fine for searching out a company that uses products that are more suitable to your needs. Take your time and make a few calls– I’m sure you can find what you need.

  • Mel

    I read Tammy’s post yesterday and the first thing I concluded was somehow she confused the effects of an I.G.R on insects with humans.

  • I would then have to take back my statement- because we have IGR’s and pheromone lures galore in our vehicles. The clue to what I think Tammy means is in her link. She approaches pesticides from a ‘set’ position but like so many other toxic wary people she has limited tolerance for bugs but even more fear of chemicals that aren’t within the scope of her comfort zone.

    I doubt Tammy will read this as I believe her mission was to just slip in a link (hopefully I’m wrong) For me that’s Ok because her comment was ‘hers’ and not a spam generated widget. I’m sure there is enough information on this site or out there in her own community where she could get help if she really desired. Getting passed her phobias might be a good step.

    Thanks for your keen insight Mel & I hope Tammy will come back and find the help she needs