Send in Joe Keithley!
This is a bedbug.
And while the monstrous little bloodsuckers may not be known to bear tiny little Toronto flags, they are apparently becoming increasingly common in this burgh.
The spectre of bedbugs tends to evoke images of peeling wallpaper and unidentified carpet stains and seedy roadside motels called the Palace or the Shangri-La, and yet this association was the product of a relatively short period in the enduring human-insect inter-species scrimmage.
Prior to the advent of such user-friendly chemicals as DDT and other chlorine-based compounds, even the most highborne Torontonian might have squinted, through his monocle, at a bedbug inching its way across his satin sheets with a belly full of billionaire blood. In just the same way, however, that virulent chemicals booted the anopheles mosquito out of North America and Europe (giving we westerners a smug sense of safety from malaria), so they managed to send the bedbug populations scurrying into some of the more fleabag (if you will) locations.
As is well known, DDT and its cosanguines tended to do icky things like make birds die and create babies the size of cement mixers, and so we did away with them and named west coast punk bands after them. And it’s only now that the Everglades are once again becoming a malarial swamp, and that Canadians are once again having to contend with bedbugs. Chemicals currently in use, like permithrin and imoprothin, are practically drinkable, and are consequently not really as effective as good ol’ DDT.*
While Torontoist readers are unlikely to be susceptible to the vicissitudes of the growing local bedbug population, they may find some tips for dealing with bedbugs here. Although the city recommends that you call an exterminator (for which your landlord, for the landless among us, should be responsible).
*Torontoist does not encourage you to drink these concoctions. We would rather you drink orange juice. Or maybe like gin or something, if you’re feeling adventurous.