September 20, 2011 | By: Editorial Staff

Don't let the bedbugs take a bite out of your wallet!

So the other day while looking at my Facebook account, I saw a friend’s update. She made what she felt was the find of the century and was showing it off in living colour. Emily is a dedicated, efficient shopper especially when it comes to garage sales.

One Saturday after completing her regular garage sales tour, she thought she had failed her mission for the day. While driving her SUV and feeling despair, she saw something that turned her despair to hope. It was a new couch sitting on the street curb! After some effort, she and her boyfriend gathered the couch which Emily felt would make an excellent addition to her happy home. Little did she know that this couch would become an invitation to a group of thugs that would not want to leave.

A few months after taking pride in her new addition, she noticed red welts on her arms and legs. At the time she assumed they were mosquito bites as she likes to do a lot of camping. As an all round neat freak, Emily paused to think about what these welts were. Could they be an allergic reaction to food? Cleaning supplies? After chatting with a few friends she realized she was getting more than she bargained for. Bedbugs!

Thought to be eliminated almost 60 years ago, bedbugs are making a comeback like never before. They seem to be the rock star pest of the moment! Thought to be the problem of hoarders and unclean people, they now seem to be turning up places that we least expect.

Bedbugs are usually found in places where people commonly sleep such as couches, beds, mattresses and bed frames. They can also be found in furniture, eg. dressers, picture frames and even clothing.

There are theories that suggest due to pesticides that are now banned (like DDT) they have helped the bedbugs population grow in size.

Using your hairdryer, leaving tape on the ground or buying insect spray from the hardware stores are not necessarily great solutions.

After doing some internet searching like Emily, you will see that these bugs will not go without a fight.

There are ways you can fight back against these pests. Here are some tips from the City of Toronto’s website including:

1)  Inspecting your mattress, bedframe, crevices, baseboards, underside of your headboard and other darker places they might like to hide.

2)  Use the nozzle attachment on your vacuum to capture the bedbugs and their eggs. Vacuum all crevices on your mattress, bedframe and other things close to the bed. It is best to dispose of the vacuum and its contents immediately.

3)  Linens must be washed in hot water and placed in a dryer for 20 minutes.

4)  Consider covering all your pillows with plastic covering and your mattress with a plastic cover.

5)  Consult with a professional pest control service on options that pose the least risk to humans, pets and the environment.

Emily and her boyfriend spent more time throwing things out than they did moving things in. Picture frames, clothes, furniture all made the disposal list. They also made a list of things of their must haves!

Emily now has her home back the way she likes: clean, spic and span. She does think that items left on the street are gifts from the universe.

Speaking to Emily about the cost of the items she (and her boyfriend) had to repurchase was not met with a happy response. The only thing she mentioned was that she had felt the replacement costs for the items and the pest control options ended up amounting to a small part-time salary. A small fortune.

The psychological cost was infinite. Emily realized that saving a few dollars might pay off in the long run. But, sticking to her principles of saving money to get what she wants (and she really needs) is even more of a bargain!


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