Pest expert warns of bedbug risk

Business travellers and hotels near airports are most at risk of being exposed to bedbugs, says pest expert Tony Arruda.

The GTA residential and wildlife manager for Mississauga-based pest control company Orkin Canada said the increase of travel has made it easier than ever for bedbugs to move and migrate.

“There’s more of a risk near the airport because there’s more of a concentration there,” Arruda said. “But increasing your travel increases your risk and chances of it happening to you because bedbugs travel with people.”

The technician with 30 years of industry experience said picking a nicer place wouldn’t necessarily reduce your risk of exposure. Arruda said that bedbugs have affected even five-star hotels. “They’re all at the same risks,” he said. “It’s all about the training of the actual staff in the hotels.”

Arruda said education and proper prevention can save hundreds of dollars for business execs and thousands more for hotels concerned about bedbugs.

“For an average two-bedroom home, you could spend $650 and up to get rid of them,” he said.

Avoiding bedbugs can also save frequent travellers a lot of post-discovery hassle. “If we’re going to be giving the six-month guarantee,” Arruda explained, “The homeowner has to be prepared to move stuff out of the closets, away from the walls and get rid of clutter.”

It could also take a lot of time in order to simply treat the situation. “When we do a job for bedbugs, it’ll take anywhere from four to eight hours just to do a three-bedroom home,” he said. “You have to do vacuuming, steaming and only apply registered pesticides and dusts to areas where it won’t be in contact with humans or pets.”

Arruda stressed being proactive is very important now for his business clients because they’re protecting their brand and their name.

However for individual travellers, Arruda recommended simple things like watching where they put their luggage. “Move back the bed covers and look in the creases in the mattress,” he said.

Arruda also recommended checking The Bed Bug Registry and putting your luggage in the garage for a few days after you’ve returned home. “Don’t bring it right inside the house and into your bedroom right away,” he said. “And check it very closely.”

Finally, if you are still concerned about the possibility of bedbugs, Arruda recommends asking these questions when picking a hotel:

1)   How often are they checking the beds and not just waiting for customers to alert them of bedbugs?

2)   How often are staff removing the mattress covers and checking the corners?

3)   Then they have a call for bedbugs in a room, do they have a program with a pest control company that can response right away? Do they have block treatments or inspections?

4)   Do they check adjacent rooms when bedbugs have been found? Is it just a visual inspection or is a dog brought in?

5)   Do they put mattress covers in all the rooms in the hotels? (These seal anything that may still be left and kills them within a year.)

6)   Can they move headboards?

Orkin Canada’s headquarters employ about 60 people and is located on Kennedy Road. Its training and service center, also located in Mississauga, employs about 70 people. The company employs 750 people across Canada. According to president Gary Muldoon, last year the company reported $100 million in revenue.

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