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Bed Bugs – The Ugly Truth

A friend of mine recently had to replace their water heater. The project itself became a bit more complicated and as a result there were various trades people in the home. At one point long ‘moving’ blankets were used to protect the floors.

My friend ended up with a bed bug infestation. While it can’t be linked directly to the ‘work’ that was being done, as a real estate agent (sales representative) I felt this was important to touch on for two reasons:

1. To draw attention to the fact that, any time you are using something in your house that has been in various other homes – ask questions and check the items.

2. While having bed bugs has nothing to do with cleanliness, having clutter or areas where they can thrive can further drive the infestation should you get one.

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are flat, reddish-brown, oval insects often the size of an apple seed. There are many possible signs of bed bug activity:

1. Seeing the bed bugs in your house.

2. Finding bed bug skin casings. As the juvenile bugs grow, they shed their skins; discovery of which can indicate their presence.

3. Bites also may indicate bed bug activity, but further signs will need to be found, since other sources can cause red welts on the skin.

4. They eventually defecate in areas, which appears as black to brown stains on porous surfaces or black to brown mounds on nonporous surfaces.

How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs

A bed bug infestation has nothing to do with cleanliness. It’s possible to pick them up at almost any place—they’ve infested offices, stores, hotels, gyms and countless other places. They can hide in your luggage, personal belongings, or even on you. Once indoors, they can be extremely difficult to control without the help of an experienced pest specialist. In Toronto, here are some companies to contact and

For some preventative measures:

1. Check possible hiding places (both in your home and while traveling). Bed bugs don't just hide in beds. Some examples of where to look for them:

  1. Seams, creases, tufts and folds of mattresses and box springs

  2. Cracks in bed frames and head boards

  3. Underneath chairs, couches, beds and dust covers

2. Vacuum every day – very thoroughly and in every nook and cranny

3. Launder your bed linens regularly. Bed bugs are sensitive to extreme temperatures so washing your linens in hot water can be a treatment. I’ve heard various opinions on how hot the water needs to be and whether home washing machines actually kill them. I think it’s best to check with the experts, especially since you may have many items to launder.

4. Seal holes and caulk up any crevices you find, no matter how small. If you find damage to furniture you may want to consult with a bed bug specialist. Repair peeling wallpaper and tighten loose light switch plates.

5. Cover those pipes, bed bugs travel along routes created by any kind of pipes or electrical conduits so it is important to seal any openings where pipes or wires enter your home.

6. Inspect new furniture before bringing furniture inside. Even if that sofa is new, it doesn't mean the truck it was on didn't have bed bugs.

8. If you live in a condo and discover that you have an infestation, be sure to contact your property management company as the process might need to be handled differently and the condo insurance may cover some or all of the costs.


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