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28 Jan, 2021 11:26

Who said there's no good news from this Covid-19 pandemic? You don't have to worry so much about bed bugs now

Who said there's no good news from this Covid-19 pandemic? You don't have to worry so much about bed bugs now

Travel restrictions, social distancing, and border closures are all part of life during Covid-19. But those tough rules have had an unexpected benefit – there are fewer bed bugs now, Canada's biggest pest controllers say.

According to a report released by pest-control company Orkin Canada, bed bug sightings were down by 20 percent during 2020 – a decline that it says is down to the pandemic. It's the first time in five years that the number of bed bug sightings has dropped.

The bugs normally hide out in mattresses and bedding, feed on skin particles shed by sleepers and also take a bite to suck blood – leaving a tell-tale spot usually on the arms or face or other exposed areas of a sleeping person's body. They'll also leave small spots of poo on sheets and other bedding or furniture.

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Normally, they hitch a ride on luggage and clothing or other items placed on soft or unpolished surfaces – with hotel rooms being particularly vulnerable.

Bernie Grafe, a spokesman for Orkin Canada, said the bed bug decline is due to the pandemic. Likening bed bugs to "hitchhikers," Covid-19 means fewer people are traveling and the pests can't spread as easily.

But once the travel restrictions are lifted, expect the bed bugs to start moving around again too. Gaffe warned that once the lockdowns are eased, bed bugs will start to bite and travel again. The pests can lie dormant for months at a time – and that means they'll be hungry for blood when normal life resumes.

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