• Working Hours : Mon - Fri ( 9 AM - 5:30 PM)
  • +1 (613) 803-8268
June 20, 2017

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.

How they feed and live

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).

Bedbug bites

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 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.

Contact CWAY Pest Control Services for all your Bedbug teatments.

[email protected]

Physical control methods

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.

Vacuuming

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.

Bedbugs: how do I make sure they don’t come back?

Once the infestation is under control, the following tips will help prevent their return:

  • Avoid moving to another bedroom. While you may feel a strong need to do so, surviving bedbugs could tag along which might lead to another infestation. Instead, continue to use the same bedroom, monitor carefully and often for any surviving bedbugs, and take the steps below to protect yourself from being bitten.
  • Completely enclose your mattress and box spring in zippered bed encasements available from allergy or pest control supply companies. Put duct tape over the zipper, because zippers have a space where bedbugs can enter or escape. Mattresses can also be wrapped and sealed in plastic film. As long as the encasement stays intact (no rips or holes), the bedbugs will not be able to get through it to bite you and will eventually die. It is a good practice to keep the mattress enclosed this way for a full year.
  • Coat bed legs with double-sided carpet tape or petroleum jelly, or place the legs of the bed in leg protectors or glass jars with a bit of baby powder to trap the bedbugs on their way up or down the bed leg. Commercially available bed leg interceptors are available and are a way to detect bedbugs.
  • Use white or light-coloured sheets. This makes it easier to spot them.
  • Remove headboards completely.
  • Paint existing wood furniture (including baby cribs) white for easier detection. (Use only paint that is safe for use on baby furniture.)
  • Replace upholstered furniture with metal or plastic, or material that can easily be cleaned with soap and water.
  • Vacuum daily. For the first few weeks, even after you no longer see any bedbugs, throw out the vacuum bag right away, like you did during the treatment phase.
  • Look for new infestations on a regular basis.
  • Contact CWAY Pest Control for all you Bedbug Treatment requirements
  • [email protected]