Don't let the bed bugs bite!

Bed bugs are small insects that usually hide during the day and come out at night to bite human hosts. Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed and, because they hide in small spaces like cracks or crevices, are often very hard to find. As a result, you may have signs of a bed bug problem — bites around your face, neck, upper body, arms and hands that you notice after waking up from a night's sleep — without having seen a bed bug for weeks. Bed bugs can be a nuisance, but it is important to know that they do not spread disease, nor do they fly or jump.

Common ways of contracting bed bugs include:

- Staying overnight in bed bug infested accommodations like hotels and shelters
- Buying or using infested second-hand furniture
- Picking up infested discarded items, such as items that someone has put to the curb for garbage pick-up
- Living in a multi-unit housing complex that has a bed bug infestation
- It is important to take precautions when you are travelling for picking up discarded or used furniture.

Tips to Prevent Bed Bugs While Travelling

When travelling, inspect your hotel room for evidence of bed bugs before settling in. Look for live or dead bed bugs, eggs, small black spots (feces), or bed bug skins.

- Pull back all bedding at the head of the bed, near the head board, to look for evidence of bed bugs
- Check the underside of the mattress tag
- Check the seams of the mattress and the box spring
- Examine the back of the head board
- Never place luggage on the bed
- Examine the luggage stand and place your bag on the stand away from the wall
- Do not place your belongings in drawers
- Use a flashlight to inspect the closet for evidence of bed bugs before hanging your clothes
- Place your shoes in an open area, not under the bed or in the closet
- If bed bug evidence is found, report to management and ask for another room

When you return home:

- Inspect luggage and contents before bringing it into your home
- Upon returning to your home, immediately unpack luggage in a location other than the bed room (e.g. bathroom, garage, mud room or foyer)
- Launder all clothing with hot water and dry on high heat for at least 30 minutes
- A soft bag (e.g. duffel style bag) is an alternative to a hard sided suitcase as it can be placed in the dryer when you get home

If you think you may have come into contact with bed bugs during your travels, it is very important to watch and check for signs of bed bugs. Look for signs of bed bugs in the following areas:

- Bed frames, head board, mattresses, and box springs
- Chairs and couches
- Under area rugs and along the edges of carpets
- Behind baseboards
- How to address a bed bug infestation:

The best way to deal with a bed bug problem is through an integrated pest management approach, which may include: vacuuming, reducing clutter, steamc leaning, sealing cracks and crevices, washing and drying clothes at high temperatures, and the use of a trustworthy professional pest control company.

For more information, call the Ottawa Public Health Information Line at 613-580-6744 (TTY : 613-580-9656) or email us at for more information.

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