If you’re planning an upcoming visit to Toronto – especially if you’re relocating for a couple of months for work or family commitments – you’ve probably done some research and discovered that Toronto, like many large cities, has bedbugs.
Now, the good news is that our bedbug problem isn’t nearly as bad as the bedbug situation in many US cities. (Even Switzerland has recently found itself battling bedbugs.) And there have been fewer than 500 reports of bedbugs in Toronto this year – which, in a city of millions, isn’t bad.
However, the bad news is that bedbugs love the kind of high-density living found in condos and high-rises, so if you’re planning a stay in a downtown hotel, executive suite, corporate housing or even an AirBnB rental, it makes sense to take a few precautions before you move in.
Our tips for avoiding bedbugs in corporate housing and executive suites
Do some research
There are a number of online bedbug registries that can help you identify specific buildings where bedbugs have been reported. These aren’t infallible, of course, but if you notice that several buildings in the same block have been reported as bedbug-infested, it’s probably a good indication of risk level.
For hotels, check out the reviews on TripAdvisor or Expedia. One report of one bedbug incident probably isn’t a concern; repeated reports of bedbug issues over a couple of years should have you changing your reservation.
Know what to look for
Bedbugs generally prefer to stay near their food source: Humans. That means they’re most likely found in and on mattresses, behind headboards, and under bedsprings. A thorough inspection with a flashlight can reveal the telltale signs of bedbugs. This University of Maine video is a great walkthrough of how to check a hotel room. (This video, of a severe infestation, is kind of unpleasant but shows you exactly what a bedbug infestation looks like.)
Taking a few minutes to inspect the bedroom when you first arrive can give you a whole lot of peace of mind.
The response you get to a question like “Have you had any problems with bedbugs in any of your suites?” can tell you a lot.
There are two ways to deal with bedbugs: Reactive and proactive.
Reactive is when a property owner or manager waits until they get a report of a bedbug infestation, and only then take action. This is fine if aggressive action is taken as soon as the first bedbug is spotted. All too often, however, eradication efforts aren’t prompt enough – so by the time intervention happens, the bedbug problem is serious and not easily solved. (Bedbugs can be particularly tenacious.)
Proactive is when the property owner or manager takes steps to prevent a bedbug infestation before it ever happens. This can include:
- Mattress and boxspring encasements: Specially-treated covers can ensure that bedbugs never manage to take up residence
- Pillows and linens that have been pre-treated with non-toxic, bedbug-resistant sprays, thereby reducing the chances that bedbugs will find a home
- Regular use of non-toxic fabric refreshers that ensure the bed and other upholstered furniture are very unappealing to bedbugs
- Frequent maintenance and cleaning are important: Bedbugs thrive in little cracks and crevices, and it’s important that they’re spotted promptly.
Above all: Don’t worry too much
Yes, Toronto, like just about every large city in North America, has bedbugs. But it’s not difficult to avoid them – if you do your homework.