Santé Montréal

Bedbugs

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Description

Bedbugs have  broad and flat oval bodies and small wide heads. Adult bedbugs are brownish in colour, wingless and 4 to 7 mm long. Before a bedbug has fed, it resembles an apple seed, but turns blood red after biting. The nymph looks like the adult but is smaller and yellow-white in colour. 

Bedbugs cannot fly or jump. They move by walking, and do not like light.

They are nocturnal and feed on human blood at night. During the day, bedbugs are found mainly along the seams of mattresses and box springs, but can be found anywhere where they can easily tuck themselves away. 

  • Bedbugs have recently reappeared in most large North American cities, including Montréal. According to statistics, 3% of households on the Island of Montréal reported having had bedbugs in their homes at some time. 
  • To fight bedbug infestations, it is essential that you act quickly.
  • Tenants must notify their landlords as soon as they detect the presence of the pest insects in their dwellings.
  • Building owners, administrators and managers must take steps to call in an exterminator. 
  • Exterminators must do everything necessary to eliminate all bedbugs in the building. 
  • If the owner fails to respond when informed of the presence of bedbugs, the tenant must contact the inspections department through his or her borough or municipality.
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Symptoms

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When to Consult

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Complications

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Protection and prevention

Bedbugs don't discriminate and will happily make their home anywhere they can find food and shelter!

Look for the following signs of the presence of bedbugs:

  • Bites similar to mosquito bites on the skin, arms, legs or any other part of the body exposed during sleep. 
  • Little black or dark brown spots on your sheets, mattress, box spring or bed base, walls, or other locations.
  • Insects or eggs (very small and white) on your mattress, sheets or elsewhere in the room.

How to prevent bedbug infestations:

  • Avoid buying used mattresses or second-hand upholstered furniture, because it is difficult to know whether they are infested with bedbugs or not.
  • Do not pick up mattresses, furniture or objects found outside or in the garbage. They may be infested. 
  • Carefully inspect and clean any second-hand items before bringing them into your home. 
  • Put all used clothing and second-hand sheets, blankets and bed covers into a plastic bag before bringing them into your home. Keep the bag sealed until you empty it directly into your clothes dryer. Set the dryer to its hottest cycle for at least 30 minutes. Dispose of the empty plastic bag in the garbage outside. 
  • When you return home from a trip, if you see bites on your skin or think that you might be carrying bedbugs in your luggage, 

    • put the clothes in a sealed plastic bag before taking them into the house; 
    • empty the bag directly into your clothes dryer. Set the dryer to its hottest cycle for at least 30 minutes. Dispose of the empty plastic bag in the garbage outside; 
    • carefully clean your luggage using a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment. (You can also put your suitcase or bag into a large sealed plastic bag until you have a chance to clean it). Dispose of the vacuum bag in the garbage outside. if you use a bagless vacuum cleaner, empty its contents into the garbage outside of the house and clean the vacuum cleaner in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

Read the following documents: 

Toward Healthy and Affordable Housing
Report of the Director of Public Health for Montréal

Are you moving? Watch out for bedbugs
Prevention Tips for all

Don’t let the bedbugs bite - Provides practical tips on how to effectively prevent and exterminate bedbugs.

Bedbugs – Identifying and controlling bedbugs is a practical guide for Montréal's building owners, administrators and managers. It explains the measures to take to prevent and detect bedbug infestations in dwellings or buildings, and how to get rid of them efficiently and permanently for all. 

Plan d’action regional de lutte contre les punaises – March 24, 2011 (document in french only)

Press releases of the Direction de santé publique (DSP) of Montréal - March 24, 2011 and October 13, 2010 (in French only)

Bed bugs Ville de Montréal in collaboration with the Direction de santé publique de Montréal

Health Canada - Bedbugs 

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Risk factors

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Help and Resources

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Treatment

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People at Risk

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Dernière mise à jour le : 2017.06.16