Several Pitman Hall residents were forced to move last Wednesday after a resurfacing bed bug problem required Ryerson housing to call in a pest control company.
The rooms, located on the eighth floor, were fumigated Friday afternoon and will remain empty for at least 14 days before students can move back in. The pesticide treatment is expected to cost Ryerson housing almost $1,000.
Ryerson has a recurring bed bug problem, and yet students were only moved out for 2 weeks while the units were “fumigated”. I put this word in scare quotes, because it is unlikely an experienced Pest Control Pperator (PCO) would use fumigation to treat bed bugs. True fumigation (tenting an entire building and using Vikane gas) is not widely done. Bug bombs (the fumigation most people know) are not effective with bed bugs–they simply spread further. I assume this terminology was applied by the writer and not the Pest Control company, since Toronto has quite a bed bug epidemic, it’s likely PCOs in Toronto know not to use bug bombs. And I think if the entire building were tented with Vikane gas, if that’s even legal in Ontario, the description would be quite different than that above, and the cost much higher.
Students were moved to other rooms. I wonder if any precautions were taken against their moving the bed bugs around the dorms? The article does not say. But we at Bedbugger can tell you, moving bed bugs–even if you take what some would consider extreme precautions (like throwing away nearly everything you own and laundering and bagging the rest) can still allow you to “move” bed bugs to your new home.
Needless to say, students who’d taken no precautions will very likely move with some bed bugs, and spread the infestation.
Ryerson’s administration also does not understand how hard it is to see your bed bugs:
Weppler said only one bed bug was found on the eighth floor, but that one bed bug was a good enough reason to call in pest control.
Yes it was. Some of us rarely or never see bed bugs. That does not mean they are not there. Just as seeing one bed bug does not mean there are not hundreds more, multiplying daily.
Weppler said that the housing department steam cleans all the rooms at the start of the school year, and uses sticky insect traps to catch any bugs that may crawl into the residence. But even if all of the bugs are gone, the students who were moved out are not obligated to return to their former room, and may choose to stay in their new digs instead.
Despite the offer from housing to move back, Kovacs will be the only student from the group to return to the suite. She will probably be alone there until January, when a new batch of students may arrive.
Well, Kovacs may move in to a still-infested unit, since most bed bug infestations (based on those I am familiar with, which is many) take at least three treatments spread over a month or two in order to get rid of bed bugs. And you don’t just spray, you need to do a lot more. And adjacent units, if not the whole dorm, should be treated. You can’t just see one bug and assume it’s the only one.
On the other hand, Kovacs’ old roomies may also be living with bed bugs. Under these apparently poor pest control conditions, whether you move or return home is probably not going to make a huge difference.
The student paper is called The Eyeopener. It sounds like Ryerson’s eyes aren’t quite open, when it comes to this hardy pest.