And bed bugs may actually win the Supervillain! title this year, since they’ve been hard at work in Toronto.
After all, a recent request from the city for $15 million from the provincial Ontario government, which would have helped fight bed bugs in Toronto for the next five years, was recently rejected.
…said the city needs to move past the studying stages and set up a bed bug task force. She said the province should provide nearly $3 million so the city can establish a dedicated bed bug unit.
“Containing them, killing them with heat, caulking and sealing units, developing best practices; that is what we have learned here over the last four years. We have done enough research. We need dollars for action,” Fletcher told CTV News on Monday.
Note: Councillor Fletcher has been fighting the good fight against bed bugs for a long time (as this 2007 article in The Star demonstrates).
Despite the best intentions and many of the best minds being brought to a problem, funding is so essential as cities and local governments try to help their citizens fight bed bugs.
One of the ways many cities do this is by inspecting homes for bed bugs, so that local housing codes can be enforced.
We have heard reports in New York City that there are not enough inspectors to inspect all of the rental homes where tenants report bed bug problems.
And in January 2009, Cincinnati had to stop inspecting for bed bugs after funding was not granted in the 2009 budget.
Where would the $3 million go in Toronto?
Fletcher says the provincial funding would hire a dedicated staff of 17 people, including a project manager, public health inspectors and nurses. The money would also go toward improving the city’s Bug and Scrub extreme cleaning program.
Currently the city is redirecting workers from other departments to combat the bed bug scourge. But there are fears that a major outbreak or threat, such as another listeria crisis, would put an end to the war on bed bugs and lead to further growth.
We’ve heard about how poorly bed bugs are being handled in many cases in social housing in Toronto, a problem this article did not address.
We also like what we’ve heard about the Bug and Scrub program, which helps provide sliding scale bed bug prep and treatment (read more about it here).
While bed bugs are seen as a lesser medical concern than listeria, H1N1 or other outbreaks and potential outbreaks, serious steps need to be taken to control them.
They do carry their own very real negative health effects, as well as serious economic effects for sufferers and for the community as a whole. Toronto simply can’t afford to let this problem get worse.
Oh, I told you we had something really exciting in the pipeline? Stay tuned. We’ll shortly be getting a first-hand account from Bedbugger spideyjg about what he learned on his trip to the ESA conference as a Bedbugger blogger!