Bed Bugs

Pest are a fact of life! With increased travel and reduced use of pesticides North America is experiencing an increase of bed bug occurrences.

Bed bugs are small biting insects that multiply quickly and travel easily. They are not a health hazard and not known to spread any human disease. Contact your landlord immediately if you find bed bugs in your home because the sooner you deal with them; the sooner you can be rid of them.

It is possible for any location to become infested with bedbugs and using a proactive, community approach early on will help you effectively prevent and respond to these pests. Contact your municipality or Public Health for advice on how to get rid of bed bugs.

Quick Facts about Bed Bugs

  • Although a nuisance, Bed Bugs re not a health threat
  • Bed bugs can be found all over world: in many cities and towns, in homes, stores, offices and public places.
  • Bed bugs feed on the blood of animals or birds, but they prefer people.
  • Adult bed bugs can live for up to a year without feeding.
  • Usually bed bugs live for 6 to 9 months.
  • The eggs hatch about 10 days after they are laid.
  • They usually hide during the day and come out at night to feed.
  • Bed bugs can’t fly or jump, but can walk as quickly as an ant.
  • Bed bugs are attracted to body heat, and the air people exhale.
  • Bed bugs can travel from place to place on clothing, and personal belongings like luggage, knapsacks, computer bags and purses.

 How can you reduce the risk of getting bed bugs?

  • Eliminate clutter
  • Regularly vacuum your room and mattress
  • Launder your linens and clothing (using high heat when possible)
  • Be aware of the signs of bedbugs when you are staying in hotels or vacationing and always launder your clothing when you return.

 What do they look like?

  • Bed bugs are oval, flat, reddish brown insects, about as big as an apple seed
  • Before feeding they are flat and brown. After feeding they become larger and turn a more reddish-brown colour.
  • Baby bed bugs are smaller, whiter, and harder to spot.
  • Eggs are very small; about the size of a grain of rice.

Think you’ve got bedbugs in your room? Here’s what to do first.

  1. Contact your landlord right away. This allows them to notify a pest control company to resolve the issue.
  2. Find a sample and place it in the zip lock bag provided from the service desk. Be sure to label the bag and alert the desk that you have a confirmed sample.
  3. Plan to stay in your room. It’s important to remember – if you stay in a friend’s room, you could be passing the problem along!

Pesticides, alone, will not eliminate a bed bug infestation completely.

Inspecting and cleaning the living area and all personal belongings are critical for bed bug control and elimination. Cleaning should occur before pesticides are used. Follow all the recommended steps as they apply to the individual situation:

  • Seal all clothing and linens in clear plastic bags. Clear bags are good because bed bugs can be seen inside them.
  • Seal shoes, coats and pillows in large clear plastic bags.
  • Personal belongings should be inspected carefully, cleaned, and sealed in plastic bags or bins. Do not use cardboard boxes, bed bugs can hide in folds and will deposit eggs there.
  • All clothes, linens, pillows, shoes and coats should be treated by placing them into a HOT dryer for 30 minutes. Do not overstuff the dryer, heat must reach all items.
  • Keep cleaned items separate from items that have not been checked or cleaned
  • Unless you are sure that there are no bed bugs on personal belongings, these should remain in the bag or bin until they can be carefully inspected or washed.
  • The room should be emptied of all personal belongings and floors thoroughly vacuumed with a brush attachment (Please contact your RA for your floor vacuum).
  • The mattress and box spring should be vacuumed to remove any live bugs and debris and immediately encased or prepared for treatment.
  • Wash in and around any non-electric heating units (such as steam pipes or radiators).

Additional Resources

Peterborough Public Health – Bed Bug Info