WRN help links

Bed Bug Info

Bedbugs (Bedbug Hotline: 1-855-3MB-BUGS)

The new bedbug inquiry number is 1-855-3MB-BUGS (1-855-362-2847). The public can call with questions about bed bug prevention, how to identify an infestation, and what steps to take when a bedbug infestation occurs.

The hotline is staffed by trained operators during regular business hours, Monday through Friday.  Outside of these hours, callers can leave a message, and the call will be returned the next business day.  There is also an email address (bedbugs@gov.mb.ca) that the public can use.

There is also a bed bug website: www.manitoba.ca/bedbugs.  It provides a wide variety of information about bed bugs, including myths and facts about bed bugs, and fact sheets on how to prevent bed bugs from entering your home and what to do if you have an infestation.

Manitoba Green Retrofit operates the Bug N Scrub service in partnership with the Government of Manitoba.  For vulnerable persons who need help due to limitations that prevent them from preparing their home, the Bug N Scrub program provides a variety of preparation services such as moving furniture, general cleaning, laundry service, and reducing and removing clutte.  The Bug N Scrub team also returns to the home or apartment after treatment is complete to put things back in order. 

Vulnerable persons that need service must be referred by qualified organizations or individuals that have first- hand knowledge of the needs of the applicant.  Referrals are made by completing an assessment form.

For more detailed information on bedbugs, go to bedbugger.com or to bedbugcentral.com.  The BedbugCentral also has a video site with many helpful videos.  There is a "bedbug registry" at bedbugregistry.com that covers North America, however these reports are not verified nor updated.

For further info go to Residential Tenancy Branch or the City of Winnipeg. Health Canada also has booklets on other pests.

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are bugs that feed mostly on human blood. Adult bed bugs are brown, oval and wingless. They are about 1/4 inch (6.0 mm) long with short, wide heads and wide, flat bodies.

How do I know I have bed bugs in my home?

There are a number of possible bed bug indicators.

  • Unexplained skin irritation. Bed bug bites are painless. However, their saliva may cause an allergic reaction, and severe itching and red swollen welts may occur. The size of these welts will vary, depending on a person's sensitivity to the bites. Welts often appear in groups of two to three, and are usually close together.
  • Dark red spots or brown sugar-like matter on bed sheets and clothing. Dark spots found on sheets may be digested blood stains from bed bug feeding, or fecal matter.
  • Dried remains of skin (exoskeletons). Bed bug nymphs will shed their skins, also called exoskeletons, after each feeding. These small, dark skins will vary in size and may be less than 1/64 inch (roughly 1/2 mm) to about 3/16 inch (4.5 mm).
How do bed bugs get into homes?

Bed bugs can infest luggage and furniture items, such as carpets, couches, beds, lamps and tables. If these infested items are brought into a home, the bed bugs may spread. Bed bugs can move around a home through cracks in walls, pipes, wiring, windows and gutters.

Bed bugs may be found more often in locations that have a high rate of occupant turnover.

Where do bed bugs hide?

Bed bugs hide in dark, protected places. They prefer fabric, wood and paper surfaces, close to where humans sleep. Bed bugs can hide behind baseboards, under loose carpets and rugs, in the seams and folds of couches, mattresses, box springs and bed frames, and in the cracks and creases of furniture items and luggage.

Why are bed bugs difficult to control?

There are several reasons why bed bugs are difficult to control:

  • They are often difficult to see in small numbers.
  • They readily detect and avoid many chemical products, and can be resistant to insecticides.
  • They are very easily re-introduced to household items, where they spread. There are few products available to control bed bugs and no known attractants.
  • Infestations do not indicate poor hygiene or bad housekeeping.
How do I prevent bed bugs?

Follow these tips to prevent a bed bug infestation.

Inspect second-hand furniture and clothing before buying. Before you bring used items into your home (including rental furniture), carefully inspect the items to ensure they are not infested with bed bugs. Look for eggs, nymphs and adults that may be hiding in cracks, creases, folds, seams, tears and loose areas. Also look for the signs of dark red spots or brown sugar-like matter.

Vacuum suitcases. Vacuum suitcases after returning home from a trip, or when buying used luggage. Immediately after vacuuming, the vacuum bag should be removed and disposed of outside your home.

Maintain your home. Keep general maintenance of your home, and regularly wash all bedding and clothing.

Keep your home clean and clutter-free. Do not keep piles of clothes, boxes, toys, shoes and other items on floors, under beds or in closets. These are ideal places for bed bugs to hide.

Inspect your bed regularly. Inspect bed frames, mattresses and box springs. Watch for dark red spots or brown sugar-like matter on sheets or on mattress/box spring edges and seams. Purchase a bed bug resistant mattress cover, and treat the mattress with a bed bug product.

Inspect your furniture regularly. Check dressers and look in crevices. Look under televisions, stereos, tables and other equipment. Search behind pictures and even in stacks.