Will My Stuff Be Safe from Bed Bugs when I Keep it in Storage?

Originally posted on January 28, 2022 3:00 pm
Updated on January 25, 2022 11:23 pm

Whether we like it or not, our world is full of creepy-crawly organisms—and at least some of these organisms, like the Cimex Lectularius, seem to have an unquenchable thirst for human blood. Also known as the common bed bug, these organisms affect millions of Americans every year and are especially common in big cities, like New York.

Anyone who has ever dealt with bed bugs in the past knows just how annoying these pests can be. In addition to giving you plenty of blisters and itchiness—and, sometimes, more serious effects like a fever or other issues—bed bugs can also cause some serious damage to your furniture, clothes, and other personal belongings.

In New York City, where the average dwelling is well below the national average and space is always sold at a premium, there are a lot of people who like to use storage spaces during specific seasons. It is not uncommon to encounter New Yorkers who keep their winter clothes in storage all summer and vice versa. Doing so is a great way to increase your storage capacity without necessarily needing to rent (or buy) a larger place to live. And because a lot of New Yorkers temporarily moved during the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of storage facilities like these has become even more common.

Can you be confident that your stuff—whether clothes, furniture, or anything else—will be safe from bedbugs while it’s in storage? Let’s take a closer look.

How Do Bed Bugs Spread?

The only way for bed bugs to move is by crawling around—unlike many other insects, these bugs do not have any wings, meaning that if you find them in your home, they either crawled in there themselves or were carried in while attached to some other object.

There are quite a few conditions that will increase the likelihood of a bed bug infestation. The bugs are most commonly found in areas with population densities (bad news for New Yorkers) and tropical climates (good news for New Yorkers). They also tend to like warm, possibly damp, and dark locations. Mattresses, clothes, furniture, curtains, and anything else covered in cloth will likely cause a bed bug to feel right at home.

When bed bugs find a place where they are comfortable, they will eventually begin to reproduce. And because these bugs can go more than two months without food, extermination can often be very difficult. As a result, bed bugs can frequently be found in unattended storage units, furnished apartments that have not been lived in for a while, and other locations throughout New York City and beyond.

Who is Responsible for a Bed Bug Outbreak?

Exterminating a large population of bed bugs can often be rather expensive—on the lower end, exterminations will cost a few hundred dollars, while on the higher end, these exterminations can cost a thousand dollars or even more. So, if you do notice a bed bug outbreak in your home, storage facility, or any other place you have cloth items, who is to blame? And who is responsible for paying for the extermination process?

If the outbreak is at your house, you will likely need to pay for the extermination on your own (in some cases, insurance might cover the damage). When the outbreak is at an apartment complex, your landlord may be held liable, but as many New Yorkers will tell you, don’t hold your breath. If you live in a condo or a co-op, you are probably in somewhat better shape—check to see what policies are in place to help fight these sorts of outbreaks.

And when it comes to a personal storage facility—where bedbug outbreaks do occur—responsibility will depend on several different factors. If you can prove that the outbreak came from another unit or from the storage unit’s negligence, you may be able to receive compensation for some of your damaged items. However, proving the origin of an outbreak is extremely difficult and unless your problem is shared with many other units, your complaints will likely be ignored.

In other words, whether it is fair or not, you will usually be the one who ends up replacing any of your damaged belongings.

Tips for Preventing the Spread of Bed Bugs

Addressing a bedbug infestation can be expensive and also take a lot of time. Luckily, there are at least a few things you can do to help reduce the likelihood of an outbreak.

  • Regularly clean all cloth or fabric surfaces in your home, including your curtains, carpets, bed and mattress, furniture, clothes, and more.
  • Change your sheets on a regular basis.
  • When using a long-term storage facility, wrap all cloth and furniture in some sort of sealed plastic—in some cases, the storage facility may even provide these materials for free.
  • Deep clean your home whenever you have had guests visit, especially if they slept in one of your beds.
  • When moving to a new home, have a professional check to determine the risk of future bedbugs.

Of course, none of these things can guarantee that you are going to avoid bedbugs altogether. Plenty of people who end up with bed bugs were exposed through no fault of their own. However, there is still no denying that taking action in advance is the best way to prevent future issues.

Ready to Find Your New Home?
RentHop ranks listings based on accuracy, completeness, recency, and more.
Browse NYC Apartments
Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
© 2009 - 2023 RentHop.com™