Are Bed Bugs most prominent in Toronto?
Being the largest city in Canada, Toronto is often associated first when it comes to a multitude of things. Diversity, income, corporate headquarters… well, most things. In the pest control world Toronto is most often thought of as having the worst bed bug problem and, although that may have been the case once upon a time it is no longer true!
Years ago Toronto may well have been the epicentre of the bed bug problem in Ontario but today one can find bed bugs pretty much everywhere and there are some interesting reasons for this!
Why have Bed Bugs spread to less densely populated areas than Toronto?
Fifteen years ago we saw that the bed bug problem in Ontario was primarily concentrated in Toronto proper. Many papers have been written as to why this was the case but to summarize it was thought to be due to the density of living coupled with the lower socio-economic situations commonly found in the centre of the urban environment. While that may have been the case years ago, it is absolutely not true today!
Due to the nature of bed bugs and how they procreate coupled with natural human behaviour and our ability to travel quickly and easily from place to place, we have seen a spread of bed bugs from urban core areas to the suburbs and beyond in a relatively short period of time. This spread has impacted communities ranging from small towns to outlying farm areas and beyond.
Bed bugs spread primarily by hitchhiking on clothing and on items that have come into contact either with the bed bugs themselves or the bed bug eggs that are left behind by inseminated females. Once a bed bug population takes hold in a residence others that come into contact with that bed bug population unknowingly spread the bugs to other locals which allows the bugs to eventually take hold there. We have seen this manifest significantly into more rural areas that are not normally associated with the Toronto area and there are a number of reasons for this.
Bed Bugs follow the money!
Bed bugs follow money? What a strange thing to say right? ! Here’s why it’s true…
As the cost of living in city of Toronto has increased so too has the population of people that either can’t afford to live there anymore in addition to those who seek a simpler, less hectic pace… add those to retirees and you have a migration of people who leave a dense urban centre like Toronto for the suburbs and beyond. Along with that population, their money, political leanings, attitude towards life etc. also comes bed bugs!
We have seen numerous times people that move and either bring bed bugs with them or actually contract bed bugs from the move itself! Moving vans, blankets that are supplied by moving companies and even using a moving vehicle to move or store items from different families together can result in bed bugs being transferred to a new home.
It is undeniable in our experience that when there is a human migration in search of a different lifestyle bed bugs are often part of the equation.
What has been done about Bed Bugs in Toronto?
Pest control for bed bugs in Toronto has become somewhat sophisticated of the last fifteen years. Starting off with the traditional treatments consisting of chemical applications, dusting and steaming to the most modern approach using heat to kill bed bugs, there have been significant advances in both knowledge of the insect and the methods that are used to kill them!
With bed bug extermination it is important to know that not every operator is equal as it takes significant knowledge of the insect to be effective. Doing adequate research into the qualifications and methods used by the operator that you select for your bed bug extermination is a vey important step in eradicating the problem.
Why does the city of Toronto continue to suffer with a huge Bed Bug problem?
Anyone who lives in Toronto knows that the bed bugs problem has not only not been stemmed but that it has grown consistently of the years and that if continues to get worse to this day – but why? The simple answer is ‘money’!
While it is true that getting rid of bed bugs is harder than eradicating any other pest, and there are many reasons for this, when you boil it down it costs money and for a city the size of Toronto, it costs a lot of it!
The two main factors that add to the cost of a city the size of Toronto attacking its bed bug problem are:
- The number of citizens in the city itself and
- The close proximity in which they live to one another
These factors exacerbate the bed bug problem to the point that it is often the case where a very large apartment building in the downtown core of Toronto may become so infested with bed bugs that the goal changes from that which is extermination and elimination based to one that is control based. This paradigm shift can actually become necessary in as short a period of time as one year if the bedbugs are permitted to spread and manifest in areas that are not treated quickly and effectively. Such is the nature of this pest.
The Toronto bed bug problem is here to stay!
When it comes to bed bugs Toronto was the first major city in Canada to be recognized as having a serious problem. There have been some attempts by various levels of government to try to stem the problem and these agencies are usually city based as opposed to Provincial or Federally administered. They are staffed by very motivated and caring, empathetic staff (we’ve worked closely with some of these agencies over the years) and they provide some very good information on bed bug eradication but the simple fact is that governments are always forced to work within a finite budget that must take into account all matters and concerns of a city including housing those that have no place to live to feeding those with no food so when it comes to bed bugs it is usually an issue that is pushed to the lower end of the spectrum of deemed necessity.
Considering the above and acknowledging that bed bugs, by their very nature, in associations with a migrating and ever-moving population, it is unfortunately reasonable to assume that Toronto will continue to suffer with bed bugs will into the future.