News is ripping through the DTES that BC Housing may have found an effective way to control bedbug populations in SRO hotels.
The DTES is Vancouver’s bed bug-beleaguered Downtown Eastside.
And now, Eby continues,
BC Housing determined that ‘food grade diatomaceous earth, fresh water based’ within the wall cavities of SRO hotels will be a very effective method for dealing with the pesky critters.
We’ve heard about the drill-holes-in-the-wall-and-fill-them-with-DE method before, and have heard of PCOs doing this to help counteract the spread of bed bugs within the walls of buildings, from one unit to another.
It seems like a useful enough measure, but luckily, it does not seem to be the whole plan.
This BC Housing Newsletter (click for a PDF, see page 4) indicates the organization is considering and/or trying out some of the newest bed bug technologies including bed bug sniffing dogs, extreme temperatures, steam, thermal treatment (such as the sauna placed in the new RainCity development) and (this is a new one to me) smoke pellets which are said to be currently in use in the US but not yet approved by Health Canada.
As DTES resident stephanie argues in the comments, the plan is not a cure-all, and instead,
BC Housing should be getting a pest control company to treat infested buildings as a cleanout – each infested unit, plus the units above, below, and on either side, or even building-wide. *Minimum* two treatments two weeks apart. There is no substitute for a comprehensive, well-executed pest control strategy.
The other thing they should be doing is routine inspections for bedbugs – every three months to start, cutting back to every six, maybe, once it’s under control. A very large number of people don’t react to the bites, so they don’t become aware they have the bugs until the bugs become visible – and given how well bedbugs hide, if you start seeing them you have a very serious infestation on your hands. Relying on self-reporting, combined with inadequate landlord response, is what’s got a lot of buildings into this mess in the first place.
Yup. We know self-reporting is inadequate in terms of determining which units are infested.
stephanie also gives her bed bug activism credentials:
A note: the reason I can yabber about this is because I’ve been involved in DTES community responses to the bedbug crisis, and because I helped to develop my DTES co-op’s bedbug strategy. It’s worked. Because we’ve been proactive with inspections and treatment (including helping disabled members with unit prep, etc.), we haven’t had a single instance of unit-to-unit transmission in my building.
Right on, stephanie! Sounds like the rallying cry to potential members of (the as yet not existing to my knowledge) Vancouver vs. Bed Bugs.
I got to this story via Beyond Robson.
This is the Vancouver page on the Bed Bug Registry.
This is Vancouver Coastal Health’s Guide to Bed Bug Control.