Tens of thousands of residences called exterminators to combat bed bugs
Toronto has been recognized as the worst city in Canada for bed bugs for the third year in a row, according to a press release from Orkin Canada on Monday.
Canadian cities were ranked by the number of bed bug treatments performed by Orkin from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2020. This ranking includes residential and commercial treatments.
Other jurisdictions in Ontario that are among the top 10 worst cities in Canada for bed bugs are Sudbury, Oshawa, Scarborough, Whitby, and Ottawa.
Bernie Grafe, branch manager at Orkin’s Greater Toronto Area residential division, said tens of thousands of residences in Toronto were treated for bed bugs in 2020.
Despite this, there has been a 20 per cent reduction in bed bug sightings across Canada because of lockdown measures, according to Grafe.
“COVID is having a huge impact on the production of bed bugs sightings for the same reasons why we’re seeing reductions in flus and things like that — because people are social distancing,” said Grafe.
Grafe said lockdown measures and social distancing requirements mean people are spending less time together in dense, congregated areas.
Some measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of picking up bed bugs are not putting clothing or luggage on a bed, using metal luggage racks at all times, packing belongings in small plastic bags — and watching out for the bugs in dark, cool places with long-term exposure to different people.
Live bed bugs will leave dark brown or black spots of dried excrement on infested surfaces and release a subtle, sweet and musty odour. Adult bed bugs have a reddish-brown colour and measure 5-6 millimetres long, while baby bed bugs have a gold or white colour and are 1-4 millimetres long.
Grafe said early detection is critical for dealing with bed bugs.
“Unfortunately, bed bugs, even within our industry, are the most difficult pest to treat,” he said. “Their bodies are built like small tanks.”
It is best to contact a pest control company to deal with bed bugs but there are actions people can take themselves to get rid of them. A treatment with dry steam can eliminate bed bugs, and a proper insecticide can be sprayed in cracks and crevices where they are located.
Ryerson is familiar with dealing with bedbugs. A group of reporters at the Eyeopener found bed bugs in room 205 of the Victoria Building in 2018. Ryerson ended up cancelling classes in VIC 205 upon learning about the bed bugs.
More bed bugs were found in the Ryerson University Library in 2019. A row of desks on the 10th floor of the Ryerson library ended up being blocked off.
Two reports of possible bed bug sightings — one in the Ryerson Library and one in the Ted Rogers School of Management — were made in March. Ryerson Facilities Management and Development said they would cordon off the area and conduct a heat treatment.