The Toronto Sun reports that an East York woman named Lori Howard is sleeping on her balcony to avoid bed bug bites:
… since bedbugs began biting inside her new flat, she has been sleeping — and changing clothes — on her 10th floor balcony.
‘I never had it before,’ Howard said Saturday, a day after joining an Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now protest outside the 15-storey privately owned Dawes Rd. building.
ACORN, a tenant activist group, staged the rally to publicize the infestation.
Sleeping on your balcony won’t, of course, keep bed bugs from biting. They may follow the resident out there, or simply wait until she is doing something indoors. And they are also perfectly capable of waiting, a very long time, before feeding again.
The ACORN rally to publicize the building’s bed bug problems is interesting. We do not often hear about protests around buildings with bed bug infestations.
Despite the existence of the Toronto Bed Bug Project, it’s clear from the local press that much more needs to be done in the city.
MPP Mike Colle held a well-publicized bed bug summit in Toronto last week, though its too early to say what effects it may have had. (Here’s Joe Fiorito’s recap in The Star.) As in New York City, there are calls for a bed bug czar.
Toronto Public Health’s website describes bed bug protocols which are in place, and encourages residents to call them and to bring in suspected bed bug samples for identification. However,
one Bedbugger Forums user reported this week that TPH could not identify a sample brought to them, nor were they willing to send it on to an entomologist for identification.
I encourage Toronto homeowners, landlords, and tenants to complete the Toronto Bed Bug Project’s Survey. It’s important that the city knows as much as possible about how this problem is affecting residents.