The recent rise in urbanization is causing pests, like bed bugs, to increase population in the Toronto area, which may include Ryerson campus.

Valerie Bruce, the manager of housing operations and administration at Ryerson says the university tries to be proactive when dealing with bed bugs in Ryerson’s three residences.

“We do a check of all the buildings and all the spaces prior to move-in day,” Bruce said. “So [students] don’t move into a space that we know has bed bugs in it. We have bed bug covers that we put on all our mattresses.”

In mid-August, the Ryerson Housing and Residence Life office facilitates a team of trained inspectors that go through all three residences with bed bug K9 inspectors and check each room to ensure that students aren’t moving into rooms that are infested.

“They heated up my room and everything. The mattress was moved. They tried to get rid of them, but they kept coming back,” said Melissa Verge, a fourth-year Ryerson journalism student who had bed bugs twice in her room in Ryerson’s International Living and Learning Centre (ILC) back in 2015.

If students suspect there are bed bugs in their room, they go to their residence advisor who will get in contact with the residence life office. The office will then bring in facilities that will inspect the room for the pests. If the test is positive, the student will be relocated for a week or two while a pest control company conducts a heat treatment in their room.  

“A guy a couple doors down had [bed bugs] pretty badly, I guess they didn’t find the root of the problem so they came to my room,” Verge said.

The student is required to clear their room of a list of items provided by a pest control company prior to treatment, such as any foods or medication. All students are relocated to commuter hostels available in ILC. When relocated, the student is asked to bring the bare minimum of what they will need for the two weeks.

“I was getting little bumps on my arms and someone recommended that I check and [when] I checked the bed, there were bugs crawling all around it,” said Verge.

All items accompanying the student need to be run through a dryer and clothes need to be washed. The residence office will reimburse the students laundry card.

“Typically in the year, we have about one to two cases of bed bugs. We have a minimal amount because of the check we do in August. We try to catch things before they become a problem,” said Bruce.

Correction: An earlier version of this story did not clarify that Melissa Verge experienced bed bugs two years ago, in her first year at Ryerson. The correction has been made.

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