Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut November 22, 2016 - 8:29 am

After hitting Iqaluit, bed bug infestation pops up in Igloolik

"There is no need to panic"

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
They're back: Bedbug bites, while itchy and annoying, are not particularly dangerous. The problem is that once bedbugs occupy a space or building, they are very difficult to get rid of. (FILE PHOTO)
They're back: Bedbug bites, while itchy and annoying, are not particularly dangerous. The problem is that once bedbugs occupy a space or building, they are very difficult to get rid of. (FILE PHOTO)

They’re back, but they’ve moved west: bed bugs have reached Igloolik.

And no one welcomes these fast-spreading vermin, whose bloodsucking bites cause itchy welts.

To deal with bed begs, environmental health officers and cleaners arrived Nov. 19 in Igloolik, a community of about 2,200 people.

And now an exterminator is set to arrive in the community Nov. 24.

That’s according to Nunavut’s health department, which issued an advisory Nov. 21.

Environmental health officers and cleaners will enter some housing units and buildings to inspect, answer questions and help prepare for the exterminator, the health department said,

They will have supplies to help residents begin the exterminations process, including:

• garbage bags;

• double-sided carpet tape;

• multi-purpose cleaner;

• reusable cloths;

• vaseline;

• rubber gloves, and,

• steam cleaning equipment.

In the coming week, bed bug traps will be placed in all housing units and community buildings to identify which facilities are affected, the health department said,

And every building with bed bugs will be treated.

“We want to remind residents that while bed bugs can cause skin irritation and anxiety, they do not spread disease, and there is no need to go to the health centre. We understand your concern, but there is no need to panic. The Igloolik Housing Association, the Hamlet of Igloolik and the Government of Nunavut are working together to deal with bed bugs in Igloolik,” the release said,

The GN said bed bugs are not a sign of a dirty house or building, but they can be spread easily through luggage, furniture and clothing.

“Igloolimmiut should be very careful when visiting friends and family members who have confirmed cases of bed bugs,” the GN warned.

Not even a quarter of an inch long, bedbugs are small—about the size of a kernel of rice.

But they can cause itchy welts, blisters and rashes where they bite into the skin with their two hollow feeding tubes.

One tube injects saliva that makes the victim’s blood thinner and numbs the skin. With the other tube, the bedbug sucks out blood, usually for about five minutes.

After feeding, they turn dark red and become bloated.

Bedbugs only need to eat every five to 10 days and they can live for up to a year, lurking in the folds of mattresses, bed sheets and other warm, dark places, only surfacing occasionally to feed.

Eggs are whitish, pear-shaped and about the size of a pinhead. Clusters of 10 to 50 eggs can be found in cracks and crevices.

To get rid of bed bugs, you can freeze your bedclothes outside, cook them in a dryer at high heat or poison them with pesticide—and everything affected must be thoroughly cleaned.

Earlier this year, Iqaluit’s Grinnell Place apartment complex closed due to an outbreak of bed bugs.

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