For an increasing number of Toronto residents, the war on terror means battling a tiny, but stubborn army of quarter inch-long insects.
Bed bugs (Latin name Cimex lectularius) are multiplying in homes and public spaces across the city and causing paranoia and fear in the ranks of the sleep-deprived.
They are easy to pick up and notoriously difficult to get rid of. They hide in movie theatres, libraries, first-class hotel rooms, behind baseboards and, of course, on mattresses and box springs. Once attached to a sweater or a backpack, bed bugs can follow a host home and, if female, lay hundreds of eggs.
Bed bug-related calls to Orkin PCO Services, a pest-control company based in Mississauga, have jumped about 30 per cent each year for the past two years.
“There is no sure answer as to why bed bug activity has increased,” said Orkin’s Dan Dawson.
“Some people believe that the banning of chemicals like DDT may have contributed to the resurgence. But increased travel may also be a reason because people are sleeping on beds and in places that may have bed bugs and they may be bringing them back home.”
His company treats bed bug infestations with a combination of low-odour sprays, dusts, aerosols, vacuums and steam – a process that may take several visits.
The good news is there is hope for reversing the trend.
Dawson believes with raised public awareness, early detection, and using all the pest control methods in their arsenal, big cities can keep bed bugs at bay. Continued...