Swarms of bloodthirsty bedbugs are taking over entire apartment buildings across the city, and public health officials warn that it’s only getting worse.
And how do bed bugs come to take over “entire apartment buildings”?
Step one: when tenants complain of bed bugs, treat once and never follow up.
[Tenant April Lariviere] first noticed the bugs in her furniture last spring. It’s gotten so bad in her northside apartment that she’s had to throw out their mattresses, couches and chairs. They now sleep on air mattresses on the living room floor.
“We’re living in Tupperware containers,” she said. “Everything has to be sealed up to keep the bedbugs off.”
She said the building was fumigated in the spring, but the bugs came right back.
“Nothing’s happened since them,” she said. “There was no follow-up.”
Bed bugs are not new to Edmonton; the city has been struggling for years.
What are the laws regarding bed bugs in Edmonton? According to the CBC,
Alberta‘s public health act and housing regulations require a landlord to provide a tenant with a healthy and habitable environment. A tenant with bedbugs is advised to report the dwelling to the regional health authority. Health inspectors will then assess the problem and in most cases order the landlord to take care of it.
In the Sun article, Ken Dong, a senior environmental health official with Alberta Health, notes matters are complicated in the building Lariviere lives in, because many tenants are renting their suites from individual condo owners who live out of town. But Alberta Health is now on the case:
After several complaints from tenants, Dong said, a health inspector recently went through the place again and informally told the management company to work with the condominium board and tenants to get rid of the pests.
Dong acknowledged that it’s complicated because most of the suites’ owners live out of town and rent them out.
He said inspectors will continue to monitor the building, and if they’re not satisfied with how the infestation is being handled, they can slap the condo board with a formal order. Failure to comply with the order could result in fines. They can also order suites vacated.
It would be a shame if the tenants lost their homes after having suffered from bed bugs for so long. Let’s hope it does not come to that.
Living in the Edmonton area?
Capital Health has a Bed Bug Prevention PDF and a Bedbugs Fact Sheet; you can download both here.