Avoid Infested Apartments With the Bed Bug Registry

Laptop on bed on floor in center of empty room
Ryan McVay/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Bed bug infestations are common in areas around or near where people sleep. The reddish-brown, small, wingless creatures thrive in apartments, shelters, hotels, cruise ships, buses, trains, and dorm rooms. And because the bugs can be tough to spot, tenants sometimes wind up renting apartments with an existing infestation. But with online databases, such as The Bed Bug Registry, paired with some knowledge about bed bugs, you can rent bedbug-free. Here's what you should know about bed bugs, the risks of infestation and how to protect yourself and your home.

How Bed Bugs Spread

During the day, bed bugs hide in box springs, bed frames, headboards, dressers, mattress seams, behind wallpaper and clutter around a bed. The usually live within eight feet of where people sleep and prey on the people's blood at night while they sleep. A bed bug infestation is not necessarily a sign of the cleanliness of a home, as they have even been found in five-star hotels. While bed bugs aren't known to spread disease, their bites can be very itchy for some, and it is best to try to avoid infestations at all costs.

The Bed Bug Registry Online

The Bed Bug Registry is an online resource that offers a searchable database of bed bug infestations in apartment buildings, as well as hotels. The database covers locations across the United States and Canada, and it is free to use.

If you're looking to rent an apartment, you can search The Bed Bug Registry to see if there are any reported infestations in the neighborhoods that interest you. If you're considering renting an apartment in a particular building, you can run a check on that building by entering its address. To search the registry, you must type in the address for a specific building on the main page. Or, to search for all reports in a more general location, type in the name of the city and state and click "Check Address." You can then click on a result to view the reports associated with that location. A map conveniently appears to the right of the reports.

Not only can you find bed bug infestations through The Bed Bug Registry, but you can report them, too. If you visit a hotel and find there are bed bugs in your room, you can pay potential future visitors a favor by adding your report to the database. To do so, ​the first search for reports at the address in question. View any reports already entered for the address, and then click "Report Bed Bugs At This Location" and complete the form to add your report. The Bed Bug Registry may edit reports that contain abusive or off-topic language, advertisements, and potentially libelous content. To avoid trouble and help ensure the accuracy of The Bed Bug Registry, only make reports that are truthful.

Also, you can set up one or more alerts by entering a street address or ZIP code along with your e-mail address. The Bed Bug Registry will then notify you each week if any new infestations reports are posted regarding locations within a mile of the ones you entered. You can unsubscribe from the alerts at any time. 

Other Ways to Protect Yourself from Bed Bugs

The best way to prevent bed bug infestations is by regularly inspecting your home for signs of an infestation. If you have an infestation, your landlord or a professional pest company should be able to help treat the infestation.