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Here’s how to tell if you’ve got bed bugsand how to get …

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As the old saying goes: Dont let the bed bugs bite, but it may not be that easy for some Vancouverites if a recent report is anything to go by.

In fact Vancouver placedbronze for the Canadian city with the highest rate of these creepy, crawly, sneaky little bugs.

After all you keep your room clean, and you certainly dont go shopping for your mattresses in back alleys.

So you couldnt possibly have bed bugs right?

Wrong!

And the worst part isit doesnt even matter how clean your room is.

Its one of those thing where people dont want to admit that it could be [bed bugs], but it has nothing to do with hygiene, said Onsite Pest Control General Manager Steve Amery in a phone interview withDaily Hive.

Most people are unaware that the largest demographic that we actually deal with is nurses and social workers, and thats just because they come into contact with so many people.

Even living in one of the more desirable areas of Vancouver wont do much to deter bed bugs, as Amery says that Yaletown is actually Vancouvers bed bug hotspot.

Theres a reason our office is planted right along Homer Street, as the main active area and the main hub is around Yaletown, he said. It probably always will be. It has a lot to do with the amount of restaurants there, and because it is a high traffic area.

Amery said that the city saw a big boom of bed bug infestations after Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Even just going for an evening cocktail can put you at risk of picking up these nasty hitchhikers, but Amery says that you shouldnt let it drive you crazy.

Youre in an environment where youre going to come across bed bugs. 99% of the time youre not even going to know that youre in that environment, he said. Youve got to live your life normally.

According to Amery, the best way to prevent infestation is to throw all your clothes into the washer and dryer directly after returning from vacation, and to have a shower as soon as you get home. If you do that, your chance of transferring bed bugs into your house is pretty low.

He said the worst thing you can do is avoid acknowledging the problem, or attempt to self-treat the infestation.

The stuff that you buy over the counter isnt really that good; its designed for other insects with a thinner exoskeleton, so what [happens is] youre actually applying sunscreen to them [] youre building up the thickness of their skin, essentially, Amery said.

Already getting the shivers? Youre not alone.

Bed bugs are kind of like ninja-vampire-bugs, with slim bodies that allow them to hide in crevices between furniture. They come out at night for blood and their bites may not even leave a mark, depending on the person.

The first step is realizing that you even have bed bugs, which is not always so easy.

Diego Bermudez, Operation and Sales Manager for Local Pest Control, offered some tips in an email toDaily Hive.

Many people live with bed bugs without even knowing it, he said. Rarely you will be able to feel a bed bug bite, as their saliva has a natural painkiller that numbs the area. The clearest sign is the presence of a single bed bug, however that is often difficult as these pests hide so well.

Bermudez said that the best way to find out if you have bugs is to look for the following signs:

If you suspect you might have bed bugs, the best way to go is to book an inspection, where a qualified technician will determine if you have them or not, he said.

Sheree Swindle, a certified K9 Handler with Bed Bug Mutts, works with dogs that are trained to do just that.

Knowing how to recognize them and spot the physical evidence they leave behind is the first line of defence, she said in an email to Daily Hive.Early detection is critical to shorten the remediation process and keep the costs down.

If your fears are realized and you do have a few bugs in your bed, you shouldnt hightail it out of there just yet.

Warrantied treatments are available, and are offered for one bedroom apartments at around $400. That number goes up to roughly $500 for a two bedroomto cover the cost of additional chemicals.

However, one thing you should definitely avoid is trying to be thrifty when it comes to who you hire.

Avoid anything from Craigslist; make sure youre dealing with a licensed, insured, warrantied company, Amery said.

Finding a company with accreditations from the Structural Pesticide Management Association is recommended to ensure that you dont continue sharing your Vancouver homeand bloodwith these tiny, unwanted guests.

Sleep tight!

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