Calgary

Cockroach population explodes in Calgary — and this exterminator knows why

A Calgary exterminator says he's seen a drastic jump in calls about cockroaches this year, saying it's the worst he's ever seen it in Calgary — and he thinks he knows why.

'The problem is probably at the largest that I've ever seen it'

Calgary's cockroach problem is the worst that one Calgary exterminator has ever seen. (Joel Sartore/Getty Images )

A Calgary exterminator says he's seen a drastic jump in calls about cockroaches this year, saying it's the worst he's ever seen it in Calgary.

Bill Martin, the owner of Martin's Pest Control in Calgary, said the number of calls he has been receiving that request cockroach extermination have gone up by about a quarter this year.

"It seems to be incrementally increasing every year, but I would say this year we're probably up 25 per cent in the number of calls. Maybe even more," Martin told the Calgary Eyeopener.

Martin said he expects the cockroach population to keep on expanding.

"The problem is probably the largest that I've ever seen it."

Second-hand furniture provides great hiding places for cockroaches to crawl into and when that furniture is taken home, the bugs are taken home, too.

How they're spreading

The bugs are not coming from the outdoors into homes, like some other insects, said Martin, but rather, catch rides into homes via human transportation methods.

"Cockroaches, they're not affected by the weather because they're an interior pest," said Martin. "They don't come in from outside — they're introduced."

Martin believes that the popular second-hand economy in the city is part of the explanation for how bugs find their way into dwellings.

Second-hand furniture provides great hiding places for cockroaches to crawl into and when that furniture is taken home, the bugs are taken home, too. 

"Number one is the sharing economy," said Martin.

International travel as well as immigration to the city can also bring in the bugs.

"You might have something that you've picked up when you're in another country," he said.

"You get here in Calgary, you get off the plane, you go put it on your bed in your house, and you don't even realize that something has left your luggage and gone into your home."

How to get rid of them

Cockroaches aren't as difficult to get rid of as people might think, but people aren't educated to deal with them and sometimes ashamed to seek help, said Martin.

"Often it's a lot more complicated because you're dealing with the human factor," he said.

"In some of these buildings with 100 people or 100 units, you've got small families, large families. You might have seniors, you might have people with mobility issues. You might have people with all kinds of medical problems."

Despite popular myth, people shouldn't blast the bugs with hardware store sprays, as that will just scare them into other people's homes, said Martin.

"If you're in a condo or multiple dwelling unit, what's going to happen is that you're gonna take those bugs that you might have and you're gonna push them to your neighbours, and then they're gonna be wondering what's going on," said Martin.

His advice, other than to call the experts? Get out the vacuum cleaner.

"The best thing that you can do with many pests is go into your closet, pull out the vacuum cleaner, pull out the Dustbuster, take the pest, suck it up with the machine that you got and throw it in the trash, get it outside," said Martin.

"Cockroaches don't survive freezing."

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.

With files from Tahirih Foroozen

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