Don't Let Bed Bugs Bite, Region Says
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Niagara residents are being cautioned by the Region's public
health department to take precautions to avoid bringing bed bugs
into their homes.
The Region, which issued an alert about a surge in bedbug
infestations last August, said on Feb. 8 that people need to be
aware of how to avoid having their own infestation.
The same week that the Region issued the alert last summer, the
U.S. National Pest Management Association issued sobering
statistics from a new survey, showing explosive growth in the
number of exterminators' calls regarding infestations everywhere
from buses and taxis to nursing homes, office buildings, schools
and hotels/motels in the last year.
For many people, bed bugs are a relic of a bygone era, conjuring
up images of filthy tenement housing in big cities like New York
City back in the Depression.
But the tenacious little bloodsuckers hung on, and now in a
world where people travel more than ever before, they're back with
a vengeance, hitching rides on things such as suitcases and
clothing and establishing new colonies in homes, businesses and
anywhere else where there's human blood to gorge on.
Peter Jekel, with the public health department, said the
presence of bed bugs doesn't reflect a lack of cleanliness: they
can be found in five-star hotels, buses and gleaming cruise ships.
People opting to take a break from winter this month and next
months can take the following steps to protect themselves from bed
bugs, he said:
- Try to avoid booking a hotel with a bedbug problem.
- Use luggage with hard, smooth plastic without inviting pockets,
since bed bugs struggle over smooth surfaces and polished
- Pack clothes into oversized, sealable plastic bags and leave
them inside luggage during the trip, or hanging in the closet -
never on the bed or floor.
- Leave luggage outside the room and perform an inspection around
the bed: peel back the bed sheets and check the mattress for blood
stains and bed bug feces. Run your fingers along the upper and
lower seams of the mattress and make sure to check the
- Check the bedside table. Look for signs of bed bugs in the
drawers and along the wall on the side of the bed that is less
likely to be disturbed by cleaning staff and guests.
- If you detect bed bugs, be sure to inform hotel management and
request another room. But just moving to a different room may not
be the total answer: You should repeat the inspection of any new or
different room you are offered.
- When you pack to leave, inspect your luggage carefully and
inspect every item as you pack to help detect any bugs or
- After your trip, unpack luggage outdoors, re-inspect clothing
and then put everything into the dryer on the highest setting
possible for at least 30 minutes or steam clean (for delicates).
Vacuum your luggage thoroughly.
- If you find bed bugs or their droppings, if you have bites or
know that you have spent time in a room with bed bugs, vacuum your
suitcases and dispose of the vacuum bag. Washable items should be
laundered in the hottest water possible and dried on the highest
setting possible for 30 minutes.