Name: Bed Bug
Bedbugs – what are they?
Bedbugs are small, wingless insects that feed on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. They are easily moved from room to room on infested objects. Bedbugs cannot easily climb metal or polished surfaces and cannot fly or jump.
Adult bedbugs can be as long as 10 mm. They have an oval, broad, flat body and a short, broad head. Adult bedbugs are brown, but darken to a blood red colour after feeding. Young bedbugs are shaped like adults, but are smaller (1.5 mm long) and lighter in colour. They also darken after feeding.
Bedbug eggs are white, about one millimetre long, and are almost impossible to see on most surfaces. The female bedbug lays at least 200 eggs in her lifetime, at a rate of about two to four each day. The eggs have a sticky coating and are laid in cracks and crevices, behind woodwork and other hidden locations. They usually hatch in 6 to 17 days.
Bedbugs come out at night to feed, attracted by the carbon dioxide we exhale. They will feed on both people and pets. Bedbug bites may not be noticed right away because bedbugs typically feed at night when people are asleep.
Bedbugs prefer locations where they can hide easily and feed regularly, like sleeping areas. Their flattened bodies allow bedbugs to hide in extremely small locations: under wallpaper, behind picture frames, in electrical outlets, inside box springs, in mattress pads, and in night tables.
Newly hatched bedbugs feed as soon as food is available. Bedbugs can live from several weeks to up to a year and a half without feeding. Older bedbugs can go even longer without feeding.
Adults usually live for around 10 months, but can live for a year or more in a home where the environment is good for reproduction (with temperatures ranging between 21°C and 28°C).
Bedbugs are not known to spread disease and their bites do not generally require medical attention.
A bedbug bite can take as long as 14 days to appear, depending on the person. While bites can happen anywhere on the skin, they are often found on the face, neck, arms, legs, and chest.
Some people do not react at all to the bites, while others may have small skin reactions. In rare cases, some people may have severe allergic reactions. To avoid infection, try not to scratch the bites and keep the bite sites clean. Using antiseptic creams or lotions, as well as antihistamines, may help. Talk to your health care provider for advice.
Some people living in infested homes have reported mental health impacts including anxiety and insomnia. If you are experiencing these symptoms, talk to your health care professional.
Bedbugs: how do I prevent an infestation?
Prevention is the key to avoiding bedbug infestations in your home. To reduce the chances of an infestation, follow these steps:
- Reduce places where bedbugs can hide
- Get rid of clutter.
- Vacuum often, including under and behind beds.
- Repair or remove peeling wallpaper and tighten loose electrical faceplates.
- Seal all cracks and crevices on wooden bed frames, between baseboards, and in walls, ceilings, windows, door frames, and furniture.
- Check any entry points on walls that you share with neighbours, and openings that allow access to the inside of the wall (like areas where pipes, wires and other utility services enter).
Be careful about what you bring into your house or buy
- Check every item you bring into your home for the first time, including used books, new furniture, and garage sale or antique store furniture.
- Be very cautious with second-hand or refurbished items.
- New mattresses are often delivered in the same truck that carries away old mattresses, so be careful to check your new mattress before it enters your home. Insist that your new mattress be sealed before it is delivered.
- Never take a mattress or sofa from a curb.
- Check items before you put them in your vehicle and check your vehicle after helping a friend move.
- When you return from a trip, follow the tips described on the Public Health Agency of Canada
Check your home regularly for bedbugs
Regular inspection is important to prevent infestations. To thoroughly inspect your home, you will need a few simple tools:
- something to scrape along mattress seams and other crevices (like an old credit card cut into a long triangle: use it in a sweeping motion in narrow spaces to chase bedbugs out of hiding)
- screwdrivers for removing electrical faceplates and taking furniture apart (always be sure the power is turned off before opening an electrical outlet)
- alcohol, glass-cleaner, or baby wipes for checking if stains are bedbug droppings (if spots dissolve into a reddish brown colour when rubbed, the spots could be bedbug droppings)
- cotton swabs for checking stains in crevices
- white plastic bags that can be sealed, for your belongings
Check on, under and beside beds, couches and upholstered furniture. Look for black/brown spots (dried blood or feces), white spots (eggs – very hard to see), or live or dead bedbugs.
If you find signs of bedbugs, you should carefully widen the area of your inspection. If you have a pet, check areas where your pet sleeps as well.
Checking a bed for bedbugs
- Remove and inspect all bed linens, including pillows. If you see signs of bedbugs, wash the linens using the hot cycle of your machine.
- Slowly lift up each corner of the mattress and examine all creases, tufts, and buttons, along each side of any piping material sewn onto the edges, along mattress handles and air holes, and under pillow tops.
- Slowly lift up each corner and check where the box spring sits on the bed frame.
- Look closely at the top surface of the box spring, inside folds of material, along seams, and where the fabric is stapled to the box spring. Also check along the edge of the cloth underside. If you see signs of bedbugs, flip the box spring upside-down and remove the cloth underside to look inside the box spring.
- Check all surfaces, crevices, screws, staples, tacks, and under wooden plugs that cover screw or nail holes on the bed frame, legs, and headboard.
- Also go over the wall behind the bed (bedbugs can hide in wallpaper and electrical outlets). Remove electrical, telephone, or cable faceplates to check behind them. Always be sure the power is turned off before opening an electrical outlet. Pay extra attention to gaps in the baseboard or rips or bumps in wallpaper.
You should throw your bed out if you find bedbugs inside the box spring or where holes or worn spots in the fabric of the mattress are. These spots can allow bedbugs to lay eggs in places that are not easy to reach for treatment.
If you do throw out your bed or any other infested items, wrap them in plastic and tape off the edges to prevent spreading bedbugs on your way to the trash. Put a sign on the item saying it has a bedbug infestation, so that no one else takes the problem home with them.
Checking furniture for bedbugs
- Remove any loose cushions and check the creases, especially the seams and around the zippers of upholstered chairs and couches. Check the seating area and any creases along the sides and back of the chair or couch. Check the legs, especially where they join the upholstery, and where the fabric is tacked to the frame.
- Go over all corners and surfaces of wood furniture like dressers, cabinets, tables, chairs, and bookshelves. Remove drawers and look at the inside, the top, sides, back, and legs, paying extra attention to any cracks. Use the crevice tool to check any gaps (like between a shelf and bookcase frame, and under metal drawer slides).
- Wicker furniture is an ideal hiding spot for bedbugs, so check it carefully.
If you find signs of bedbugs, also check:
- Wall baseboards closest to the bed, using the crevice tool to check inside gaps.
- Between the folds of curtains, along the curtain hem, inside curtain rods and under the hardware on the wall.
- Around window and door casings and frames, along the hinges and in the hole for the door latch.
- Under area rugs and the edges of carpets. Fold back the edges of wall-to-wall carpeting and check the carpet tack strips.
If bedbugs are on the walls, they could also be hiding in picture frames, light fixtures, smoke detectors or other wall-mounted items. Bedbugs hiding in ceiling lights could mean that they are entering from a room above yours.
How do I get rid of them?
Bedbugs are very hard to get rid of. If you do have bedbugs, it is strongly recommended that you hire a licensed professional pest control operator.
If you are a tenant and have bedbugs, you should tell your landlord right away. Tenants who have bedbug-related issues should speak with a public health officer for help in dealing with the infestation.
If you live in a multiple-unit dwelling and building management has asked you to prepare your unit for bedbug treatment, this usually includes emptying storage furniture to make it easier to inspect, organizing your belongings and placing them in bags, washing all your clothes and bedding, and moving furniture away from the walls. The pest control operator will usually give you specific instructions to prepare for an inspection or treatment.
Professional pest control operators can use a variety of tools to control bedbugs. These include liquid insecticide sprays, aerosol insecticide sprays, insecticidal dusts, diatomaceous earth, pressurized carbon dioxide snow, and steam and heat treatments.
Whichever treatment is used, it will only be effective if physical control methods and preventative measures are used together.
How to find a professional pest control operator
Contact information for exterminators or pest control operators can be found by contacting the Canadian Pest Management Association or your provincial pest management association.
Physical methods of controlling bedbugs include steam cleaning, vacuuming, heating, freezing, washing, and throwing out items. Steam cleaning should be done before vacuuming, as the steam will flush any bedbugs not killed out of hiding. Heat treatments should be left to the professionals.
- Steaming, washing and throwing out items
- Infested (but intact) mattresses, upholstery and plush items that cannot be washed with hot water and detergent should be steam cleaned. Bedbugs die at 50°C and steam cleaners generally emit steam at a temperature of at least 100°C. Dry steam or low vapour steamers are better because they leave behind less moisture. Steam will only kill the bedbugs that it reaches, so move the steam cleaner slowly to maximize depth. Avoid excess moisture, which could lead to mould.
- Putting small items in the freezer or outside is sometimes effective. However, freezing temperatures must be kept for a prolonged period (4 days of consistent cold at -19°C), and may not kill all of the bedbugs.
- Place small non-washable items and dry-clean-only items in a hot dryer for 30 minutes or more.
- Wash mattress pads, bedding, bed skirts, infested clothes, curtains, and so on in hot water and dry them on the hottest dryer setting. Store clean, dry items in light-coloured sealed heavy duty plastic bags or plastic storage bins with secure lids to avoid infesting other areas.
- Throw out any items that can’t be washed, heated, or steam cleaned.
- Vacuum daily following the directions below.
Handheld vacuums, vacuums with a cloth bag, and vacuums with hoses that are made of fabric are not a good idea for bedbug clean-up because these vacuums can become infested. For households with family members who have allergies or asthma, it’s best to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to avoid putting insect and dust allergens back into the air.
- Bedbugs cling to wood and fabric, and their eggs are cemented to the surface where they were laid. Using a stiff brush attachment and a back-and-forth scraping motion on the surface of the mattress, and a nozzle for the seams and crevices, carefully vacuum all sides to remove bedbugs and eggs. This includes the mattress, box spring, bed frame, baseboards, non-washable furniture cushions, any rugs and carpeting, around heating units and baseboards, and the inside and underneath all drawers and furniture.
- Let the vacuum run for a bit to make sure all bedbugs have been sucked into the bag, then dispose of the vacuum bag in a sealed white plastic bag (white plastic makes it easier to spot a bedbug), in a garbage bin with a lid.
- Stuff paper towel in the end of the vacuum hose and seal it with tape to prevent any bedbugs from escaping.
- Wash all vacuum attachments in hot water and detergent.
- Store the vacuum in a large plastic bag and seal it.
- For a bagless vacuum cleaner, follow the instructions above, but also empty the canister contents into a plastic garbage bag, seal and dispose of the bag right away, and wash the dust container in hot water with detergent.
- Using pesticides and pest control products
Health Canada regulates pesticides in Canada. We make sure that each pesticide registered for use meets Canada’s high standards for health and environmental safety, and that the product works as claimed on the label.
Each registered pesticide comes with a detailed label that provides directions on how to use the product safely, which pests it controls, where and on what it can be used, and how to apply it properly. To see if a pesticide has been registered for use in Canada, check the label for a Pest Control Products (PCP) registration number. If the product label does not have a PCP registration number, do not buy or use it. Unregistered pesticides are illegal in Canada and their safety and effectiveness have not been reviewed by Health Canada.
Follow these precautions when using pesticides:
- Carefully read the label before buying or using pesticides, to figure out which products are best for your situation and to use the product safely.
- Use only pesticides registered by Health Canada and only as directed on the label.
- Never use any treatment on people, pets or bedding unless the pesticide label specifically says to do so. For example, pesticides registered for use on bed frames are not meant to be used on mattresses or box springs.
- Do not use pesticides on baby cribs, playpens, or toys.
- Do not use homemade pesticides. While they may seem simple and harmless, many homemade pesticide recipes can be dangerous both to make and to use. They could harm you and your family.
For more information on pesticide use and regulation, contact Health Canada’s Pest Management Information Service
KUUS Inc. products which are effective against Bedbugs
- KD098D- KNOCK DOWN KILSOL “ONE SOLUTION” MULTI INSECT KILLER PCP No.-30085
- KD100D- KNOCK DOWN CRAWLING INSECT KILLER PCP No.-30483
- KD111D- KNOCK DOWN BED BUG KILLER PCP No.-29633
- KD111DS- KNOCK DOWN BED BUG & FLEA KILLER PCP No.-30034
- KD118D- KNOCK DOWN TOTAL HOME AND INDOOR GARDEN PCP No.-29692
- KD120D- KNOCK DOWN MAX FLYING & CRAWLING INSECT KILLER PCP No.-29465
- KD153DP- KNOCK DOWN PRO 153, RTU Multi Site & Area INSECT KILLER with Bed Bug PCP No.-31247
- KD241C- KNOCK DOWN X-MAX FARM & LIVESTOCK INSECT KILLER PCP No.-28371
- KD242C-MAX BEDBUG COMMERCIAL PCP No.-29687
- KD243C- KNOCK DOWN FARM, LIVESTOCK, FOOD PROCESSING PLANTS & INSTITUTIONAL INSECT KILLER PCP No.-30092
- KD400D, KD401D- KNOCK DOWN TOTAL RELEASE FUMIGATOR PCP No.-29977
- KD402D, KD403D- KNOCK DOWN “POT-IT PLANT” BOTANICAL FUMIGATOR PCP No.-31161
- KD405D- KNOCK DOWN “POT-IT PLANT” & INDOOR GARDEN MULTI-INSECT KILLER PCP No.-32092
- KD406D- KNOCK DOWN “POT-IT PLANT” MAX RESIDUAL BARRIER SPRAY PCP No.-31562
Center for Integrated Pest Management epa.gov/ipm| firstname.lastname@example.org