bed-bugs-300

Bedbug infestations have swept the world in recent years, and now websites are telling people where they're alleged to be. ((CP))

Saskatchewan landlords say they're not happy about websites that purport to tell the public where bedbugs are.

What's got some of them steamed are sites like bedbugregistry.com, which are becoming better known in recent months thanks to email and Facebook.

Bedbugregistry.com lists apartments, rental houses and hotels around North America where people say there have been infestations of the tiny biting insects.

The site lists 59 Saskatchewan properties, many with multiple complaints attached, where there have allegedly been infestations.

About two thirds of the complaints deal with Saskatoon addresses, with Regina coming in second. There are also posts about properties in Prince Albert, Moose Jaw and other communities.

mi-simon-paula-300-2011

Paula Simon, who speaks for a group representing the rental property industry in Saskatchewan, questions the relevance of bedbug registry sites. ((CBC))

"A close associate woke up in the middle of the night and discovered a bedbug crawling across his chest," one commenter said with respect to an unnamed Regina hotel.

"He was covered in bites by the time he discovered this was happening. After informing the desk clerk, he checked out of the hotel at 3 a.m. and drove five hours home."

Although the address was not listed in that case, in many cases they are. Rental property owners say they're not happy that complaints are being posted anonymously and remain in public view years later.

"How true is that information?" asked Paula Simon, executive officer with the Saskatchewan Rental Housing Industry Association.

"It might be relevant at that moment, but give them a week or give them a month and it might not be relevant anymore... so it really doesn't make any sense."  

One Regina exterminator CBC spoke with said stories about bedbugs at a hotel can be highly damaging. Unfortunately, infestations can happen anywhere, even at the classiest places, Shawn Sherwood said.

"No hotel is willingly going to want to have bedbugs," Sherwood said. "When that word gets out, where does their business go? It goes down the toilet."  

Pat Heffernan, executive director of Saskatchewan's Better Business Bureau, said he hopes people will think critically about the information they find on sites like bedbugregistry.com. Business owners are worried they remain on such lists even after the bugs are gone.

"Information for the public is good," Heffernan said. "I think it can get carried away when it's not an objective perspective, or one sided ... as this bedbug website might be prone to."

Meanwhile, bedbugregistry.com says it can't verify the information it receives but flags reports that have been disputed.

In some cases, posts are removed if they're over two years old for properties that have not had a subsequent bedbug report, the website says.