Moving season—beware of bedbugs

By Rhonda Massad

With moving season upon us, the regional director of Public Health (Plan régional de santé publique: PRSP) Laval has issued a warning regarding the spread of bedbugs.

PRSP suggests a careful inspection of the new dwelling with special attention to cracks in floors and moldings especially in bedrooms. A thorough vacuum of the premises is also recommended as well as placing the contents of the vacuum in a sealed container once complete.

According to Pierre Dulude of Cible Action Extermination calls are up 40 percent over the past three years in Laval alone. He reported that dwellings become infested with bedbugs in a variety of ways such as bugs and eggs inadvertently brought in from other infested dwellings. Then the insect travels through easy routes such as duct work or false ceilings.

Other precautions include inspection of the moving truck and blankets used by the moving company. Moreover, it is not recommended to pick up mattresses, furniture or objects found outside or in the trash.

Delude pointed out that bedbugs are usually nocturnal making their detection difficult. They often lodge in dark crevices like fabric seams. Aside from the obvious bite symptoms, signs include fecal spots, blood smears on sheets and the presence of their molted exoskeletons.

“We usually get a call after a customer has been bitten at least twice,” he said, “then the person figures out something is wrong.” He explained that bed bug bites can take up to 15 days to appear as a blister on the skin.

Although bedbugs do not transmit diseases, the bites they inflict can cause stress and anxiety to those living in the infested dwelling.

Bedbugs have broad and flat oval bodies and small wide heads. Adult bedbugs are brownish in colour, wingless and four to seven millimetres long. Before a bedbug has fed, it resembles an apple seed, but turns blood red after biting. Bedbugs cannot fly or jump. They move by walking, and do not like light. The treatment is toxic to humans and it is required to leave the location for four hours. If the customer is pregnant, Delude recommends leaving the location for 12 hours or more.

“The poison is injected into the walls and must be spread everywhere and it can take up to two treatments before eradicating the infestation,” Delude said.
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