Bed bugs: The itchy pests Montrealers can't shake off

Bed bugs are still pestering Montrealers, despite a two-year-old city action plan meant to fight them from spreading.

Extermination businesses report increase in calls, despite city awareness campaign

If you have a bed bug problem, notify your landlord and take precautions to prevent spreading the pests to your neighbours. (Associated Press)

Bed bugs are still pestering Montrealers, despite a two-year-old city action plan meant to fight their spread.

Don Prashker, general manager of Thermapro Solutions, says business has been booming for his exterminating service.

He says the bugs are all over the city.

"The Plateau, Côte-des-Neiges, Park Extension, the McGill Ghetto, young students where the universities are and the residences are, we've had calls from Senneville to Pointe-Aux-Trembles."

Bed Bugs FAQs

  • Bed bugs can travel to your apartment from a nearby unit, or by "hitchhiking" — attaching themselves to people and objects.

  • Signs you have a problem: A row of itchy bites on your skin, similar to mosquito bites, when you wake up in the morning.

  • Reproduction: A female can lay 5 eggs per day.

  • Troubleshooting: If you think you have bed bugs, notify your landlord. Exterminating services can be hired to get rid of the pests through chemical or heat treatments.

Source: Thermapro Solutions

Earlier this year, city and public health officials reported a decline in bed bug problems, which were found in 2.2 per cent of Montreal households, down from from 2.8 per cent in 2011.

They credited a large-scale awareness campaign for helping Montrealers stomp out the annoying insect.

But the Quebec Landlord Association says it has seen an increase, and the problem is not limited to the Island of Montreal.

"We're seeing an increase of calls that we have about 20 percent in Montreal and all over Quebec," says association president Martin Messier.

"Those bugs travel really fast."

Messier says it’s important for tenants to communicate with their landlords to prevent the pests from spreading.

"We'd like to get an early warning. As soon as you see the bed bugs call us," he says.