The city of Hamilton is looking at a ten-fold increase in the cost of dealing bed bugs in its public housing units.
Ward 5 Coun. Chad Collins says the the city used to spend $100,000 dollars on pest control in CityHousing Hamilton units, but that number will top $1.2 million this year.
And he says that number is likely several hundred thousand dollars more when you take into account the other city-owned buildings, including the council chambers at Hamilton City Hall.
LISTEN: Chad Collins joins the Bill Kelly Show with guest host Rick Zamperin
Collins says bed bugs are virtually everywhere, and that’s why the city is currently updating its pest control bylaw. He says the new rules will reflect the best practices in terms of treating bed-bug infestations.
WATCH: Upset man dumps hundreds of live bed bugs in Maine city office
Collins says it’s aimed at “giving the city a consistent approach to battling the bugs in both public and private units across Hamilton.”
The problem has only grown in recent years. One family, residents of an Emerald Street North public housing unit, told the Hamilton Spectator they’ve been battling bed bugs for two years.
They indicated they would be taking the building’s property manager to the Landlord and Tenant Board over the issue.
A key element to fighting the problem is education and removing the stigma attached to bed bugs, Collins says. He believes people would be more willing to call their landlord for help if that stigma is eliminated.
He says “it’s not a sign of someone not cleaning their home. It’s not a signal of a hygiene problem with a person or family.”
“The longer they are left untreated, the bigger the problem” says Collins.
LISTEN: Arun Pathak, president, Hamilton and District Apartment Association