"Don't Bug Me!": Creepy-Crawlies in Your Condo
I want to discuss something that most people don’t want to talk about. Bugs. Insects. They creep, they crawl and very few enjoy their company.
But hey, we live in a high-end Condominium, so we don’t need to worry about bugs, right? I’m afraid that is not the case. There are some insects that love building life and thrive in densely populated communities and big cities like Toronto.
As a Condominium Corporation, as part of our preventative maintenance program, we employ a pest control company to service the common areas of the building on a regular basis. This includes inspection, setting traps, and treating (of our common areas, machine rooms and the compactor room where our garbage and recycling are collected and disposed of); however, this does not account for all insect activity because it doesn’t include any potential activity that is happening within Residents’ suites.
This is where communication between Residents and Property Management is key. I understand that having bugs of any kind can be a terrifying, and ultimately an embarrassing experience. Some people don’t want to report having an issue for fear of being held responsible or just because they are worried that they will look bad. The truth is that the sooner that the Property Management is alerted to the problem, the sooner that we can solve the issue. There are some insects that nest and become extremely difficult to exterminate. So, please, I encourage anyone living in the building to report issues like this immediately so that we can act!
Furthermore, we'd like Residents to note that the Board has created a policy that Residents reporting insects within their suites will not be charged for pest control services, so you have nothing to lose - except for the bugs in your unit!
Anyways, what kind of bugs are we talking about? I am referring to the kind that require a service call from pest control. The ones that can’t be solved by simply swatting, squashing or spraying with raid. As pesky as ants can be, they can be dealt with by purchasing traps and poisons at the local hardware store. Some insects are resilient and require a higher level of treatment. Silverfish, Centipedes, Bed Bugs, Cockroaches, and Carpet Beetles are common household pests that can get to an infestation level. These guys get in by purchase of sugars, starches, linen, fabric, used furniture and of course carpets. Centipedes can live anywhere really but prefer dark and damp.
Like most things that trouble us, there are many DIY remedies that can be found on the internet. As someone that likes to figure things out and often takes on projects using do it yourself methods, I understand the appeal. However, I implore you to call the Management Office for assistance. If the treatment fails and the situation worsens, it will be much more of a process to solve the problem.
Cockroaches are terrible. They are often associated with filth since they tend to show up where refuse is readily available; however, the thing most people don’t know is that they are a water beetle. They absolutely love our building because we have indoor plumbing. They like it warm and damp, with water easily accessible. They are also hardy, multiply rapidly and are difficult to contain since they don’t nest in a single location. When they lay eggs, they tend to find dark regions near a food and water source. The drain pan under the refrigerator is often an overlooked area. As well, check your pet food dishes. Yes, they can eat both wet and dry pet food. It is best to catch these guys in the early stage of discovery because infestation can happen very quickly.
The worst of the worst are Bed Bugs. They feed on blood and although they prefer humans, they can feed on pets as well. These guys are known as the travel bug because they are everywhere in the world and can be picked up from staying at hotels, from the seats of passenger vehicles or even hitch a ride on another person. They are hard to see when they are young because they are transparent until their first feed. It is the blood that changes their colour. Although they get their name from being primarily where their food sleeps, they are actually a wood beetle. Bed bugs are scary. They can go into hibernation-like state called diapause. Allowing them to be dormant for up to 500 days. An individual bed bug can lay 200 to 250 eggs in their lifetime. Needless to say, bedbugs, when discovered, should already be considered an infestation and should be reported immediately to Management.
Despite the tone of urgency, I didn’t write this article to scare you. I wrote it to educate Residents on potential issues that can arise and how to deal with it effectively. Of course, like most people, I don’t enjoy bugs either. I have lived in Toronto for over 20 years and have had my share of experiences with this subject. The best course of action to take, as I have mentioned is to communicate any discovered issues with Management so that pest control can be contacted, and treatment administered.
Keep an eye out!
Douglas Carney, Superintendent of Emerald City One.