The following document has also been added to our webpage as a downloadable and printable PDF. It can be found under the Tenant - Helpful Documents and Links section.
What You Need to Know About Bedbugs
As a tenant, it is important to know what your responsibilities surrounding bedbugs are and how they spread. This document provides some information about bedbugs and what to do if you suspect you may have them in your unit.
I think I have bedbugs (see 'What are signs of a bedbug infestation' below) – what should I do?
- Check your mattress and box spring, and launder your bed linens regularly. Early detection is best.
- If you find a bug that you think may be a bedbug, save it in a container with a lid such as a pill bottle.
- Call your landlord immediately. Do not attempt to self-treat the problem with products like Raid – they only cause the bugs to scatter and enter other suites. It will not kill them. There are no off-the-shelf products that destroy all bedbugs and their eggs. Professional pest control treatments are the only option.
- Do not remove any furniture, mattresses or box springs from your unit until a pest-control professional has declared your suite to be free of bugs.
What are signs of a bedbug infestation?
Unexplained bites or marks on the skin that are in a rough line or in a small cluster;
- Black or dark red spots on bed linens and mattresses;
- Actual live or dead bugs;
- A musty, sweet odour if there are many bugs.
Image of the life cycle of a bedbug: https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/publichealth/images/bedbug/popups/lifecycle.jpg
Who is responsible for bedbug control in apartment buildings?
The tenant is responsible for reporting a potential infestation to their landlord immediately.
- The landlord is responsible for arranging appropriate treatment of the infestation and making payment for the treatment.
- The tenant is responsible for preparing their suite for treatment and for allowing the exterminator inside to treat.
- If you need treatment, you will be provided with a set of written instructions that must be followed closely for successful treatment.
- Refusal to do the preparation and allow the treatment is grounds for being charged for the exterminator visit and/or termination of your tenancy.
- Failure to report bedbugs on a timely basis may be grounds for the tenant being held responsible for any bugs found in adjacent suites.
- Tenants who report bedbugs to the landlord quickly will not be held financially responsible for the cost of treatment.
How can I lessen my chances of getting bedbugs?
- Check all second-hand items closely for bedbugs and eggs.
- Inspect your hotel room closely when travelling – place luggage on a luggage rack, in the bathtub, or leave them outside the door until you are satisfied that there is no sign of bedbugs on the mattress or box spring. Be sure to vacuum your luggage well before bringing it inside when you return home. Also wash all clothes in hot water and dry in a hot dryer.
Why does there seem to be a sudden outbreak of bedbugs across the world?
- Bedbugs used to be much easier to treat. In recent years, two of the three basic classes of pesticide used to treat bedbugs were banned from use after being declared hazardous to human health. Unfortunately, any time that only one class of pesticide is used, the bugs will begin to develop a resistance to it and become harder to eradicate. It is similar to how misuse of an antibiotic will lead to it not being effective in humans.
Where do bedbugs come from?
- Bedbugs can come from just about anywhere. Most commonly, they are found in mattresses, box springs, sofas and upholstered chairs. However, they can also be found inside clothing, toys, furniture, luggage, electronics, books and picture frames. They can enter your home by travelling on any of these items and are not an indication of uncleanliness.
- They are capable of travelling over 100 feet to get a meal, but are most likely to live within 8 feet of where people sleep. They typically hide during the day and come out at night to feed.
Do bedbugs pose any health concerns?
- There is no evidence to suggest that bedbugs transmit disease among humans.
- Symptoms of bedbug bites range from no symptoms at all to itchy red bumps that resemble mosquito bites. It can take up to 14 days to develop visible symptoms of bedbug bites.