Landlords have sometimes been slow to respond to bed bug complaints, but times are changing. Landlords are coming to understand that prompt intervention can get an incident under control before it becomes an outbreak.
The keys to early detection are:
1. Tenant education--so tenants can identify the problem early. Many tenants tell us "I thought it was a spider bite."
2. Encourage tenants to report--often tenants are afraid to report because of stigma or because they are afraid that they will be charged for extermination.
3. Use a professional exterminator with experience treating bed bugs. A typical bed bug intervention in a multifamily property often involves spraying the affected unit and all adjacent units and then repeating once or twice. Sending the maintenance man with an over-the-counter chemical is not effective and may be illegal. To find a licensed pesticide applicator or to determine whether or not an applicator that has treated your building is licensed, search the Ohio Department of Agriculture's index here: http://www.agri.ohio.gov/apps/odaprs/pestfert-PRS-searchindex.aspx
4. Don't discard furniture and/or belongings unless instructed to do so by a professional exterminator. Discarded infected furniture and belongings can potentially spread the problem. If furniture or belongings must be discarded, make sure they are well marked as being infested with bed bugs.
Longer term it is critical to encourage tenants to help control the problem: in addition to reporting, tenants need to adopt self help efforts to prevent being re-infested.
Here's info directly focused on landlords: