June 3, 2013 5:57 pm
Updated: June 3, 2013 7:05 pm

Bed bug infestations on the rise


The itchy insects have been making headlines across North America.

Two cases of bed bugs were recently reported in Lethbridge seniors homes, and the Green Acres Foundation confirmed to Global News, those two homes are the Pemmican Lodge, and Black Rock Terrace residences.

But Alberta Health Services said these two homes aren’t the only cases by a long shot.

“People should be aware that bed bugs are in our community,” said Stephen Kirkpatrick, Public Health Inspector for AHS.

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Experts say bed bugs aren’t that easy to kill. In fact, one local exterminator says the process takes much more than just spraying chemicals.

“Chemicals work on the aspect of killing only the adult bugs,” said Randy, owner of HEAT Pest Control. “It doesn’t take care of the nest, the eggs and the nymphs.”

Randy uses HEAT Assault technology, heating homes to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit for extermination. He says in his experience, most infestations start right on a person’s clothing.

The insects cling to fabric and are easily transferred, entering homes and businesses on furniture, luggage or packaging.

Health officials say despite the creepy crawly aspect, the bugs pose no significant health risk.

“They can cause a secondary infection, just like any mosquito bite or pimple, if you scratch it,” said Kirkpatrick. “But they don’t really carry any diseases on their own.”

AHS says some people can have an allergic reaction to bites, but mostly the insects cause psychological issues.

Issues that may stem from a common myth surrounding bed bugs.

“In the past people have associated bed bugs with unclean people and that’s not the case,” added Kirkpatrick.

“Anyone can have bed bugs, whether they’re a clean person or a dirty person, or a clean site or a dirty site.”

Alberta Health Services recommends doing laundry regularly, washing new products immediately and keeping luggage in the garage to prevent the transfer of bed bugs.

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