Bed bugs are pervasive in residential high-rise buildings. In condo communities dealing with them requires a team effort among residents and management.
Identifying pest infestations is expensive and time consuming. Regular inspections of all units for pest control purposes, allowed under the Condo Act, are impractical and inefficient.
Recognize Bed Bugs and their Bite
Reddish-brown, about three millimetres long and oval-shaped. Their bite is similar to a mosquito bite – a red welt that is itchy.
Where Bed Bugs Reside and When
Bed bugs are often found hiding in mattress seams and emerge at night. They can spread via bags, clothing, discarded furniture and electronics. Peak season is between June and October. Weather is warmest during these months and they reproduce faster during this period. Warmer weather allows bed bugs to survive longer making it easier to inadvertently transfer them to other locations.
Bed bugs can live for 12-18 months hidden in walls, clothing or clutter between feedings.
Eliminating Bed Bugs
Kill off adults and eggs inside your home. This can be done by heating them to a temperature of at least 49 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit); or by freezing them to at least -18 degrees Celsius (0 degrees Fahrenheit) for two to four days, or to -7 degrees Celsius (20 degrees Fahrenheit) for about a week.
The do-it-yourself approach is unlikely to work for larger items, complete rooms or suites.
A more balanced approach is to have residents and management work together. This can be achieved when residents report infestations to management which handles pest control. Management is relieved of the nearly impossible tasks of identifying the source of an infestation, dealing with it at a later stage and attempting to charge residents for infestations likely not caused by them. Residents report pest infestations, knowing this will not cost them, rather than allowing smaller pest infestations to spread.
Early detection through resident reporting helps prevent pest infestations from spreading. When management does not charge pest control fees to conscientious residents reporting pest infestations, residents are less likely to live with them or attempt home grown remedies during which time bed bugs or other infestations can spread to other units in a building.
The one thing a corporation cannot do if there is a bed bug problem is ignore it. Early detection and control efforts are crucial to their elimination.