The adage “don’t let the bed bugs bite” is getting a lot harder to follow these days. In an article from the Canadian Press, two seniors’ homes in Alberta and four buses in Edmonton have been treated for bed bug infestation. While bed bugs are generally no cause for alarm, health officials admit that controlling them is a lot more difficult these days than it was almost 20 years ago.
The higher frequency of public transportation and travel is generally recognized as a major contributor to the rise of bed bug cases in Canada. The incidence has become so high that even a luxury hotel in Vancouver is just as likely to suffer from a bed bug infestation as a typical condo in Toronto. Even reputable pest control companies like Skeddadle Humane Wildlife Control now have to exert plenty of effort to completely remove these insects from a single bed, including the use of a combination of heat treatment and pesticides.
According to Lynne Navratil of Alberta Health Services, bed bugs are “hard to kill”. They are so tiny that they can hide in small cracks on the walls, and can even infiltrate adjacent rooms simply by navigating through cracks and crevices. In fact, by the time that people feel the urge to scratch themselves while sleeping, the infestation has already been well under way for quite some time.
The report also mentioned that a bed bug infestation is more likely to occur in places that have clutter and/or high human activity. Health officials are convinced that promoting cleanliness is no guarantee to stop these pesky bed bugs from striking. Navratil said, “They’re not attracted to dirt. They’re attracted to blood – to people who they can feed off of,” which means bed bugs are practically anywhere and everywhere.
The good news is that bed bugs don’t exactly pose a direct danger to the general public. While these insects suck blood from sleeping people and animals, they are not known to transmit any harmful disease. However, Navratil says that those who have very sensitive skin and/or allergies to small insects tend to experience greater discomfort, and perhaps an allergic reaction, than most other people. Additionally, one indirect consequence of a bed bug infestation is the increased likelihood to contract secondary skin infection (e.g. from small cuts caused by excessive scratching).
To control the bed bug infestation in one’s home, people should call in professional help like Skeddadle Humane Wildlife Control. People can also help slow down the spread of bed bugs by using pesticides approved by Health Canada.