When it comes to pests, few can raise the hair on the back of your neck like bed bugs—and there are a lot of people in the GTA with that feeling. City & Country Pest Control reports that with almost 2,300 reported bed bug cases, Toronto is the per-capita bed bug-infestation capital of North America.1
Despite the provincial government investing $5.0 million to combat Ontario’s bed bug problem (Toronto received $1.2 million), City & Country Pest Control says they’re making a comeback, and have been found in homes, apartments, hotels, hospitals, libraries, movie theatres, subways, and more.2
In 2005, the city of Toronto recorded only 190 cases of bed bug infestation. By 2008, that number had swelled to 1,300; in 2009, it increased to 1,528; and in 2010, it topped 2,106 infestations.3
City & Country Pest Control reports that since introducing the $5.0-million anti-bed bug campaign in 2010, the number of reported bed bug cases has been declining. According to Toronto Public Health, there were about 1,764 calls in 2011 and 1,375 calls in 2012. But the $1.2 million earmarked for Toronto is running out—that may be good news for bed bugs, but it’s certainly bad news for Torontonians.
As City & Country Pest Control explains, growing to just four to five millimetres in length, bed bugs subsist on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded hosts, including birds, rodents, bats, and pets. Because bed bugs are nocturnal pests, they feed on their hosts while they sleep. The experts at City & Country Pest Control warn that while bed bugs do not spread any disease and their bite is painless, the bite can cause skin to become irritated, inflamed, and itchy.
While people generally associate the nocturnal bloodsucking pest with filthy living conditions, the fact of the matter is that bed bugs feel just at home in a clean, uncluttered environment. Despite their location-specific name, City & Country Pest Control explains that bed bugs can live almost anywhere: from the couch you picked up at a yard sale to clothing, books, movie theatre seats, luggage, behind electrical sockets, behind wallpaper, and the list goes on.
Female bed bugs can lay between one and 12 eggs per day; and her nymphs are on the hunt for blood immediately after they hatch—but bed bugs are resourceful and can live for several months without food. They can also live for a long time; an adult bed bug can live up to 18 months—more than enough time to witness the birth of five or more generations.
Aside from itchy welts, how can you tell if you are living with bed bugs? City & Country Pest Control advises homeowners to be ever-watchful of some of the most telltale signs of a bed bug infestation, including the presence of blood stains from crushed bugs or rusty, dark spots of excrement on sheets, mattresses, bedding, clothing, walls, etc.
To successfully eliminate an infestation, City & Country Pest Control explains you have to find and kill every viable bed bug; this is a very difficult task when you consider that bed bugs can hide almost anywhere. If you think you can kill them with a simple pesticide, guess again.
Bed bugs can sense chemical odours and can avoid areas where pesticides have been applied. As a result, City & Country Pest Control says it can be very difficult to eliminate bed bugs with the use of pesticides in Toronto and the GTA due to their high resistance to most insecticides.
Instead, City & Country Pest Control implements a two-step program that consists of a thorough inspection, followed by a direct treatment of crack and crevice harbourage areas, electrical outlets, and so on. They then return within two weeks’ time to complete a thorough inspection and to spot-treat any areas that may have some light bed bug activity. The company has been successful in eliminating bed bug activity in people’s homes and businesses since 1989. For more information on how City & Country Pest Control can you help with your bed bug infestation, call 905-455-1102 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. “City Maps,” bedbugregistry.com; http://bedbugregistry.com/metro/, last accessed May 23, 2013.
2. Fiorito, J., “Toronto bedbug war still rages, especially in Parkdale: Fiorito,” Toronto Star, May 22, 2013; http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/05/22/toronto_bedbug_war_still_rages_especially_in_parkdale_fiorito.html, last accessed May 24, 2013.
3. Hopper, T., “Reports of Toronto bed bug infestations spike by nearly 40% in 2010,” National Post, June 6, 2011; http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/06/10/reports-of-toronto-bed-bug-infestations-spike-by-nearly-40-per-cent-in-2010/, last accessed May 24, 2013.