“There are three red bites on your neck and your sheets are spotted with copper marks.
During the day you quiver at the very thought of returning to your bed.
Your friends avoid you and your family stops calling.
The night brings no rest.
Eventually the stress consumes you.
You look for answers from the most unlikely sources.
You’ve heard stories of their carnivorous lifestyle, but doubt their existence.
Has Twilight become reality?
No. There is no denying, you, have bed bugs.”
Bed bugs are now considered an epidemic in Vancouver’s West End. A problem for years in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the bugs have migrated west, proving that expensive cluster living is just as at risk as the poorest housing project.
The bugs have three main methods of travel. The first, and most common method is through luggage or daypacks. The bag may be dropped for a few minutes or stored for a few days in an infected area. When the article moves, the bugs move with it. This is easily done at a hotel, where unsuspecting guests leave their luggage open. The bugs are attracted by the human scent and dead skin. They make their way into the bag and are eventually transported to another location.
The second method is through clothing and or bedding. The bugs do not live on humans like lice; they prefer to make their homes away from the host. They establish themselves in an area and then return to the body to feed.
The last method of travel is through wiring. The bugs can move through apartment complexes using the electrical wires that connect each unit. Shockingly, they can also follow the wires outside to a neighbouring complex.
While the bugs do feed on the blood of humans, they are not considered a health risk and are incapable of spreading disease. They do, however, propose a danger for people living with immune deficiency. Early detection is key. Here is what to look for:
1. Bed Bugs (the actual insect) – oval shaped, with a flattened red body the size of a lady bug
2. Dark Spots on your sheets
3. Copper Stains on your mattress or bedding
4. Bite marks that come in threes
Once infected, you can try and contain the problem yourself, but your best option is to hire a professional. Vancouver Bed Bug Control Inc. is one of the companies working in Vancouver that specializes in bed bug removal. In the past they used beagles to sniff out the unwanted insects for early detection, but they have now switched to a cimex case baited with human pheromone.
If you are set on doing the work yourself, make sure you have a powerful vacuum, the tools to dismantle your furniture, and the will to throw away infected items such as children’s toys and pillows. Start with the vacuuming, then wash all your clothes and bedding, then vacuum again, inspect all your furniture, vacuum again and then use a spray product on areas that you have discovered to be infected. Then vacuum again. Good luck.
If you are renting, the fees surrounding the treatment of these pests may be subsidized or paid in full by your landlord.
If you are merely concerned about infection, here are some preventative measures you can take:
1. Inspect your luggage after a trip abroad before bringing it into your house.
2. Do not drop your day bag on the floor or furniture of another residence.
3. Do not buy second hand furniture or mattresses.
4. Repair holes or cracks in your drywall.
5. Purchase a bed bug mattress cover package that includes a box spring cover, a mattress cover and multiple pillow covers.
Vampires may only exist in teenage-romance novels, but bed bugs are very real. Stay informed. Here are some helpful websites:
The Bed Bug Registry
Health Link BC
Vancouver Bed Bug Control
For complete peace of mind, consider purchasing a brand new mattress set from Simmons Mattress Gallery. We can outfit you with all the components you need to start fresh. Come stop by our locations in Vancouver, Victoria, or Coquitlam. Or visit us online at simmonsmattressgallery.ca.