Students in Pitman Hall were the victims of a bed bug invasion in September. PHOTO: FARNIA FEKRI

Bed bugs are back

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By Sameera Raja

Pitman Hall, the main student residence at Ryerson, had yet another bed bug outbreak this semester.

Students were not notified that there was yet another problem.

Last year, eight cases were reported from Pitman Hall and then treated. But in September, two more cases were discovered and cost the school up to to $2,600.

Students living in residence pay roughly $10,000 annually for their housing and are upset that this problem has been a reccurring issue in residence.

“I am definitely not pleased to hear about the presence of bed bugs on campus, I’m paying a high price for residence and I feel that the rooms should be safe and clean for first-year students,” said Samuel Song, a first-year accounting and finance student living in Pitman. “I heard about it last month, through other students, and only since I came here.”

A private pest control company was called to treat the apartment using a heating process that should kill any bugs but not damage the interior of the room.

A different pest control company in the city said the average cost to treat each unit would be $550 for the heat treament and up to $800 for the use of detection dogs.

Toronto Public Health said landlords are not obligated to disclose any information about pests.

“It’s a landlord’s responsibility to terminate all pests. But there is no requirement to report bed bugs to all tenants,” said Toronto Public Health manager Tracy Leach.

“It’s not advisable to just check one unit but surrounding ones as well,” said Leach.

Heat treatment might not be enough to terminate the bugs completely, which is why they are so hard to get rid of.

“Any treatment won’t last forever, it could take from one week to a month for it to last,” said bed bug expert and owner of Addison Pest Control, Avery Addison.

Students are saying the school has never reached out to them about the problem.

“I feel as though it is their duty to send an email to students if there is a presence of bed bugs. They should be honest and make an effort to change it. I mean, who is going to want to live in a residence with bed bugs?” said Song.

Student housing coordinator, Jen Gonzales, said that student housing tries to be transparent when issues arise.

“We deal with it case by case, the suite-style apartment was treated with heat and we found no pests after,” said Gonzales.

Student housing has scheduled another inspection for the holidays.

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