OTTAWA – Of the few good things that come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, bed bug sightings fell in 2020.
In a report released Tuesday by Orkin Canada, bed bug sightings fell 20 percent in 2020, the first decrease in the report’s five-year history.
Bernie Grafe, Orkin Canada’s branch manager for the Greater Toronto Area Housing Department, said the pandemic was the main driver behind the decline.
“Bed bugs are hitchhikers,” he said in a telephone interview with CTVNews.ca. “When people move around and visit, travel, go to work, go to public places, hotels, long term rentals, as you call it, they are essentially transporting the bed bugs around.”
“You don’t see many people congregating in higher percentages and areas so the bed bugs just don’t spread.”
Grafe said this was a trend that Orkin Canada is seeing nationwide, but cautioned that this decline could go away after the pandemic ends.
“Once the lockdown is lifted and one day there is a sense of normalcy, we will see again that the top goes up just because of that natural social behavior,” he said.
Bed bugs can dormant for several months at a time, which means that bed bugs in an office may still be alive when office work resumes.
“People who go back to work and have not been in these environments in eight, nine, ten months, will be hungry,” he said.
Grafe said there are no chemical treatments that could prevent bed bugs from getting into the home, which means vigilance is the best way to prevent their spread.
“The greatest form of prevention is awareness, through inspections and visual inspections of the area you are in, especially hotels and long-term rentals,” he said.
Grafe said it was important to examine the bed behind picture frames and curtains for any insects or feces that the bugs may have left behind. He also recommends a thorough review of your office environment.
The report also included the 25 best cities for bed bugs in Canada, with Toronto topping the list, followed by Sudbury, Oshawa, Vancouver, and Winnipeg.