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Bedbugs Are A Montrealer's Worst Nightmare — Here's What To Do If You Get Them

The safety of one's bed should never be compromised by gross bugs.

Staff Writer
An exterminator working on some baseboards. Right: An unmade bed.

An exterminator working on some baseboards. Right: An unmade bed.

You wake up drenched in sweat, sheets tangled, in the middle of the night. It's cold, but the only sensation you're paying attention to is an unspeakable itchiness. You look down, and your legs are covered in small, raised bumps. This is it — you have bedbugs.

They're possibly the most annoying household pest to eradicate, and Health Canada recommends that afflicted persons call a licensed exterminator who can perform special heat treatments. This just isn't a fight you can win without backup.

But while you wait for them to come save you, there must be something you can do on your own, and gaining knowledge means gaining power — which you'll sorely need in the bedbug battles to come.

What do bedbugs look like?

These little specks of evil are small and wingless brown bugs, which turn blood red after they bite you (and your pets), according to Health Canada. Their eggs are nearly invisible to the naked eye, so it's better to check for mature adults.

How do you check for bedbugs?

Health Canada has an extensive guide for performing a thorough bed bug check, but here's the TL;DR. You'll need to examine your bed (obviously) and other furniture using a flashlight and something flat to scrape seams. You're looking for black or brown spots — which could be feces or dried blood — and bedbugs themselves. Be thorough and check under cushions and pillowcases. Bedbugs like corners and folds, so it's important to be meticulous, per Health Canada.

How do you get rid of bedbugs?

After you've talked to your landlord and/or called the exterminator, you can do four things: steam, freeze, wash and vacuum. Bedbugs die at 50 degrees C, according to Health Canada, and your average steamer will easily reach temperatures above boiling, so it's a good strategy for those larger items that are harder to wash. Putting smaller items in a freezer below minus 19 degrees for more than four days will kill some — but not all — bedbugs.

Washing and drying everything you can on the hottest settings is the best way to get rid of bedbugs, followed by consistent and thorough vacuuming. If all this isn't possible for anything in your home, you may be forced to throw it away.

How do you prevent bedbugs in the first place?

You may notice that the "how to get rid of bedbugs" section is short and perhaps upsetting if you were hoping for an easy fix. This is why prevention is so important: these little sh*ts are STUBBORN.

Besides regularly checking your home, Health Canada recommends that you reduce the number of places where bedbugs like to hide by:

  • Reducing clutter
  • Vacuuming often
  • Repairing peeling wallpaper and loose electrical faceplates (yes, they hide there too)
  • Sealing cracks and crevices throughout your home
  • Checking entry points on walls you share with your neighbours
It's also good to be cautious about bringing potentially infested products into your house, especially used or secondhand items that could be carriers of the pest.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

    Willa Holt
    Staff Writer
    Willa Holt is a Staff Writer for MTL Blog focused on apartments for rent and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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