Number of bed bug cases in Ottawa doubles
Published Tuesday, May 17, 2011 12:07PM EDT
The number of bed bug complaints in the City of Ottawa has doubled in the last year, and the city is getting $400,000 to help put a stop to the growing problem.
"The number of complaints from last year to the year before has doubled. So, we do see it as an issue here," said Siobhan Kearns, of Ottawa Public Health.
The city's public health officials met Monday night to discuss the problem.
An increase in global travel is one of the reasons linked to such a dramatic spike in the number of bed bug cases.
A tiny infestation could cost thousands of dollars in treatments, laundry, hotels and specialized mattress covers.
Officials say some bed bugs are also starting to develop a bit of immunity to the chemicals used to kill them, making them tougher to exterminate.
Ottawa Public Health says the problem is especially bad for those living in public housing.
"Certainly, through our Ottawa community housing partners they have told us that within the last four to five years there's been at least a five-fold increase in the amount of treatments they need to provide," Kearns told CTV Ottawa on Monday.
There's talk the $400,000 in funding might go towards developing bed bug kits that would include items such as garbage bags, laundry chits and petroleum jelly which makes it harder for bed bugs to crawl.
Bed bugs are grey to reddish-brown, oval and flat in shape. They are generally one to five millimetres in length.
The bugs like to gather in beds, headboards, end tables and other items in your home. They can also be found behind wallpaper and picture frames and inside electrical outlets.
You may have a bed bug problem if you have bites on your body – typically a line of faded red specs. Other red flags are crushed bedbugs inside the bed, tiny bloodstains on bed sheets, black or brown spots on the bed or wall, and a sweet, musty smell in the room.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Stefan Keyes