Bedbugs gone wild!

By: Nelson Branco

Toronto is tops again — but this is one creepy list we’d prefer not to be on.

Orkin Canada claims The Six has the largest bedbug infestation problem in Canada.

The problem seems so bad that Toronto was mentioned twice: Scarborough also made the top 10 at No. 9.

The pest and termite control company released the data because summer travel is in high gear, which means bedbugs might be doing a lot of free travelling this season.

Tracy Leach, a Toronto Public Health manager, assured the Toronto Sun that the bedbug problem hasn’t gotten worse than when it exploded in North America roughly 10 years ago.

“I can’t speak to the overall number of bedbugs in the entire city because they’re not reportable. But what I can say is we’re on track to receive the same number of complaints this year as we did in 2016,” Leach said.

She added no one is immune from the seemingly indestructible parasite that can invade any — no matter what neighbourhood or community you live in.

“(These nocturnal crawlers) do not discriminate,” Leach stressed. “Bedbugs are not a reflection of sanitary conditions. (Unknowingly,) people move bed bugs from one place to another location in the city — that’s how they survive. Of course, an area with a high concentration of people increases the bedbug risk.”

So what about the TTC? Can bedbugs survive on the subway? Or is that an urban myth despite a handful of recent eyewitness reports?

TTC spokesperson Brad Ross has maintained that “transit vehicles are an inhospitable environment for bedbugs and won’t survive long on their own.”

However, Leach put the issue to, er, bed, saying: “It’s possible to see a bedbug anywhere. Again, if someone has an extreme infestation at home, gets on the subway, certainly, they could drop one there. They’ve been found in many public places. But we’re not aware of any sightings on transit because the TTC isn’t a residence.”

But don’t fret — if a bedbug happens to jump on you on the transit system, you won’t be dinner right away.

“They don’t latch on and stay on a person,” Leach explained. “They harbour in a space — usually in a sleeping area — because they feed on a (dozing) person for a blood meal. If a person acquires a bedbug in a public place, the bedbug will hitchhike to find a new person to feed on at night.”

If we can put a man on the moon, surely we’ll be able to eliminate bedbugs forever, right?

“Bedbugs were never extinct before their recent comeback. They were under control because of the pesticides that existed at the time, but the chemical was banned because they were extremely harmful to human health,” she said. “Insects are very adaptable so I can’t comment. Control is our goal — not elimination at this time.”

Top 10 cities:

Toronto

Winnipeg

Vancouver

Ottawa

St. John’s

Edmonton

Halifax

Sudbury

Scarborough

Calgary

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