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UNB Saint John monitoring for bed bugs after 'recent report'

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The University of New Brunswick in Saint John is confirming a ‘recent report’ of bed bugs on campus.

“The suspected locations and the surrounding areas were closed and professionally treated and cleaned,” wrote Bill Best, UNB’s vice-president of administration, in a note to students and faculty on Tuesday.

“The treated spaces were closed for twice as long as was recommended to ensure they were safe for faculty, staff and students when they reopened.”

UNB didn’t respond to questions about when the report was made, nor any specifics about suspected locations included.

“A message about this situation was sent to unit leaders (Monday) morning, so they were able to respond to questions from faculty, staff and students,” wrote Best.

“Overnight there has been misinformation circulating about this situation, so we felt a broader communication was needed.”

“All spaces on campus have been deemed safe by the contractor, and we continue to monitor the situation carefully,” he added.

'Bed bugs are not associated with cleanliness'

On Tuesday, Orkin Canada Pest Control released its annual list of the top 25 Canadian cities for where bed bugs are the worst. The list, which measures the number of commercial and residential bed bug treatments performed by Orkin in 2023, is led by cities in Ontario.

Across the Atlantic region, St. John’s, N.L., is eighth on the list, with Moncton at 18, and Halifax at 19.

Sean Rollo of Orkin in Moncton says the upward trend in post-pandemic travel is having a direct effect on bed bug reports.

“Bed bugs don’t spread as easily as you might think, because then they’d literally be everywhere,” says Rollo, in an interview. “But travel is definitely one method of them getting from one spot to another.”

Rollo says travellers should check for bed bugs as soon as arriving at their accommodations, and pay special attention to mattresses and sheets. He says other precautions include keeping luggage at a higher level, and not using hotel dressers for clothes.

“Bed bugs are not associated with cleanliness,” says Rollo.

“Anybody can have bedbugs. They don’t discern. As long as you have blood, you are a suitable host for them. Living conditions really don’t have much to do with whether bed bugs are present, or not present.”

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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