Today, bed bug news from Saskatoon and Salt Lake City.
First, an entire apartment building is being treated for bed bugs in the Fairhaven area of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan after “a couple isolated incidents” of bed bugs. This appears to be a fairly proactive move, if it is true that the incidents were isolated and few in number.
The StarPhoenix says the building is being “fumigated,” but don’t let the word fool you, since residents are only required to evacuate for 6 hours, we can assume traditional spraying is being done. This article from the StarPhoenix focuses on one couple–Richard Pain and his wife have respiratory problems and must evacuate for a week with nowhere to go.
This highlights a common problem–the hidden costs tenants face while dealing with bed bugs.
And the article also gives a sense (albeit based on anecdotal evidence) of the recent rise of bed bugs in Saskatoon:
Lesley Willfong of Poulin Pest Control in Saskatoon said the number of reported cases of bed bugs is way up from last year.
“It seems like every other call we get is for bed bugs,” said Willfong. “Before last year, it was only a couple times a week.”
The first sign of a bed bug infestation is the appearance of small brown or red spots on bed linens or a noticeable swelling or itching where someone has been bitten.
Willfong said her colleagues in Winnipeg were talking about bed-bug problems a few months before the problem escalated in Saskatoon.
Read the full story: Bed bugs biting at Fairhaven apartment complex from The StarPhoenix.
Another article from the Deseret Morning News in Utah is a basic introduction to bed bugs–but with some iffy advice.
For example, this article suggests you might get rid of bed bugs by vacuuming. While vacuuming certainly has a place in a bed bug control and avoidance program, I don’t think enthusiastic vacuuming is an alternative to professional help, especially if bed bugs are spotted. But these quotations from Diane Keay, environmental health area supervisor in the Salt Lake Valley Health Department, suggest otherwise:
She recommends vacuuming a lot. Although they’re not associated with poor housekeeping, as some people have suggested, “none of us vacuum around the bed every day.” You must, if you want to eradicate them without chemicals. And they’re not just in the bed. They can be in carpets and wall baseboards and other places nearby. Be aware, as well, that they may settle in or around a favorite chair or hitch a ride in the fold of the backpack that’s so often on you.
There are ways to eradicate bed bugs “without chemicals,” but they involve steam, or gas, or heat. Possibly cold, or ozone. But not simply vacuuming.
You don’t usually need to toss things, Keay says. Just trap the bugs and vacuum, vacuum, vacuum or have a professional deal with serious infestations.
I agree “tossing things” is usually not necessary and often just spreads bed bugs to your neighbors. However, the advice to “vacuum, vacuum, vacuum,” grates, as does the newspaper’s graphic of the happy blonde brandishing her canister vac.
Near the end of the article, we’re told that
People don’t feel the introductory bites. The reaction, sometimes quite severe, develops over time. In the meantime, the little creatures reproduce.
This statement that “People don’t feel the introductory bite,” is inaccurate. Bed bugs are designed to bite us without our knowing until after the fact. If we ever have a clue, that is.
Some people never react to the bites. (Up to 50%, Michael Potter says, do not react to bed bug bites.) Others get reactions from the start, but almost nobody feels them as they occur.
Other advice in the article is good–keeping luggage away from hotel beds, using pesticides only as labeled–but overall, the Deseret Morning News needs to do more research on bed bugs.
You can read the Deseret Morning News article Bugged? Bed bugs making a comeback, even in Utah here.