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Extra, extra: Extreme heat and cold the best methods to beat the bedbug epidemic.

Dan McCabe, Vice-President, Magical Pest Control talks about the various treatment methods – chemical spray, steam, Cryonite and extreme heat – that can be used to eradicate bedbug infestations in apartment buildings. View his video commentary.

By Clare Tattersall

Bedbugs are making a comeback.

Once eradicated from North America as a result of mass treatments using insecticides such as DDT (which is now banned in Canada), these pesky parasitic insects have been in the headlines of late, with newspapers reporting a full blown bedbug epidemic happening all across the continent.

Last year, the City of Toronto recorded 2,106 infestation cases, a 38 per cent increase over the 1,528 cases reported in 2009. According to an online user-submitted bedbug reporting site – bedbugregistry.com – Toronto is the “bed bug capital of Canada,” followed by Vancouver.

“We treat on average of 125 bedbug jobs a day … 99 per cent (of which) are in apartment buildings,” says Dan McCabe, Vice-President of Toronto-based Magical Pest Control and one of only three certified bedbug heat treatment specialists in the province of Ontario.

McCabe says there are a number of ways landlords can combat the bedbug menace, from the conventional chemical spray treatments and steam to the use of Cryonite, a non-toxic patented technology that eliminates the insects by freezing, and extreme heat.

“Cryonite and heat are, by far, the most effective treatments,” says McCabe. “With a chemical treatment, (the pest control experts) have to come back at least two times.”

According to a survey of pest control operators conducted by a University of Massachusetts entomologist, 26 per cent of all bedbug infestations require two chemical spray treatments and 68 per cent require three or more treatments. This is in contrast to the use of Cryonite and extreme heat, which McCabe says are primarily single treatment methods.

“The success rate (for heat) is between 95 and 98 per cent on a one time treatment.”

Before choosing a treatment method, McCabe recommends that landlords who suspect they have a bedbug problem hire a professional to thoroughly inspect the building to pinpoint the source of the infestation. And not just any pest control expert but a four-legged one.

“Trained dogs will not only indicate which units have bedbugs in them but will locate exactly where the bedbugs are in a unit,” he says.

Because of their keen sense of smell, McCabe explains that dogs can detect bedbugs behind walls, baseboards and under carpets – areas a trained pest management professional cannot get to. As a result, a dog’s inspection is a more thorough and accurate one.

“Human inspectors can only detect visible signs of bedbugs in a room, which means they are only about 40 per cent accurate whereas dogs have a 95 per cent accuracy rate.”

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