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2014 Multifamily Industry Insights

Apartment Renter Attitudes Towards Pests and Pests Control

Presented by: Orkin

A new survey of apartment residents reveals two key findings about the most common and most feared pests inside apartments: flies are the most common pest cited in apartments and bed bugs are the most feared. 

Eighty-five percent of survey respondents said they have encountered a pest in the past year and flies were the most common, followed by ants, cockroaches and rodents. While flies may appear harmless, they can, every time they land, leave behind thousands of germs that can cause serious illnesses such as diarrhea, food poisoning, meningitis and bloodstream infections.

Pest Encounters

“Many may not be aware that house flies are absolutely filthy – in fact, twice as filthy as cockroaches. The survey results we released earlier this summer show that the health threats flies pose are often underestimated,” says Orkin entomologist and Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D. “It’s important that everyone understands the magnitude of these health threats so that they can help prevent the transmission of dangerous diseases and bacteria.”

To prevent fly activity, apartment residents should:

  • Remove trash and wipe countertops regularly.
  • Clean food and beverage spills immediately.
  • Submit a maintenance request for any cracks and crevices on the building exterior, as well as missing or broken door and window screens.

Apartment Renters Would Like to Have More Infomation on Keeping Pests Out

Only 25 percent or apartment renters indicate they are currently receiving information and tips on keeping pests out; yet 66 percent are interested in getting these kinds of tips from management. 



Most Feared Pest: Bed Bugs

Thirty-nine percent of survey respondents stated they would least like to see bed bugs in their apartment, followed by rodents, cockroaches, ants and flies. Most Feared Pests

Bed bugs feed only on blood and some people who are bitten experience itchy red welts and swelling. Bed bugs are not only in bedrooms, but can settle wherever people sleep. They are great hitchhikers and travel in personal belongings and luggage.

“Bed bugs can reproduce quickly, so it’s important that apartment residents notify property managers of any evidence that causes them to suspect bed bug activity,” says Paul Rhodes, National Maintenance and Safety Instructor of NAAEI. “Early detection is key to help prevent a much larger infestation from setting in. To help prevent their occurrence, properties can be active in removing furniture abandoned at onsite trash locations, and ensure that residents are aware of dangers associated with bringing home ‘found’ items.” 

For more findings from the survey, including  how many people residents tell when they encounter a pest and how many renters say they would move because of recurring pest issues, download the full report

The survey was released by Orkin. It polled apartment renters across the United States. For the full results of the apartment renter survey, visit