Posted By BOB BOUGHNER, THE DAILY NEWS
Posted 1 hour ago
Bed bug infestations are a huge problem today in Chatham-Kent and around the world, according to pest management specialist Steve Peltier.
The owner of Steve’s Pest Management said in 2006 when he first predicted bed bug would become a huge problem many people scoffed at him.
In 2009 Peltier’s firm received 2,500 calls from area residents wanting to rid their homes of bedbugs.
“So far this year we’ve received more than 4,000 calls and counting,” he said.
Peltier says his firm is now the largest in Canada dealing with the bed bug problem and he was invited to speak at a recent Canadian Health Inspectors’ conference in London.
“Bed bugs have become a pandemic around the world,” he said. “And chances are if you haven’t been bitten you will be in the near future.”
Rosemarie Arndt, manager of environmental services for the Chatham-Kent Health Unit, said she’s heard the buzz about bed bugs.
“But it’s something we don’t get involved with since bed bugs don’t transmit disease,” she said. “Therefore, for us, it’s not a health issue. It’s the same thing with head lice.”
Peltier blames the problem on global travel and the lack of any pesticide to kill bedbugs.
“There is nothing on the market that will kill the new strain of bugs,” he said. “All we can do is steam everything in a home or apartment and hope it works.”
The average cost of steam cleaning a home is $1,500. Peltier also sells steam cleaners for the do-it-yourselfer.
About the size of a tick, the household bed bug -cimex lectularius -feeds only on blood. They are active at night, usually hiding during the day close to where people sleep.
If a house is infested, bed sheets or mattresses will normally be stained with dark brown spots -bed bug excrement. Spots of dried blood may also be found in the bed. Another likely sign is an offensive smell, which is rotting blood.
Once they make themselves at home, bed bugs will quickly spread to all areas of the house, Peltier said.
He said with the banning of certain preventatives, such as DDT, and a change in modern extermination techniques, the bed bug population has exploded.
Peltier said hotels, hospitals and college dorms are all places where people can end up with a bed bug clinging to their clothes or hiding in their luggage.
People then return home and before they know it. bed bugs are in their house, Peltier said.
A bed bug bite is painless. An adult bug can live for up to six months without a blood meal. A female can lay as many as 300 eggs during a lifetime, which may produce up to four generations per year.
Peltier recommends homeowners step up their sanitation practices including additional vacuuming and washing of bed sheets at least once a week.
Peltier said bed bugs have also become a mental health issue.
“Many people can’t sleep at night thinking they are being bitten,” he said.
According to pestcontrolcanada.com,the bed bug used to be common in homes prior to the Second World War. Since then, they were rarely seen “outside of cramped living quarters and less than sanitary conditions in jails and homeless shelters.
“In the last five years there has been a resurgence. Bed bugs have become a particular problem in hotels, motels, and hostels where there is a high rate of occupant turnover. Even five star hotels are having problems with bed bugs,” said the pest control industry website.
Specially trained dogs were used to sniff out bed bugs in Toronto hotel rooms prior to the G20 summit in June.
Despite repeated attempts calls to other pest management firms were not returned or could not be reached for comment.