Are Pesticides Safe? A Response to ‘Phosphine pesticide used to kill bedbugs causes Fort McMurray baby’s death’

Bed Bug on Skin

Sad News and a Wake Up Call for Canadians

You may have heard some very sad national news earlier this week about a mother in Alberta who while trying to kill bedbugs with illegally imported pesticide accidentally poisoned her 5 children, killing her 8-month old baby and leaving her other 4 hospitalized children in critical condition. You can read CBC’s coverage of this story here: Mother using phosphine pesticide to kill bed bugs causes Fort McMurray baby’s death

*Update February 27, 2015: The second youngest child in this family, a 2-year-old boy, has also died due to exposure to the highly toxic phosphine tablets.

This is an extremely unfortunate situation. As a team member of Advantage Pest Control Inc. I feel obliged to comment on this, although it is a truly difficult subject to discuss.

Government Regulations Serve a Purpose

What I would first like to emphasize is the importance of learning from this so that similar mistakes are avoided in the future. Most importantly to note, pesticides, especially potent ones such as phosphine gas and other strictly regulated chemicals, are not to be handled carelessly, and government regulations of their use are not to be taken lightly. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency of Health Canada and the Ministry of the Environment (in Ontario) regulate such chemicals so that they do not cause harm to people, animals or the environment. Therefore following these regulations is not an option, it is the law. Such laws have been put in place in order to protect everyone after all, and a lack of knowledge and research on such matters can prove deadly, as demonstrated in this recent occurrence in Alberta.

In this particular case, the use and application of phosphine legally requires a licensed fumigation professional. This is important. Under Ontario’s Pesticide Licensing System, not all exterminator licenses cover fumigation.

Therefore, I sincerely urge everyone to do their research when it comes to any kind of pesticide.

The Best Pest Control Solution

Alongside your research, the best solution to a pest problem is hiring a reputable pest control company to take care of it. A reputable company will have highly experienced technicians who are fully licensed exterminators. They will handle all chemicals safely and in accordance with government regulations.

Here at Advantage especially, our number one priority is to offer quality pest control that is safe for everybody. The first thing our technicians ask when they arrive at a customer’s home is, “do you have any kids or pets?” Safety is extremely important to us. For example, when treating mice and ants, even without kids or pets, we always place bait stations in safe and inaccessible places around the home. In fact we always practice careful consideration of the environment and specific conditions with all pests.

On the opposite end of the quality spectrum, cheap costs can result in some very unfortunate incidents as many already know. It is usually more of a waste of money to hire a cheap exterminator whose credentials are questionable anyhow, as results are usually reflective of the service cost. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Therefore hiring a qualified pest control professional is the best way to go.

What about those who cannot afford professional pest control services?

Be Smart, Be Safe, Educate Yourself

If hiring a professional is not within your budget, make sure you educate yourself on any and all DIY pest control products you wish to use before using or even purchasing them. Do your research. Make sure any pesticides or non-chemical products you use are legally available to the public, and make sure you carefully read and follow all label instructions exactly as written. Do not take a risk when it comes to your health and well-being, as well as that of your family, pets, neighbours, and environment. Life is too precious to be wasted due to a lack of awareness. Therefore, ask questions, educate yourself and pass on this message to others.

We Are Here To Help Everyone

On our part, our pest control specialists here at Advantage are always willing and happy to answer any questions you may have or offer any advice you may need regarding pest control, even if you do not purchase any products or services from us. We are a family-owned company and so we care about you and your family.

So if you ever have any questions regarding any pest issues, please do not hesitate to call us at 416-840-4040

or email us at

Our specialists are available to speak to you every day from 8am to 8pm ET.

Together, let’s help prevent incidents such as these from happening again and help pest control be practiced as safely as possible in Toronto, the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada, and eventually around the world.




Advantage Pest Control Inc. © 2015


Please also read: Health Canada Warns Canadians Not to Use Unregistered Bedbug Control Products


Bed Bugs, A Prevailing Problem in Toronto

Bed bug

Have you ever heard of the Bed Bug Registry? It is a free, public database of bedbug sightings in Canada and the United States, with reports dating back to 2006.

Looking through some of the approximately 2270 bed bug reports in the Greater Toronto Area, one may be surprised, shocked and perhaps even appalled at the number of these reports, and some of the stories that accompany them. As a new member of the Advantage Pest Control Inc. team, I know I certainly am. I have read more than just a handful of bed bug infestation horror-stories from all around the city of Toronto, and as all well-informed professionals will agree, this issue is only getting worse.

Bed bugs have and continue to spread throughout the GTA in increasing numbers year-round. This is not only a serious issue that needs to be addressed, but one that needs to be tackled much more responsibly by all those involved.

One major issue in many bed bug infested Toronto residences is the landlords’ outright refusal to deal with the infestation. So many reports are from traumatized tenants who have done everything they could possibly do on their own to help with the issue, and still their landlords refuse to follow through with their legal obligations of hiring an Ontario licensed pest control service provider. (See Bed Bugs Infestations – Rights and Responsibilities in Ontario, as outlined by the City of Toronto’s Public Health department.)

Some landlords and property managers do take some action, but not adequately or quickly enough to actually get rid of the infestation. As such, infestations in buildings only get worse, spreading from one unit to many others, causing even more people to suffer the stress of a bed bug infestation. With the infestations continued to be left untreated, the living conditions for affected tenants can become unbearable. This is especially saddening for those who simply do not have the means to deal with their infestation or move into better living conditions. One must remember, if an entire building is infested, even if one unit is treated, re-infestation is bound to happen. Bed bugs are highly mobile, great at hiding and can survive up to one year from one feeding alone, so treating one unit while leaving an adjacent one untreated will not eradicate the infestation for long. Bed bugs are undeniably difficult pests to treat.

Even more unfortunate is that for many who do end up moving from their bed bug infested residences, if they are not careful enough, they end up bringing the bed bugs with them to their new residence. This is one way bed bugs continue to spread throughout the city.

Another unfortunate fact is that many people unknowingly and even knowingly bring in infested furniture that has been thrown out, further contributing to the spreading of bed bugs. Many individuals are uninformed about bed bugs and so it is common for thrown-away and infested furniture (that has even been clearly labeled to have bed bugs) to be picked up by passers-by within a day.

Therefore, more awareness and knowledge of how bed bugs live and spread is also incredibly needed.

With that mentioned, one cannot say landlords are all to blame. Indeed, some landlords are honest people who wish to provide their tenants with good living conditions and as such follow their legal obligations of hiring an Ontario licensed pest control service provider who offers thorough bed bug treatments. In such cases, bed bug infestations still reoccur or are never eliminated in the first place due to tenants’ lack of preparation and cooperation. This is also very unfortunate, further showing the many accompanying issues that come with Toronto’s bed bug problem.

When resolving any problem, cooperation from all parties involved is essential. This is especially imperative when treating a space for bed bugs.

This includes the pest control companies and technicians that offer the bed bug extermination services as well. Everyone involved in treating for bed bugs must do their part in order for treatment to be successful, and as much as landlord and tenant cooperation is important, pest control service providers must also offer quality service.

And since bed bugs are extremely difficult to eradicate completely, not all pest control services are alike.

This is why at Advantage Pest Control Inc. we offer integrated pest management including heat treatments for bed bug infestations. In fact we offer an integrated approach when treating all kinds of pests. Customer satisfaction is our number one concern. We understand how difficult it is dealing with a bed bug infestation and we want you to be bed bug free!

So if you or a loved one are currently dealing with a bed bug problem, do not hesitate to call us at 416-840-4040. A bed bug specialist will be happy to speak to you and book a service as early as within 24-48 hours. The earlier the treatment after detection of bed bugs, the better! (with sufficient preparation of course)

Until next time, don’t bring in any furniture off the street, and stay pest-free!

Toronto Bed Bugs – A Division of Advantage Pest Control Inc. © 2014

Bed Bugs And Travelling: Tips For Preventing Bedbugs While Travelling

Preventing Bed Bug Infestation


Are you travelling in the near future? See our tips for safe bed bugs free travel.


Toronto residents love to travel. With Pearson airport close to both the cities of Toronto and Mississauga it provides convenient travel options for Toronto homeowners. However travel is one the major factors in bed bug infestations. Bed bugs can be brought back to your Toronto home by invested clothing, suitcases or souvenirs.

Always perform a bed bug inspection of hotel rooms and sleeping areas prior to turning in for the night. Bed bugs like to hide in dark areas so behind headboards and in-between the mattress and box spring are often hot spots for bed bug activity. There are other signs of infestation to watch out for. Notify hotel management right away if you find any evidence of bed bugs. We also suggest not unpacking your clothes into dressers in case of bed bug infestation.

These do it yourself bed bug products are great to take with you to prevent bed bugs:

Bed Bug Defenders are passive bed bug monitors that slide underneath the bed posts and trap any bed bugs coming to the bed or leaving the bed after feeding. They are reusable and essential to prevent bed bug while traveling.

Powershot Bed Bug Killer is available in a convenient travel size. It provides a 14 day residual treatment. Another great product to take with you on any travel trip is the Bed Bug Defender.

Toronto’s Worst Pest Control Problems: Bed Bugs and Carpenter Ants

Toronto’s Worst Pest Control Problems: Bed Bugs and Carpenter Ants

As a major urban center Toronto has its share of pest problems. In this article we investigate two of the cities worst problems: bed bugs and carpenter ants. We provide tips for both prevention and treatment of bed bug and carpenter ant infestations.

Advantage Pest Control does offer treatment options for Toronto and other GTA regions. We have both bed bug specialists and carpenter ant specialists on staff. Please visit the link above or give us a call at 416-840-4040.

Bed Bugs in Toronto

Bed bugs can be a difficult pest to deal with and a difficult pest to get rid of. It is often hard to determine how an infestation was caused. One of our most frequent questions is “how did I get bed bugs?” Usually, however, it is one of three reasons: travelling, overnight guests, or used furniture.

How To Treat Bed Bugs

There are several options to treating bed bugs depending on factors such as time, money and labour. The most effective treatment is heat remediation for bed bugs. This is a professional service that is very labour intensive. Other professional services include steam, insecticide spray and dusting options. There are also several bed bug monitors that can be helpful in determining the presence and severity of a bed bug infestation.

A great preventative method and control method for bed bugs is mattress covers. Make sure that you purchase your mattress cover from a reputable pest control company and that the cover has been tested and proven to be bed bug proof. A bed bug proof mattress cover should be a zippered cover for your mattress. Make sure to also get box spring and pillow covers to provide ultimate bed bug protection. Bed bugs like to hide in any crack or crevice that they can find and mattress, box springs and pillows provide many harbourage areas for bed bugs to live in.

Other do it yourself options are available when a homeowner purchases reliable bed bug products. These include domestic-label insecticides, aerosols and powders including diatomaceous earth.

To summarize the best options for killing bed bugs are:

Steps in a bed bug elimination, as in any integrated pest control program, are as follows:

  1. Identification – this can be achieved through a bed bug inspection or through passive bed bug monitors.
  2. Treatment
    1. Professional Pest Control Treatments such as heat remediation, steam, spray or dusting programs.
    2. Do it yourself bed bug products such as aerosols, insecticide sprays or powders.
    3. Prevention: the best methods of prevention are bed bug proof mattress covers and bed bug monitors such as the bed bug defender. We also have a travel kit for bed bugs available, give us a call for more information.

Carpenter Ants in Toronto

Carpenter ants are a wood boring insect, which means they like to live inside wood. This can be problematic for homeowners as the structure of a house has many wooden elements. Of primary concern are foundations, roofs, decks and other wooden structures. Carpenter ants are a natural insect in the outdoors. In North America they are very common and found in most backyards. They are an important part of the ecosystem and are only a problem when start to invade structures instead of decaying and decomposing trees.

How To Treat Carpenter Ants

The best option for treating carpenter ants is an integrated method. Our professional carpenter ant specialists recommend a bait and spray treatment program. This program utilizes both carpenter ant attractive bait and a residual spray to provide maximum results in carpenter ant control. Here’s why:

  • Carpenter ants are social insects, which means that when they meet each other and pass food to each other they pass along the insecticide which they ingest when they groom themselves.
  • The bait can be carried back to the queen which is the best method to kill carpenter ants. Once the queen is eliminated, the ant colony cannot survive.
  • Residual sprays keep on killing even after they are dry which takes care of any “stragglers”.

Carpenter ants can be really difficult to treat on your own. Our specialists know about the life cycle and life ways of carpenter ants. They have been specially trained at eliminating carpenter ants from both residential and commercial properties.

A Hot Lesson in Bed Bug Treatment: How One Small Bug Can Cause One Giant Problem – EiEi Home Blog

A Hot Lesson in Bed Bug Treatment: How One Small Bug Can Cause One Giant Problem – EiEi Home Blog.


Our bed bug specialist Paolo Bossio speaks with Lisa Evans regarding heat remediation and bed bug infestations. This is a great article for property managers, hotels, motels and anyone in the tourism industry. It outlines how heat remediation kills bed bugs and why bed bugs are so hard to kill.


We offer heat remediation bed bug services in the Greater Toronto Area including Durham, Markham, Mississauga, Oakville, Richmond Hill, and Vaughan.

Case Report: Possible Bed Bugs in Pickering

Case Report: Possible Bed Bugs in Pickering

bed bug dog
Our trained K-9 team are able to detect the presence of bed bugs.

Location: Pickering, ON

Pest Problem: Bed Bugs

Entry Point: Overnight Guests

Treatment: Bed Bug Dog Inspection to determine if Bed Bugs are present at location.

Results: Our K-9 Bed Bug Detection team was dispatched to this location. The team determined that there were in fact no bed bugs at this location. The inspection determined that in fact cat fleas were the pest problem. A cat did live in the home, occasionally went outside and slept on the bed with the homeowner. The home was treated using an insecticide and internal-growth regulator for fleas. No subsequent visits needed.

Bed Bugs Treatment In Toronto

At Advantage Pest Control we mainly offer 3 different types of treatment for bedbugs.

  1. The first type of treatment is a spray only treatment. This is commonly used for light infestations or preventative measures. A general insecticide is used to cover all baseboards, along the edges of floors, and any cracks and crevices associated with those areas. The concentration of treatment is in the bedroom area. While an effective treatment for general insects to break the lifecycle, bedbugs multiple treatments will be required. Many people opt for this treatment however because it is the least evasive of all treatments. I personally recommend spray only treatments as a preventative treatment and once you have bedbugs, they can be tricky little buggers.
  2. The second type of treatment is the IPM (Integrated Pest Management) treatment. This involves not only the general spray but a dusting, and steam treatment for those places you simply can’t spray. For example, electrical outlets; liquid simply isn’t meant to go in there so instead we use a dust residual as to not cause harm to the home and its residents. Steaming places like the curtains, pillows and mattresses kills bedbugs on contact. A dust residual is then applied to those places for further protection. The IPM treatment is the most commonly used treatment as it is effective, and yet affordable. All of our IPM treatments are sold in a 2 part package, this way your second treatment is done 2 weeks after the first, breaking the lifecycle of the bedbugs. However, depending on the size of the infestation, and the cooperation of the customers for proper maintenance it may take several treatments to be rid of these pests.
  3. The third treatment would be the Thermal of Heat Remediation. This treatment is the most costly treatment that we offer for bed bugs, but it is well worth it as it is conclusive. This treatment is performed by using portable heaters and fans to push that heat all over the home. When the home reaches above 120 degrees bed bugs simply can’t survive. Even their eggs, which can be the most difficult to kill will be eliminated. This is a great chemical free option for those that have allergies or sensitivities to chemical. However it is often requested that during the cool down phase of a Heat Remediation a IPM also be performed so that a residual chemical will be there “just in case” for peace of mind. We are happy to oblige although the Heat Remediation is completely effective in a 1 time treatment to rid your home of bed bugs.

Now of course I say these are the 3 main types of treatments that we offer at Advantage Pest Control but there are also customizations available. For example mixing steam spray no dust. Or spray with dust no steam. Whatever your concerns may be we are happy to help you find the right treatment for you and your needs.

Question of the Day: Bed Bug Heat Remediation

Below one of our bed bug specialists have answered our top 3 questions about bed bugs.

1. Are pesticides the only way to get rid of bed bugs?

No, another option that works wonders is the chemical-free method called Thermal Remediation or Heat Remediation. This is what we like to call the “one shot deal”. How does it work? Well it involves bringing in a couple furnaces and getting them to heat up to a temperature of 120- 140 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature bed bugs will not be able to survive including their eggs. No waiting around for weeks and no continuous bites throughout the treatment process. This sounds pretty amazing to me.

2. So what causes a bed bug infestation? How do they get into our homes?

Well bed bugs can be brought into a home many different ways, some are never known for sure. Some examples include a friendly visit from a friend or family member or bringing in infested items like clothing or furniture, especially if they have already been used.  Garage sales are a big no-no. When apartment buildings get infested with bed bugs they can travel through cracks and crevices to and throughout your home. Even when you yourself visit an infested area like a hotel, another person’s home, the subway or even the movie theatre there is a chance of bringing home bed bugs. Since there are so many different ways to get bed bugs, and so many places for them to hide within your home, it is best to eradicate them all as soon as possible.

3. When do bed bugs come out?

Bed bugs are mainly active at night but not completely nocturnal. The best known bed bug is the common bed bug as it prefers to feed on human blood. The need for human blood is why it can cause so many problems for people. Bed bugs can cause allergic reactions, skin rashes, and have psychological effects on their human victims. Bed bug infestations have been on the rise as more homes are built, and more people travel or spend nights in other’s homes.


Do you have a question about bed bugs? Send us an email at

Are you looking for pest control in Toronto or do you have an inquiry about a product or service like Heat Remediation or Bed Bug Elimination? Give us a call at 416-840-4040 or 1-877-504-BUGS!


Toronto’s Best Bed Bug Elimination

Bed Bug Elimination
Bed bug are a human parasite that strike primarily at night. They can be found in beds, furniture, luggage and even clothing.

Bed Bugs are pests that may seem like a horror movie; the ultimate fright night for a majority of our customers. They call in panicking to find out the best treatment methods to eliminate this problem.  A lot of customers are under the impression that bedbugs just evolve in their beds but the fact of the matter bedbugs are actually brought into your homes by various ways.  Look at it this way, bedbugs can be described as the perfect hitch hikers waiting for an opportunity to latch onto you or your belongings.  They can hide in almost any nook and cranny or places such as outlets, books, movie theatres, bus, five star hotels, hospitals and any place in between.


Bedbugs do not discriminate and are a very difficult pest to get rid of.  One reason is because they have built a resistance to the insecticides used to treat them.  Another reason is the fact they are abundant multipliers.  They reproduce like crazy and prefer to feed on blood human. Keep in mind that bedbugs can survive up to a year without a blood meal. At times bedbugs can be difficult to detect because they are so small and they usually only come out at night for a blood meal. Ways you can detect that you have them is if you’re waking up with bite marks. This happens in the middle of the night while you are asleep.

Bed Bug Extermination
How To Kill Bed Bugs and Other Useful Information In Bed Bug Elimination and Prevention

Eliminating bedbugs is not an easy process. The best suggestion is to get a professional to do the job and get it done right!  A professional can provide you with a preparation list to help ensure that the problem has a greater chance of being eliminated after treatment. The technicians at Advantage Pest Control Inc are licensed, trained and experienced so they know exactly what to do. They provide different treatment methods to fit your budget and information on how they will approach the problem.  There is a show room to purchase encasement covers for your beds. We carry sizes from single to king and many other helpful tips to help put your minds at ease and put your bedbug infestation will be put to an end.