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Government of Manitoba
What You Should Know About Bed Bugs

Anyone can be affected by bed bugs. Everyone can stop their spread.

Bed bugs are not a health hazard but they can create a lot of stress. Learn how you can protect yourself and help stop the spread of bed bugs.

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are small, brown insects - about the size of an apple seed at adult stage - that feed on human blood. After a feeding, they swell in size and can become bright or dark red. They are wingless and cannot fly or jump. They hide during the day and come out at night in areas where people sleep.

Can I get sick from bed bugs?

There is no evidence bed bugs spread diseases to humans. Reactions to bites range from no reaction at all, to itchy red bumps. If a bed bug is disturbed during feeding, they may bite more than once in the same general area. The bites are painless but may become itchy after a day or two. Scratching at the bites may cause an infection. Many people get anxious and distressed when exposed to bed bugs.

What is the life cycle of bed bugs?

There are three stages in the life of a bed bug: eggs, nymphs(or juveniles) and adults. The eggs have a coating that helps them stick to objects and they usually hatch in six to 17 days. Hatched nymphs start to feed right away. Adult bed bugs can live for more than 12 months, depending on the location or conditions and can become inactive when there is no host to feed on.

How do bed bugs get into my home?

Having bed bugs does not mean your home isn't clean. They enter your home on items you carry in from outside. The most common items are mattresses, box springs, upholstered furniture, luggage, electronics, books, pictures and household goods. A sign you have bed bugs is finding (on your mattress, box spring, pillow, etc):

  • dark, reddish brown stains
  • black droppings
  • cast off skins from nymphs
  • live or dead bed bugs.

If there is a lot of bed bugs, a musty or sweet odour, like coriander, may be present.

How do I keep bed bugs from coming into my home?

The best way to deal with bed bugs is to avoid bringing them into your home.

  • Check all used goods closely for bed bugs and bed bug eggs.
  • When travelling, make a detailed inspection of your room, especially the mattress, box spring and headboard. Look for live bed bugs, bed bug eggs, and dark spotting or pepper like material.
  • Put your luggage on a luggage rack away from the bed, inside the bathtub or inside a plastic bag.

When you return home:

  • Vacuum your luggage and put the vacuum bag outside in a plastic trash bag.
  • Wash all your dirty clothes in hot water and dry using a hot dryer.
  • Put all your clean clothes from the trip in a hot dryer. A normal dryer load that is run for at least 15 to 20 minutes on medium to high heat should kill all stages of bed bugs.
  • Freezing may slow down bed bugs, but it is not effective in killing bed bug eggs.

Who is responsible for bed bug control?

  • If you own your own home, you are responsible for getting rid of bed bugs.
  • If you rent, the landlord must take care of an infestation of bed bugs. In order to get rid of bed bugs, the landlord and tenant must work together. The landlord will arrange for an exterminator and tell the tenant when the exterminator is coming and how to prepare the rental unit for extermination. It is very important that tenants follow the landlord's instructions on how to prepare their unit before and after the treatment. Tenants must allow the exterminator into their rental unit to complete the extermination.
  • Renters concerned about bed bugs can call 1-855-3MB-BUGS (1-855-362-2847) or email bedbugs@gov.mb.ca
  • The Pest Hotline will provide information over the phone about bed bug identification and what is needed to treat the infestation and prevent it from coming back.
  • If necessary, the Inspector will conduct a site visit (determined on a case by case basis).
  • The Inspector may contact landlords, building management and pest control professionals to ensure proper treatment is taking place.
  • In severe infestations, Public Health Inspectors may contact external agencies to help clients with special needs get the necessary assistance to properly clean, de-clutter and prepare the unit for treatment.
  • If it becomes necessary, the Public Health Inspector may issue a legal notice or Health Hazard Order under The Public Health Act to ensure clean-up and pest control treatment is completed.
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