Over the last few years there has been a dramatic increase in the reported incidents of bed bug infestations in Ontario and throughout North America. There are many factors that have contributed to the rise of bed bugs, including the emergence of more resistant varieties, decreased use of chemical pest control sprays and an increase in international travel. Now that bed bugs are back, they are spreading at an alarming rate.
Bed bugs do not transmit disease, but the bites can become infected, leaving red raised welts. The presence of bed bugs is not an indication of a dirty house - they can be found in all types of homes, in all areas. They are especially prevalent in multi-residential buildings where they can easily migrate from unit to unit. Adult bed bugs are small, brownish insects, just under about ¼ inch long. They are very flat and nearly as wide as they are long. They do not have wings and cannot fly, but can move very rapidly. Their eggs are very small and white in colour and are difficult to identify without a magnifying glass.
Bed bugs are nocturnal and live a very secretive life. As a result, bed bugs are often present for weeks or even months before a single bug is even seen by a resident. There is virtually no crack that is too small for the bud bug to hide in. Often by the time the insects are spotted, their population has grown quite large and major steps are needed to control the infestation.
The best strategy to control or prevent a bed bug outbreak is to identity the potential problem as early as possible so that control steps can be implemented when the bed bug population is still small.