Smitherman takes bite out of bedbug battle

Mayoral candidate George Smitherman hopes to take a bite out of the competition by pledging to rid Toronto of its bedbug problem — and local council candidates are taking up the issue.

On Oct. 8 at Woodside Square Plaza, Smitherman spoke out on the pest problem that is bugging Torontonians.

The Toronto Star reported that Smitherman would reserve up to $3 million to fight the city’s bedbug problem and increase public health inspections to rid Toronto of the pests.

According to his official website, Smitherman says, “Far too many people have to live with the scourge of bed bugs in Toronto. It’s time public health did its job by stepping up inspections and clearly state what responsibilities landlords and tenants have to help fight bed bugs in their homes. I am the only candidate with a funded plan to win the bed bug war.”

In Scarborough, Ward 41 incumbent councillor Chin Lee has decided to support Smitherman. The Star reported that councillor Lee said he was impressed by Smitherman’s ability to come forward and speak on any issue and answer any questions without much preparation.

As councillors and candidates prepare for their battle against the bedbug war, Scarborough exterminators and pest control services are also gearing up to help residents protect themselves against these troublesome pests.

Pest control in Scarborough
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Laurie Barbe of Premium Bed Bug Prep Centre, located on 885 Progress Avenue in Scarborough says that with the recent bedbug outbreak, business is picking up.

“This past summer, it was really busy for us but recently we’ve gotten a lot of business particularly along Kingston Road,” said Barbe. “It’s been steadily increasing that’s for sure.”

The Premium Bed Bug Prep centre works to prepare homes and businesses before exterminators arrive. With a variety of preparation services such as vacuuming and steam cleaning, this privately owned business is a preventative measure before a pest problem is found.

“If I lived in an apartment building I’d be very diligent in checking everything from my sheets to my clothes, and anywhere for evidence of bedbugs,” Barbe said.

Once bedbugs are found, however, there are important notes to keep in mind, say local property managers who wish to remain anonymous. The important thing is to act as soon as possible on treating bedbug infestations – the biggest challenge is controlling the spread.

When the City of Toronto eliminated the use of stronger pesticides responsible for effectively treating bedbug infestations, the chemicals used to replace them were not as potent and thus have a lower success rate, they said.

With chemicals that aren’t as effective, it can be difficult sometimes to solve the problem with only one treatment.

If someone is experiencing bedbug infestations, you are asked to contact Toronto Health Connection at 416-338-7600.