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

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Top 10 Tips for Landlords to Keep Bed Bugs Away

  1. Be Proactive

Provide pest information to tenants. Have a plan of action if you get a report of bed bugs. Train staff on bed bug identification and management.

  1. Conduct regular inspections

Monitor units that have been previously infested. Vigilance in inspection can mean catching an infestation at its beginning stages, minimizing the number of treatments. The frequency of inspections may be adjusted based on the level of infestation.

  1. Work with your tenants

Don’t blame your tenants. Anyone can get bed bugs.

  1. Plan ahead

Give your tenants enough time to prepare for the pest control treatment. Preparation can be an enormous task. See our preparation recommendations.

  1. Identify at risk units

Some tenants, such as the elderly or disabled, may require some assistance with bed bug preparation. Be willing to help them seek assistance from family or friends, or professionals. Please contact Toronto Public Health if unable to find assistance.

  1. Purchase vacuums and steamers

Tenants may need assistance if they do not own a vacuum or steamer to clean furniture and belongings prior to pest control application.

  1. Form a tenant volunteer group

Other tenants may be willing to assist their neighbours with bed bug preparation.

  1. Provide materials

Tenants will need plastic wrap when disposing of furniture. Post signs in garbage disposal areas advising tenants that items may be infested with bed bugs.

  1. Be willing to hire professionals

Hire reputable pest control companies who can resolve your bed bug problem.

  1. Seal up hiding spots

Make sure all holes, cracks, gaps, and voids around pipes, baseboards and electrical cover plates are sealed with caulking or expansion foam to prevent pests from traveling unit to unit.