The thing about apartments is that each unit is often affected by others.
So, despite all of your efforts, your neighbor through the wall may not be as meticulous when it comes to cleaning and avoiding bugs in the apartment.
The best that you can do is embrace all of the preventative techniques that you can while remaining prepared for bugs that have actually gotten inside your home and must be eliminated.
As with any potential infestation, it only becomes a real infestation if you open up an opportunity.
What Do Bugs Want With Your Apartment?
Bugs are a lot like humans, at least in their desire to propagate, locate food and shelter for themselves and their young, and find a consistent water supply so they don’t die of dehydration.
If your neighbors are less than clean, it’s only a matter of time before their problem becomes your problem.
Bugs are thriving in their apartment so it only makes sense to check out what’s on the other side of the wall as well.
There’s not a whole lot you can do about someone else’s apartment, besides complaining to your landlord, who may or may not do anything.
But if the neighbor’s insects want to check out your apartment, there are a few places that they will immediately target.
- Anywhere that has plumbing with a potential leak
- Hot water heater
- Inside unclean cabinets
- Dark and moist areas
- Washing Machine
Water is high on their list and if you have even a slow, unnoticed leak, that could be enough to warrant more investigation for your six and eight-legged visitors.
Crumbs from the many different cereals, dry goods, oatmeal bags, and so forth, are another primary target.
If bugs find food there, they are likely to begin setting up shop. Most cockroaches can lay 10 to 16 Ootheca and each Ootheca can hold up to 20 eggs.
Not only that, but the female can lay eggs more than once.
That’s just in terms of cockroaches, so you can imagine how quickly things can get out of hand when you throw flies, drain flies, bed bugs, fleas, beetles, silverfish, and earwigs into the mix.
It can get pretty disgusting fairly quickly.
How to Keep All of These Bugs Out of Your Apartment
We live in a world that is full of insects and no matter what you do, nothing is going to be completely impervious to all insect infiltration.
However, if you do things right, they’ll show up for a brief time and then show themselves to the door where they can go find better pickings elsewhere.
1. Start with a Thorough Cleaning
Your primary focus should be on anything and everything within sight of food and water.
That means cleaning out all of your cabinets and using cleaning chemicals to wipe down all of the insides of your cabinets, whether that’s where you keep your dry goods or if it’s just plumbing.
Be sure that the household chemicals that you choose are dry and evaporated before you replace your dry goods.
Put your food items back in an organized manner, avoiding any sort of clutter, and make sure that all of your food items are completely sealed.
Vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping the floors should be done on a regular basis.
If you can afford to do so, get a quality Robovac as the good ones are very efficient at cleaning keeping dirt and dust off the floor. Some Robovacs even include mopping capabilities.
If the Robovac can mop, make sure that it is always full of clean water and that the old water is dumped frequently.
2. Check All of Your Water Sources
Everywhere that water comes into your home, whether it’s your washing machine, dishwasher, hot water heater, or plumbing underneath and behind all of your cabinets, thoroughly inspect all of it.
Run water and visibly inspect the pipes as they drain.
The dishwasher can be a little more problematic but if you can, pull it out from the cabinet space that it’s installed in and see if you can run it, observing the pipes behind it and the ones that run under the sink next to it.
Even your refrigerator has the capability to leak as water flows in for ice, so check that as well.
The washing machine and hot water heaters are generally pretty easy to inspect as they are often out in the open enough to where you can observe the ingress and egress points.
3. Get Rid of Any Clutter
Bugs like spaces where they can feel sheltered so you want to remove anything that is sitting out, stacked up, or overly cluttered in your corners, open spaces, inside the cabinets, or in the laundry room.
That’s the point of organizing everything. You get to have everything where it belongs and properly sealed in addition to eliminating the “sheltering” effects that are offered by the clutter.
Clutter includes getting the garbage out every time that it needs to be taken out. Never let it sit out overnight.
If you can, use a cover flap for the trash and use bags that are deodorizing. The smell is the attractant and it’s the attractant that you want to get rid of.
4. Focus on the Outside as Well
Even if you live on an upper floor, make sure that all dirt and debris is removed anytime it crops up. Don’t give any bugs a reason to want to explore your home.
If they get close enough to enjoy the dirt outside your home, they may decide to invite themselves in.
5. Seal Everything
Oftentimes, bugs are able to come into your home because your doors and windows aren’t sealed and there is an ingress point for them to creep into.
You want to make sure that you go around and seal everything up.
A cockroach can flatten its body to the point where it can make its way through the tiniest of cracks, not to mention fleas, which can pass through openings that aren’t even visible to the human eyes.
Replace all of your weather strips and use a caulking gun to fill in the areas around your windows. Replace the weather strips inside your window tracks as well.
They not only keep the winter cold and summer heat out but bugs as well.
6. Pick the Right Plants
Some plants are just magnets for all manner of bugs, while others seem impervious to their existence. Avoid shrubs of any kind and stick with plants that you have thoroughly researched as being as anti-bug as possible.
That includes any plants that you have outside of your apartment, whether it’s outside the front door or on a porch.
Just like dirt and trash outside, the wrong plant choice will attract bugs too close to your home for comfort.
You should also be very proactive about using insecticides on your plants, so long as it is something that they can tolerate.
7. Make the Entryways Unappealing
Whether or not you believe in the efficacy of essential oils, there is one thing that they are good for and that is as an insect repellant. Insects hate the scent of lavender and/or peppermint oil.
Use a simple spray bottle to mix 20 drops of peppermint or lavender oil for every cup of water.
Spray it along all of the ingress areas of your home routinely, along with all of the spaces underneath sinks and inside cabinetry.
The best time to use it is when you do a thorough cleaning of your home.
Once your cabinets are cleaned out and wiped down, you can spray it inside, let it dry, then place your dried goods back in the cabinet.
Everywhere else—in terms of places that are out in the open—can be covered on a routine basis, such as giving the home a good once-over every other day or every three days.
There is also the added benefit of making your entire home smell really good, especially if you like the smell of peppermint or lavender.
8. Last but not least: Insecticides
As aforementioned, there’s really very little that you can do to make your neighbors be cleaner. If it comes down to it, you may have to use insecticides as a last resort.
If you have pets, you’ll have to carefully choose what you’re going to go with.
Without pets, you can get away with a little more but you need to be careful about how you do it. Fogging or using insecticides inside an apartment is not the same as doing it inside your own home.
Also, feel free to get your landlord involved. Your landlord is responsible for not allowing your apartment to be overrun with insects, especially when you are doing everything you can to combat it.
The hardest part about keeping bugs out of your apartment is often something you can’t control, such as uncaring and dirty neighbors.
However, if you don’t give bugs a reason to visit and hang out in your apartment, they will stay well away, preferring dirtier environments.
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