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Recognizing a bedbug

An adult bedbug is an insect the size and colour of an apple seed. It stings humans at night to suck their blood for nourishment. Its bites look like those of mosquitoes. Bedbugs run away from light and mainly hide in bedrooms, near a bed and along mattress seams. They don't fly and don't jump on people; they move around by walking.

If you don't see any bedbugs, check for the following signs:

  1. Bites on your skin that look like mosquito bites
  2. Itchy skin
  3. Small black stains on mattress seams
  4. Small blood stains on sheets and mattress seams

Tenants' responsibilities

Tenants must not try to resolve the problem themselves. They must immediately notify the owner (the superintendant or manager) of the building where they are living, as soon as they notice bedbugs in their home. This person must then call upon a certified exterminator to detect the presence of bedbugs and eliminate them, if need be.

Exterminator's visit

Tenants must get ready for the exterminator's visit by de-cluttering all the rooms of their home in order to make it easier for the exterminator to carry out his work and thereby limit the bedbugs' hiding places. Bedding and clothing must be put in air-tight bags. The contents of the bags must then be emptied directly into the dryer where they must be dried on the hottest cycle (for at least 30 minutes). And lastly, the empty bags must be disposed of in the garbage outside the tenants' home.

Building owners' responsibilities

Once notified by a tenant, the building owner must call upon a qualified exterminator to detect the presence of bedbugs. As soon as they receive written notice of the presence of bedbugs in a dwelling unit (see the above section on "Tenants' responsibilities"), building owners must take steps, upon prior mutual agreement with their tenant, to remedy the situation. If applicable, the building owner must allow the exterminator to visit all the dwelling units and other places in the building in order to determine the scope of the infestation and bring it under control.

What to do if the building owner doesn't take the necessary steps to eliminate the bedbugs?

  1. Tenants must notify their building owner by registered mail, giving notification of the presence of bedbugs and demanding that the building owner take the necessary remedial action within 10 working days. This notice must mention that if the building owner fails to take the appropriate steps, a copy of the letter will be sent to the Division des permis et des inspections of the borough concerned.
  2. To notify the Division des permis et des inspections in their borough, tenants must phone 311. According to the current procedure, they must then fax a copy of the letter or bring it to the point of service in their borough.

The exterminator's responsibility

The exterminator must be sure to take all necessary steps to detect the presence of bedbugs in all the rooms of a home and, if applicable, in all the infested units in the building. The exterminator must ensure that all the bedbugs are destroyed at all stages of their development (including their eggs). This involves having the exterminator return to the premises again to apply the necessary products and make sure that the initial treatment was effective. The exterminator must use officially approved insecticides, when necessary. Using hot steam, he must treat mattresses and other upholstered furniture that are not overly damaged and he must recommend to the tenants that they slash the mattresses that are too infested to be recovered, in order to make them unusable, and he must also recommend that they put these in plastic covers before disposing of them on the street.