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Healthy Environments

Bed Bugs - Homeowners and Tenants

Information for Tenants and Homeowners

It's Not Your Fault - bed bugs can spread very easily. Cleanliness is not a factor that prevents bed bugs from entering your home. Bed bugs can enter your home by "hitchhiking" (attaching) onto items such as clothing, bags, luggage, or second-hand items (i.e. furniture).

  • Try not to pick up any furniture or items placed out on the street and bring them into your home.
  • Carefully check second-hand items to ensure no bed bugs are present.

If you live in a house, apartment building, rooming house, or college dorm, bed bugs can easily travel from one area or room to the next. Bed bugs do not fly, they can crawl through cracks in floor boards or along plumbing and electrical wires.

  • Blood stains, spots, or streaks on your sheets from crushed bugs.
  • Rusty or tiny black spots on mattresses and mattress seams.
  • Egg shells or bug skins on your sheets or bed.
  • Bites on your skin (usually found around the neck, shoulder, and arms). Bed bugs bite you and take blood like a mosquito. If the bite looks infected, see your health care provider.
  • During an infestation you may notice a sweet "musty smell".
  • You see your pets scratching a lot.
  • Make sure the insects are bed bugs, as there are different ways to control different types of insects.
  • Sealing of cracks/crevices throughout a unit, apartment, or home can help prevent bed bugs from entering your home.
  • Just using pesticides will not kill all life stages of bed bugs. Bed bug prevention and control involves using pesticides, vacuuming, steaming, laundering belongings, and sealing areas and gaps where bed bugs can hide.
  • Contact a professional pest control service to treat any infested area(s) or room(s).
  • Once bed bugs are confirmed in your home or rental unit, affected areas or rooms must be prepared prior to receiving any treatment from a professional pest control company. This preparation is known as "pre-treatment" or unit preparation.
  • Ask for help with preparing your place for treatment by asking your family, friends, or support worker. Refer to the Bed Bug Pre-treatment Checklist for more information.
  • We recommend that tenants contact their landlord to work on a plan of action together.
  • Carefully look at your mattress and bed frame - especially underneath and in the folds. This is where bed bugs like to hide.
  • Vacuum all the areas of your mattress.
  • Place vacuum bags in double plastic bags, tie off and throw away directly into a garbage bin (located outside if possible). Seal your pillows and mattresses with a plastic or vinyl cover or bed bug encasement.
  • Wash all of your clothes, bedding, and towels in hot water and dry on high heat for at least 20 minutes.
  • Put all washed and dried clothes in clear plastic bags and tie off the bags. Keep your clothes in sealed bags until treatment is completed.
  • Remove clutter from your home and put waste items in tied off garbage bags in the garbage bin.
  • Apply petroleum jelly around each wooden leg of your bed and/or place each leg of the bed in a clean, polished metal can (e.g., old soup cans).
  • Metal or plastic bed frames make it harder for the bugs to climb since they are slippery.
  • You may continue to see live bugs for up to 10 days. Place glue boards or double-sided tape along door entry ways, around beds and other furniture to help monitor for any bed bugs.


  • Arrange for your landlord to caulk cracks and crevices between baseboards, floors, and walls; tighten light switches and outlet covers and seal any openings where wires or pipes enter the dwelling.
  • If you see bugs after three weeks, tell your landlord right away so professional pest control services can be arranged.


  • Caulk cracks and crevices between baseboards, floors, and walls; tighten light switches and outlet covers and seal any openings where wires or pipes enter the dwelling.
  • If bed bugs continue to be seen, contact a professional pest control service again.


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