The below article was written by Jen Skerritt and Bartley Kives of the Montreal Gazette.
Canada is reaching across the border for new chemicals to fight the country’s growing bedbug problem, but some worry the tools won’t wipe out the bloodsucking pests if people don’t co-operate with exterminators.
One such chemical, Demand CS, recently became available in Canada, and promises to get into cracks and crevasses where the pests hide and kill new bedbugs as they hatch.
In Winnipeg, the parasites have been sighted everywhere from care homes to libraries and buses. City officials treated one bus as a preventive measure in January after a passenger reported seeing the insect on the vehicle. The city could not confirm the presence of bugs.
City entomologist Taz Stuart praised the federal government for actively pursuing products available in the United States.
“They’ve agreed to go out and get the products and make them available in Canada.”
Lincoln Poulin, general manager of Poulin’s Pest Control Services, estimates that close to half of all residents with bedbug infestations don’t prepare their property to be sprayed, forcing exterminators to come back another time and lowering the odds the bedbugs can be killed with one treatment.
Other times, they refuse altogether.
“I’ve been in (apartment) blocks where you have one person in the middle who refuses to co-operate,” Poulin said. “And people on each side of them . . . are still suffering from bedbugs because the middle unit will not co-operate.”
Poulin said governments need to do a better job at educating the public about how to prevent bedbugs, and what to look for so infestations can be caught early and treated faster.
Winnipeg’s Residential Tenancies Branch deputy director Linda Wray said the branch gets involved in the fray if tenants in an infested building won’t let landlords in to spray for the bugs.
“Most tenants want to co-operate, because they don’t want bedbugs. But we have cases where that happens,” she said, pointing out that some tenants are concerned about chemical spraying, or resistant to the workload involved in treating an infestation.
Refusing to let your landlord into your suite to spray for bedbugs can have ramifications, even if your unit isn’t infested. Getting rid of the pests sometimes requires spraying the entire floor of a complex, or the entire complex. If one unit is missed and insects re-infest an area, a landlord can file a claim against the tenant for extra spraying costs, Wray said.
Wray wasn’t aware of whether any bedbug-related evictions have ever gone to hearings.
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