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I just signed the lease on a new apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I did so after looking up the address and seeing that it had been listed twice in the bed bug registry. In 2009, a tenant said a few units had been infested. In August 2010, a tenant said bed bugs had been seen in at least one of the top floor apartments (mine is on fl. 5 of 6). Nothing has been said about the building since.

I have not yet moved in, and I don't have to move in for several weeks -- maybe even a month. Currently, the apartment is empty of all furnishings except a refrigerator.

What can I do during the next few weeks to ensure the apartment is not infested?

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Bed bugs are hard to see. They get in small cracks (e.g. between the flooring and wall) and can survive for months. Finding them by sight will be next to impossible. But you could have a service inspect the place before you move in. I think some use trained dogs that can smell them.

That said, no matter how careful you are, bedbugs can migrate through small cracks, vents, a shared laundry facility, etc. So even if you don't have any before moving in, it's possible they will migrate to your unit once there's a food source (people).

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    +1. It might be that the whole building is clean and half year later they come from the next building. – sharptooth Feb 15 '12 at 7:08
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They make kits that attract the bed bugs and trap them in a container so you can inspect it for their presence.

Bed Bug Detection Travel Kit

Bed Bug Detector Travel Kit

I have never used one of these so I cannot vouch for their accuary. However, I would not substitute this for a professional opinion in the event it is negative.

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I will be trying this, or several of these DIY bed bug dry ice traps:

http://bedbugger.com/2009/12/21/effective-cheap-diy-active-bed-bug-monitor/

For more specific instructions on how to build the device, see here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JZx3GrQCE0

Any suggestions on how to make this device more effective would be appreciated!

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