What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small biting insects that multiply quickly. They can be found in places such as hotels and motels, dormitories, single homes, multi-unit dwellings, businesses and offices.
Bed bugs can travel home with you by hitch-hiking a ride on your suitcase, clothes and other items.
What do bed bugs look like?
Bed bugs are insects with oval-shaped bodies and no wings. Adults are reddish-brown in colour, visible to the naked eye and range in size from 3 to 5 millimetres - about the size of an apple seed.
What do bed bug bites look like?
Some people do not react to bed bug bites. For those who do, bed bug bite marks can appear as small bumps or large itchy welts; especially around the face, neck, upper torso, arms and hands. Marks will often appear in a group of three.
Bed bug bites usually heal by themselves without treatment.
How can bed bugs affect my health?
Although bed bugs and their bites are a nuisance, they are not known to spread disease in humans.
The presence of bed bugs in the home can cause stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
How do I know if I have an infestation?
Itchy bite marks or welts on your skin, as well as bed bugs and their dark droppings on mattresses, sheets, bed frames or walls can indicate an infestation.
Use a bright flashlight to look for bed bugs and their dark droppings in bedroom furniture, windows and doorframes.
- Seams and folds of mattresses and box springs
- Cracks and crevices in bed frames and headboards
- Under chairs, couches, beds and dust covers
- Between the cushions of couches and chairs
- Under area rugs and between curtain folds
- In and around nightstands
- Behind baseboards, quarter-rounds, and around window and door casings
How do I get rid of bed bugs?
Speak to your landlord or contact a licensed pest control expert. Most exterminators will use a combination of pesticides, thermal heat/cold treatments, steam cleaning and vacuuming to rid a home of bed bugs. Choose a licensed company that has experience in bed bug management.
Find a licensed company near you by visiting www.spmao.ca (external link) or www.pestworld.org (external link).
You should also:
- Vacuum your mattress, bed frame, baseboards and anything else around your bed every day (seal the vacuum bag in a plastic bag outside to prevent the bugs from escaping)
- Wash your clothing, bed sheets, blankets, mattress pads and pillows in hot water and dry them on high heat for 30 minutes
- Remove unnecessary clutter
- Seal cracks in bed frames, floors, walls and between baseboards
- Repair or remove peeling wallpaper
- Tighten loose electrical outlet covers
- Carefully bag, label and dispose of infested items that cannot be cleaned
How can I prevent a bed bug infestation?
Even the cleanest homes, hotels and other businesses can get bed bugs. To prevent bed bugs from entering your home:
- Regularly inspect and clean your home, including vacuuming your mattress
- Clean up clutter to help reduce the number of places bed bugs can hide and to make inspection easier
- Seal cracks and crevices with caulking
- Consider covering your pillows and mattress with a plastic cover, or use a zippered encasements and duct tape the zippers
- Closely inspect used clothing, furniture and electronics before bringing them inside your home - never bring home discarded bed frames, mattresses, or box springs
- When traveling, keep clothing in suitcases instead of in dressers and closets, and closely inspect luggage and clothing before unpacking
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 311 for more information on bed bugs.