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What is a bedbug?

Bedbugs are insects that are visible to the naked eye. They are the size of an apple seed, have no wings and can be identified by their brown colour. They are generally found along the seams of mattresses, where they leave their droppings (excrement) and brownish stains. Bedbugs are active mainly at night and feed on human blood.

Bedbug bites cause itchiness that can result in insomnia, fatigue and anxiety. People battling bedbugs may feel ashamed and isolate themselves from others.

Are bedbugs visible to the naked eye?

Yes. Bedbugs measure 3-7 mm and are the size and shape of an apple seed. They are reddish brown in colour. You can see them under the sheets of your bed as well as along the seams and edges of mattresses.

Are bedbugs visible to the naked eye?

Itchiness and insect bites on your skin, as well as black stains on mattress seams and blood on sheets and pillow cases, may be signs that there are bedbugs in your bed. Bedbug bites look like mosquito bites. They cause itchiness that can disrupt sleep. In general, three to four bites will be found on the skin in a straight line or grouped together in the same spot. The exposed parts of arms, legs and the back are the most likely places to get bitten.

What should I do if I think my home is infested with bedbugs?

First, try and detect their presence. By lifting up sheets at night, you will be able to see little insects the size of an apple seed. You can also see traces of excrement and blood on the edges and seams of mattresses. If these detection efforts prove positive, act quickly, because the problem can rapidly get worse.

If you are a tenant in a residential building, you must report the presence of bedbugs as fast as possible to the building owner or manager of the building. The building owner must call upon an exterminator to check for the presence of these insect pests and destroy them.

Do bedbugs transmit any diseases?

No. Bedbugs do not transmit any diseases to humans.

Is it possible for me to get bitten but not my husband?

Yes. Some people react differently from others to bedbug bites. Some feel very itchy and others feel nothing.

Do bedbugs live on humans?

Unlike lice or other parasites, bedbugs do not live on humans. In the case of a major infestation, they may be found on the body of a person with serious physical or intellectual disabilities that prevent them from chasing the bugs away. Bedbugs do not live on animals and do not transmit any diseases.

Are more bedbugs found in Montréal?

Bedbugs have recently reappeared in most major North American urban areas, including Montréal. There is, in fact, an increase in the presence of bedbugs in a number of apartment buildings in Montréal. Many cities in the province of Québec have also noted bedbug infestations on their territory. In Montréal, measures have been implemented to prevent catastrophic situations such as those faced by some major North American cities.

Given the increase in the number of cases of bedbug infestations, what is Montréal doing?

A Regional Action Plan to Fight Bedbugs [PDF - 469 KB – 4 pages (in French)] has been implemented to reduce and control bedbug infestations throughout the island of Montréal.

How long can a bedbug survive without sustenance?

Adult bedbugs live approximately five months if they feed on a regular basis. Without sustenance, they can survive in a dormant state for more than a year.

Do bedbugs live on mattresses?

They usually stay on beds or near beds. They also settle on cracks in the walls, floors or bedroom furniture. If there is a large population of them, they will migrate to other rooms in the home. They may be found in armchairs, upholstered furniture, in power outlets or behind pictures on the wall. If the infestation is not eradicated after a few weeks, they will try to move into neighbours' homes.

My neighbour has bedbugs in his apartment. Should I be worried?

The migration of bedbugs from one neighbour to another is much more common than we think. The risk of migration is higher in apartments and condos, because bedbugs can move from one unit to another through cracks, pipes and spaces between common walls. If you think that your neighbour has a bedbug problem, examine your bed and your home every week in order to detect them as quickly as possible. Vacuum often to prevent an infestation. Talk to your building owner or to your condo association about it.

Are bedbugs found in poor neighbourhoods or unsanitary homes?

Bedbugs can infest clean homes just as often as unsanitary ones. Bedbugs are parasitic insects that don't take individuals' living conditions into account. However, people living in multiple-unit residential buildings and condominiums are more vulnerable because the bedbugs can more easily spread from one dwelling unit to another.

I live in a detached dwelling. Am I safe from bedbugs?

No. Regardless of where you live, bedbugs can invade your home. They are often transported from one place to another when the object in which they are hiding is moved. For example, bags, luggage, backpacks, clothing, mattresses, furniture, bedding, laptops and even wheelchairs. All these objects can serve as a hiding place and a means of transportation.

Is washing second-hand clothing the best way to prevent my home from being infested by bedbugs?

No. Bedbugs and their eggs can survive washing in hot water as well as cold water. To get rid of them, put second-hand clothing in air-tight, plastic bags. Once at home, toss the contents of the bags directly into the dryer and run it on the highest cycle for at least 30 minutes. Then dispose of the empty bags outside, in closed garbage containers.

What should I do with a mattress infested with bedbugs?

You can steam clean infested mattresses or wrap them in an anti-dust mite/anti-bedbug cover. A qualified exterminator can apply the appropriate treatment and advise you on what measures to take. If he recommends that you dispose of your mattress, it is highly advised that you slash it or mark it with spray paint and wrap it in a plastic cover before disposing of it outdoors.

When travelling, how can I make sure that I don't bring any bedbugs back home?

We know that travelling and moving contribute to the proliferation of bedbugs. Wherever you stay during your travels, avoid placing your clothing, bags or luggage directly in contact with beds, rugs, etc. A thorough inspection of your bedroom is of the utmost importance. Carefully examine the bedding, bed, furniture, rugs and carpets in search of bedbugs, eggs or black stains indicating the presence of these insects. Bites (resembling mosquito bites) grouped together on the skin may also indicate their presence. Before you return home, put your clothing in air-tight, plastic bags. At home, empty the contents of these bags directly into the dryer and run it on the highest cycle for at least 30 minutes. Dispose of the empty bags in the garbage outside. Clean your luggage with a vacuum cleaner and dispose of the vacuum bag in the garbage outside.

Can I use chemical products myself to get rid of the bedbugs in my home?

It is highly advised that people not use any insecticides that are sold in stores. Some of these products are ineffective and even hazardous to your own health as well as to the health of the people living with you, particularly children and pregnant women. Misuse of such products contributes to the development of bedbugs' resistance to extermination products. To control an infestation, you must call upon a qualified exterminator who will apply a proven method by using certified products.

Do bedbugs resist insecticides?

Some strains of bedbugs have developed a resistance to insecticides, especially if these products are overused. However, extermination companies have recourse to various methods combined with chemical products to eliminate bedbugs in a home.

Are putting grease on bed legs, using two-sided tape or opting for a metallic bed effective ways of dealing with bedbugs?

No. Such strategies can prevent the bedbugs from climbing into a bed, but they won't exterminate them. The bedbugs will be able to settle into other places in the room,other rooms in your home or migrate to other dwelling units in a residential building.