Think that bed bugs are simply pests that can be dealt with easily at any time? Wait until you have an infestation of your own. To get an idea on what it’s like to have a serious bed bug infestation epidemic problem, let us focus on Ontario’s provincial capital, Toronto, in Canada.

History

  • 1940s and 50’s – Pesticides virtually eradicated bed bugs in Western countries.
  • 1980s – DDT usage is banned in Canada. This ban is allegedly attributed to the fierce come-back of the Toronto bed bugs.
  • 1995 – Government officials start seeing a steady upward climb in bed bug infestations.
  • 2003 – There have been 46 incidences of bed bugs documented.
  • 2005 – Even after treatment by exterminator, 197 bed bug afflicted people sought government aid to deal with the already growing problem.
  • 2006 – The number of reports made to Toronto Public Health drops slightly to 147.
  • 2007 – The Board of Health requests the Medical Officer of Health to come up with a report on bed bugs after Councillor Paula Fletcher pointed out that bed bugs have to be declared a “health hazard” on the 12th of November.
  • 2007 – A pest control company reported that they made 4,800 treatments. This same year saw the Board of Health give a recommendation that Toronto launch an action committee to counter the bed bug infestation.
  • 2008 March – The Bed Bug action committee is formed and launched. It was renamed the Toronto Bed Bug Project the following month.
  • 2008 March – October – Toronto Public Health received 1,500 bed bug reports.
  • 2008 November 12releases a report on the status of the infestation. A report published by he Medical Officer of Health mentioned that in order to create an effective coordinated response, there is a lot of additional work that needs to be done. The report also recommends that the vulnerable entities be given funding as aid.
  • 2009 February – Control strategies and other modes of bed bug eradication have begun testing on five selected apartment buildings.
  • 2009 November – Public Health officials as well as those from the Bed Bug Project report that additional work as well as more funding is desperately needed. A report was also made by Woodgreen Community Services emphasising that if treatment was not made readily available, bed bugs are going to be endemic virtually everywhere.
  • 2010 June – While an outbreak is being tackled at the William Osler Health Centre in Etobicoke,  the Renters Right to Know Act is being introduced by MPP Mike Colle in the provincial parliament. This Act will require all landlords to inform prospective tenants if their establishment has or hasn’t been afflicted with bed bugs within the last five years.
  • 2010 July – Toronto is ranked as third most infested site in North America. This is the same month that Parliament branches of Yorkville as well as the Toronto Reference Library are being infested. At the end of the month, Toronto Public Health has received more than a thousand calls regarding bed bugs.
  • 2010 August – Helen Spitzer, a music writer, returns with bed bug bite marks from a movie screening for Scott Pilgrim which was held at the Scotiabank Theatre. She informs her friend, James Rocchi what befell her. Being an avid Twitter user, James laid it out on the social network candidly which prompted Cineplex and Cameron Bailey to react to save face.

Regardless of all the dates mentioned above, measuring the real extent of the whole bed bug infestation in Toronto is virtually impossible mainly because the government is mainly concentrating on addressing or responding to the concerns rather than in gauging it and trying to get exact figures. The rate of infection could be monitored given additional funding.

Bed bug infestations are still rampant in many areas of Toronto as of this writing.  If only enough funds were on hand to address the problem, these can and will be resolved once and for all.