Rising bed bug complaints in Sarnia, Ontario led the Mayor, Mike Bradley to investigate further. The Environmental Health and Protection department of Community Health Services surveyed professionals most likely to come into contact with bed bugs - pest control companies, tourism operators, health care providers/institutions, low-income housing managers, etc. with 43 responding:
- 3.2 % of 773 county owned housing units have encountered bed bugs with 13 units receiving remediation in 2010 and 25 to date for 2011;
- most of the treated units are in apartment buildings.
- Pest control companies in the area report bed bug inquiries have tripled and calls outs has doubled.
This information has spurred Sarnia to contemplate a “Bug and Scrub” program - support to assist vulnerable, low income bed bug suffers with labour intensive preparations for bed bug control measures. Volunteer groups and community organizations would provide the labour. Mayor Bradley is hoping the province will broaden its previous commitment of $5 million educational support to an action role – money for clean-up:
"there are those that are marginalized who need help … there are people who are absolutely devasted by this."
He will ask city council to approach the province.
In the meantime, the county will be providing two health nurses to assist those afflicted and produce a fact sheet on bed bugs and recommended control procedures. Let’s hope they get the facts right. Unlike BC's Housing poster which had a graphic of a stink bug. Once Bed Bug Mutts pointed out their error they removed the poster from their web site.