Bed bugs have had a far reaching impact on rental housing in Saskatoon and Quint has been no exception. The cost to continually treat for bugs creates financial pressures, the quality of life for tenants suffers, and reputations suffer when word gets out that a building has bugs. All of these factors have contributed to the Housing team looking for answers and ways to prevent bed bugs entering and spreading in our buildings.
We have recently begun a new prevention method where every suite will have all of its baseboards removed and diatomaceous earth (DE) put underneath the walls. DE is a naturally occurring powder that works to dehydrate and eventually kill any crawling insect that crosses over it. It is nontoxic and safe to handle making it ideal for families and individuals with health issues.
We are working towards putting DE inside every wall. Once the DE is in the walls it will act as a barrier for the bugs and prevent them from spreading from suite to suite. We have completed approximately 10% of our units so far, focusing on vacant suites and properties that have had issues with bugs in the past.
DE will not eradicate bed bugs or prevent them from entering our buildings. The goal is to stack prevention methods in order to prevent the spread of bugs and work towards a quick resolution for any new incidents of bugs. We continue to incorporate other important prevention techniques that include tenant education, proper preparation for treatments when required and good communication between tenants and landlords which enable quick responses. All of these prevention methods work together to reduce the likelihood of bugs and most importantly reduce the spread of bugs throughout the buildings.
Since implementing this strategy Quint has seen a positive trend toward less bug reports. The Housing team will be tracking the results over the course of the year to determine how much of an impact the diatomaceous earth has had on reducing the amount of bed bugs. Keep watching for further reports.