Montreal bedbug problem 'out of control,' exterminators say

Bedbug infestations in Montreal are at an all-time high, say exterminators who can hardly keep up with demand.

Grande Bibliothèque among buildings that required treatment for an infestation

Some Montreal exterminators say they've never had so many requests to treat bedbug infestations.

Bedbug infestations in Montreal are at an all-time high, say exterminators who can hardly keep up with demand.

"There's more than last year," said Harold Leavey of Maheu Extermination Ltée. His company employs 25 full-time exterminators.

"In 2000, I would handle one or two bedbug cases a year," he told CBC's French-language service, Radio-Canada.

 "Now it's 50 to 100 a day."

Some neighbourhoods are more affected than others, like Parc-Extension, St-Henri and Pointe-Saint-Charles. In Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, a single street has 20 affected homes.

The Grande Bibliothèque also used an exterminator to treat bedbugs in September.

"I've never seen this in my 60-year career," said Ronald Maheu, founding member of the Association québécoise de la gestion parasitaire. Among the 125 member companies, several doubled their business since last year.

Exterminators say bedbugs are more resistant to chemicals than before. It's not uncommon to make two or three visits, Maheu said.

Problem remains 'stable': city 

The City of Montreal, however, doesn't see the bedbug problem getting worse.

"We're not seeing an increase, but rather a problem that remains stable," said Marianne Cloutier, head of sanitation in the city's housing department.

Exterminators say that not everyone reports an infestation, and many try to solve the problems themselves. An extermination can cost $450 for a two-bedroom apartment.

Cloutier said that landlords can face fines for not treating bedbug problems.

Here's a break down of where bedbugs are most commonly found - and what can be done to prevent an infestation.

On mobile? Go here to see the interactive.

with files from Radio-Canada's Thomas Gerbet

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