'Nightmare' bed bug infestation has Ont. woman looking to move
Shannon Scott has many of her belongings in garbage bags after discovering a bed bug infestation in her Adelaide Street North apartment building. Scott has been staying with a friend until the problem is solved. (MIKE HENSEN/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network)
LONDON, Ont. -- It’s been a while since Londoner Shannon Scott has slept in her own bed.
The last time she did, months ago, she awoke with bites all over her body — and she’d had enough.
“I felt like I was living a nightmare,” said Scott, 35. “I have had chest pains, panic attacks, a lot of anxiety over this.”
Not only has she moved from her first-floor apartment at 1134 Adelaide St. N., but said she had to get rid of much of her furnishings.
“I cried a lot, it was depressing. I threw out most of my stuff.”
Scott is now bunking with a friend on the eighth floor of the same building and said she plans to move soon, since the problem appears to be getting worse and spreading through the building.
“The building is infested, it is serious,” she added.
Homestead Land Holdings Ltd., on King Street, agrees there is a problem in the building and has had a Toronto-based pest control agency do several sprays of individual units and common areas and will keep trying, said area manager Tom Gabriel.
“We are taking a proactive approach, but it requires multiple treatments,” he said.
But residents also must take action to help, he added.
They need to clean and bag clothes, move furniture away from walls and remove covers to plugs and lights, before the spray.
The two sprayings occur two weeks apart, and have proven effective in most cases, said Gabriel. When one unit complains of bugs, surrounding units also are sprayed, he said.
“It is not a rare thing . . . we do have some bed bug activity at 1134 Adelaide and have had for years. We took appropriate action on the issue when it was brought to our attention,” added Greg McKinlay, the building’s property manager.
Scott’s unit has been sprayed twice, the last time early in August, but followups will be done if needed, McKinlay added.
“We will go back if there is activity,” he said.
It costs about $160 to spray an apartment.
Bed bugs have become a problem “from apartments to penthouses,” said Randy Walker, an inspector with the Middlesex London Health Unit.
“Bed bugs have evolved more rapidly than humans and have been around a lot longer than we have. They are designed to prey on us and they are expert at what they do.”
Bed bugs don’t fly or leap, but wait in the many cracks and crevices in a bedroom, usually, and walk to their victims, usually at night.
“They are marvels of evolution,” added Walker.
But they’re not just found in bedrooms — they can hitch a ride home from a theatre or a cafe, he said.
Fanshawe College shut down its library about three weeks ago for about two hours, after loaned-out books and technology came back with evidence of bed bugs, said school spokesperson Elaine Gamble.
A pest-control business was called in to spray and “it seems to be working so far,” she said.