The bedbug epidemic: How much of it is paranoia?
Bedbug infestations are no joke, says Eliza Barclay at Slate, but the surging pest control industry has a vested interest in promoting a better-safe-than-sorry mentality
posted on September 14, 2010, at 12:34 PM
When the bedbug panic hits call in a entomologist who can asses mysterious black spots from the real thing.
When the bedbug panic hits call in a entomologist who can asses mysterious black spots from the real thing. Photo: Corbis SE
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Best Opinion: Slate
The "bedbug panic" is at an all-time high, writes Eliza Barclay at Slate. And the recent "flurry of high-profile infestations at prominent movie theaters, retail shops, and hotels" is making it worse. The fear of these disgusting pests only grows once they've taken sanctuary in your mattress and gulped your blood at night. I know. After I summoned a "pest management technician" to banish them from my home with a trio of invasive chemical treatments, I grew paranoid. When I next found a suspect insect, my exterminators assured me it was a bedbug and I prepared to endure the ordeal again, until an esteemed entomologist overrode their diagnosis: My invader was a black carpet beetle. The emotional cost of such "false alarms" is steep — lost sleep, "anxiety," "angst." Bedbug "misdiagnosis," it seems, may be an even bigger problem than the real thing. Here, an excerpt:
The pest management industry is one that would benefit handsomely from an epidemic of false alarms. Treating a one-room apartment typically costs hundreds of dollars; for a single-family house, the bill might reach several thousand dollars. According to the National Pest Management Association, exterminators made $258 million from bedbugs in 2009, up 263 percent from three years before. That creates a major incentive for stoking idle fears and promoting a radical "better-safe-than-sorry" approach to the problem....
It's the "better safe than sorry" mentality that has people pursuing full treatments before their infestations have been confirmed by an authoritative entomologist. Even skeptics may be overcome by feelings of disgust or fear of being ostracized. And they're persuaded to call in the men (or women) in protective suits with spray hoses, terrified by the possibility of infecting friends and loved ones.
To the Manager of this building, I read these reports before moving to a place.
First off, IF you have NEVER had a problem with bedbugs, then how is it you are working with an agency to remedy the problem, as you say?! If there is not a problem, then one does not need exterminators. Secondly, you state others bring it in, and that the west end has a bedbug problem. Although it is half true that others bring them, the POINT IS WHAT do you do to manage the issue?!! As well, the problem gets out o
f control rapidly, so when anyone complains or brings them, what do YOU DO to eliminate the problem before it becomes an issue? STOP BLAMING other and display what ACTIONS you take, is more the concern and issue at hand! When I read that management blames instead of explaining their action plan, it means management is poor, unprofessional and convoluted, and is the deciding factor in renting or not renting with a building. Explain your action, your honesty, and participation, mudslinging is unacceptable!
Bedbugs are thriving on the people. They will not stay in empty suites waiting for somebody to move in, so if you just moved in is a good chance you brought them with you...I hope the management was kind enough to treat your the suite without charging you...
Anonymous on 10/10/2012
I've moved in and first week, I've experienced bedbugs. Then the same statement was made from the manager saying they never seen bedbugs, we must brought it in. bla bla... I've never seen one until the first week I moved in (google/youtube researched it). However, as management, you should try to find the source of the issue and create an comfortable situation so no one panics, not trying to be defensive when tenants is the ones that is getting the bites and feeling uncomfortable. Before any l
egal blaming happens, please deal with respect and with high professional attitude. After all, no one wants it and it's here. Just have to deal with it with mutual respect.
This website is a joke. Anyone can submit anything they want whether it is the truth or fiction. No requirement to register and no screening or confirming submissions. Don't trust this site. 90% of write ups are from disgruntled tenants who have never had bed bugs. If you want the truth, speak to current tenants and management, then formulate your own opinion.
Anonymous on 09/28/2011
Imperial Tower Building Manager
First off all we don't have a bedbug problem We have 264 suites in this building, all rented out, and no complains about bedbugs. However if somebody bring into the building bedbugs we are working with a very good Pest Control company: AVON PEST CONTROL
phone: 604-805-0278 who are taking care immediately of the problem. As everybody knows bedbugs is a common problem in West End and is the people who are coming with bedbugs and not the other way around.
This building has a severe bed bug problems as me and other 2 friends live on different floors have found bed bugs!!!! We reported to the building manager but they were rude and cold...
I will move out asap!!!!!
Anonymous on 04/10/2011
Does anyone know whats going on with this building now? I am looking at an apartment....
Anonymous on 08/27/2010
We have suspected bed bugs for a few weeks now, and today went down to let the management know. Within 30 minutes an exterminator was at our door. Somehow, something went right with this building, and unlike the previous management, I hope these guys never leave. We've been here for a year and this is our first experience with bed bugs.
Anonymous on 08/23/2010
The last comment is untrue. The building manager has had many suites sprayed this year, including mine but I have yet to have an infestation.
I have lived here for a few years, I have never had bed bugs but other tenants have had them.
The building manager also followed up with a bed bug sniffer dog to confirm that the extermination was successful.
kiki on 07/17/2010
we just started to live here in may 09, and we've encountered various bug infestations, but no one (no, not even the managers) are doing something about it.
Darrin E. on 11/20/2007
Beginning late summer '07 I started experiencing bites. I thought with all the mountain biking I do I ran across something in the woods. However I've recently spotting the little buggers and confirmed that they're here. Now... it's time for them to get dead.
The building managers are aware of the problem and making efforts to resolve the issue. I understand it takes a concerted effort by everyone in the building to solve this. Alas, I suppose they can't force everyone in the building to ha
p.s. caretakers didn\'t tell anyone in the building or on my floor and only sprayed my apartment. a few weeks later, my next door neighbour got them. now, caretaker claims i\'m the only one in a 30 storey building with them and that neighbour\'s turned out to be only mosquito bites. another tenant told me that they had a big problem with bedbugs in the past.
Anonymous on 10/02/2007
first infestation occurred in May '07. reported to caretakers and they had pest control come out and spray 1/week for four weeks. No more problems until Sept.'07 - now in the process of another four weeks of spraying.