Click to return to the feature, "Bloodsuckers: The Vancouver Bedbug Menace," by Kevin Chong
Do Vancouver bedbugs have you worried about a suspicious itching in the night? It might be something other than bedbug bites – but if it isn't, we're here to help. Read on for your best guide to detection, treatment and extermination of Vancouver bedbugs.
Bedbugs don't discriminate – they'll bunk with anyone, anywhere. They've been figuring prominently in the news, and now it's Vancouver's turn to be in the headlines. If you suspect your living quarters are infested, all is not lost. A bedbug-free life might just be one plastic mattress encasement away.
Vancouver Bedbug Registry
The Vancouver Bedbug Registry is a great resource, especially for travellers seeking a pest-free refuge in the city. A heat map of B.C.'s Lower Mainland is enough to set your skin crawling. It shows all self-reported incidence of bed bugs in single and detached homes, as well as travel accommodations. Have you had an experience with bedbugs in Vancouver? Help out by contributing a report.
Are these bedbug bites? How do I know if I have bedbugs?
Pest-control business booms as bedbug infestations take over Vancouver. The first step in combatting bedbugs is confirming their presence. The most common identifier is bedbug bites. To distinguish bedbug bites from mosquito and flea bites, heed the following:
Location: Flea bites are smaller and rarely found on the upper body, appearing mostly on the legs and ankles.
Pattern: Bedbug bites look similar to a mosquito bite, but often appear in rows or patterns of three or four bites
Once you've made the discovery that your bites are, indeed, from bedbugs, the next step is to find out where they live. Hunting down the elusive pest can be a challenge, but starting with the obvious – your bed – is the best approach.
1. Check your sheets for dark marks or stains.
Those marks are traces of dried bedbug excrement or blood. Bedbugs shed their outer shell as they mature, so be on the lookout for their thin casings.
2. Search within the depths of your bed.
Take a flashlight on your investigatory tour, beginning with the folds, creases, and corners of your mattress and box spring. Bedbugs are nocturnal, so don't assume that you're free and clear if you don't catch any.
3. Take your search to the perimeter of your bedroom.
Not all bedbugs reside in your sheets and mattress – they also hide in the walls, side tables, baseboards, carpet, clutter, and in other cozy spots close by your sleeping quarters, so be thorough with your search.
B.C. Bedbug Exterminators
They're killers for hire, and you want them on your side.
How do I get rid of my Vancouver bedbugs?
Taking the DIY route to extinguish your bedbug problem is, itself, a problem. As many who have suffered through a bedbug infestation would attest, the buggers are not easy to get rid of. Their size and propensity for late-night sneakiness make them hard to catch, and some bedbugs can survive an entire year without feeding. You'll endure enough stress with bagging up your clothing and belongings – not to mention the mental anguish of it all.
Hiring an experienced professional to handle your situation is the most effective method, and (depending on their method) they come in a range of financial options. Check out the Better Business Bureau's list of pest control companies or our list of exterminators at the bottom of this article for experts who are skilled in the annihilation of bedbugs. Ask for testimonials to be sure you're working with a proven winner.
However, if your budget doesn't allow you to hire a professional, you still have options – lots of laborious options. To stave off the bloodsuckers while you strategize against their demise, try the bedbug Vaseline trick.
If you're brave enough to do it yourself, follow these steps:
Clean: Vacuum and disinfect your home.
Launder: Wash your clothing at a high temperature or have it dry cleaned.
Protect: Seal off your bed with a plastic mattress encasement.
Get 'er done: Watch this howcast video for step-by-step instructions on eliminating your unwanted house guests.
How do I prevent bedbugs?
Staying vigilant can help avoid an infestation, but all it really takes is one bus ride next to the wrong person. If you're travelling, there are many steps you can take to avoid bringing the pests home with you.
1. Background check your hotel.
When choosing a hotel, check Trip Advisor for recent reviews and red flags. Hotel review sites generally attract more disgruntled travellers than happy ones, so you're sure to find reviews detailing bedbugs if there are any problems with your hotel. After finding a hotel with a clean slate of reviews, look it up on the Bedbug Registry. There's also no harm in asking the hotel manager if they've had any recent bouts of bedbugs.
2. Thoroughly inspect your hotel room.
Upon arriving in your hotel, immediately place all luggage in the bathtub and prepare for a thorough room inspection. With a flashlight in hand, check a hotel room the same way that you would approach your bedroom at home – start with the mattress, its seams and box spring, then move onto other furniture and hiding spots.
3. Protect your luggage.
Once you've determined that the room is clear, place your bags on a luggage rack or hard surface (not the floor or bed). Don't make a habit of unpacking all of your belongings in hotel drawers, as this increases your chance of picking up pests hiding in the furniture. Bedbugs can fit through closed zippers and the fabric lining of suitcases, so if you have the option of buying airtight hard luggage, it's a safer choice. And if you really want to go the extra mile, pack your clothes in airtight, plastic clothing-encasements.
4. Don't bring the problem home with you.
Before departing, check all of your personal items and luggage for traces of bedbugs, even if you saw no signs during your stay. Immediately launder all of your clothing on a high temperature upon arriving home. Do not place your luggage on a bed or couch when unpacking, and vacuum your suitcase thoroughly once you've unpacked it.
Taking steps to avoid bedbugs can make even the most laid-back of us feel extremely neurotic, but in the end, it's more than worth it.