Bed bugs

Bed bugs are small, brownish insects about the size of an apple seed. They typically come out at night to bite. Anyone anywhere can get bed bugs.

Bed bugs can be brought into a home on used furniture and used clothing. They can also be brought home in your suitcase after travelling.

Bed bugs can be identified and controlled using a licensed pest control company. There are things you can do to control bed bugs such as thorough vacuuming, steam cleaning, drying clothes at high temperatures, reducing clutter and sealing cracks and crevices.

There are no known diseases spread by bed bugs.

If you have bed bugs you can stop bites by “making your bed an island”.

Make your bed an island

Reduce bites right away by isolating the bed.

  1. Get rid of clutter in your room.
  2. To kill the bed bugs and eggs, place bedding and pillows in the dryer on a hot setting for at least 30 minutes 
  3. Pull your bed away from the wall and curtains, and leave it in the centre of the room.
  4. Vacuum your mattress and box spring very well with the vacuum's crevice tool. Make sure to go over seams, handles and buttons. This will remove bugs found on the surface. 
  5. Vacuum your bed frame and headboard including areas where there are screws and fasteners. 
  6. Throw away the vacuum bag contents in a sealed plastic bag and place it in an outdoor garbage can.
  7. If there are cracks or holes in your bed frame, apply some caulking to prevent the bugs from getting in. 
  8. Place your mattress and box spring in a zippered mattress cover.
  9. Do not use bed skirts as the bed bugs will use them to climb back into your bed.
  10. Keep bed sheets and blankets tucked in so they do not touch the ground.
  11. Cover the feet and legs of the bed frame with petroleum jelly (Vaseline). This will make these surfaces slippery and will prevent the bugs from climbing into your bed. Clean the legs and apply a new coat of petroleum jelly as needed.

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What can Ottawa Public Health do to help?

Public Health Inspectors and Public Health Nurses are available to provide information and to answer questions. Please Note: Public Health Inspectors/Nurses will not visit for the purpose of identifying bed bugs. For more information on bed bugs, call the Ottawa Public Health Information Line at 613-580-6744.

Tenants/Landlords

If a tenant has a problem with bed bugs, they should notify their landlord, superintendant or property manager so they can take action to try and control the bed bugs. It is the landlord’s responsibility to maintain the rental unit so that it is fit for habitation. It is the tenant’s responsibility to cooperate with the landlord to help manage the bed bug problem.

For additional assistance, the tenant/landlord should call 311 and ask for Bylaw Property Standards

Help may also be available for vulnerable clients dealing with bed bugs. If you are a low income tenant, or if you are receiving Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), please call 3-1-1, select your language, then ‘4’ for Social Services.  

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