Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite. We say this time and time again, without real consideration of bed bugs. But what are bed bugs, and do they actually bite? Are they dangerous? When do you call a bed bug exterminator? And, if you are living in a rental home, who is responsible for bed bug treatment?

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are flat, wingless, parasitic insects with a rustic reddish-brown colour. They are about the size of an apple seed and as thin as a credit card before feeding. Bed bugs feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals and swell up similar to a tick after they have had their fill of blood. They most often take refuge in beds and box springs and feed on people while they sleep, which is why they are called bed bugs.

Though the idea of bed bugs is cringing and an infestation is a nuisance, bed bugs do not transmit disease.

How do bed bugs get into your home?

Bed bugs are great hitchhikers and can be transported easily. They can:

  • Hitch a ride in your luggage, clothing and even on your skin while travelling or staying in places with a high guest turnover, such as hotels.
  • Transfer to your clothing in communal laundry facilities.
  • Be transported in used furniture, clothing or in moving trucks.
  • Transfer to your furniture or home from guests.

Bed bug bites tend to be painless and can leave no marks or just a small welt on the skin, typically mistaken for a mosquito bite. Some people may exhibit allergic reactions and experience rashes or itching at the site of their bite.

How do you determine if you have a bed bug infestation?

If you often wake up with itchy, red spots or a line of bites on your skin, you may have bed bugs. Bloodstains on your bedding, shed bed bug skins, tiny white eggs, and empty egg casings are other signs of an infestation. Bed bugs may also cause a musty smell, and their excrement can leave dark spots on sheets, mattresses, clothing and walls.

Bed bugs are not easy to get rid of, and improper treatment can make them harder to kill. Therefore, as soon as an infestation is confirmed, you will need to contact a licenced pest exterminator.

Who foots the bill?

The British Columbia Residential Tenancy Policy Guidelines regulate that the landlord is responsible for ensuring rental units and properties meet health and housing standards. This includes responsibility for pest control unless the landlord can prove that the infestation is a result of the tenant’s actions.

If the property has a history of pest infestation, for example, due to its location, the landlord is responsible for conducting regular pest control checks and treatment. This should be detailed in your lease agreement and should cover the terms under which a tenant or a landlord can be held responsible.

Even though the landlord is responsible for general pest control of the property, the tenant will need to cooperate with the landlord to treat the infestation and prevent a recurrence. If the infestation is successfully eradicated and returns, then the onus may fall on the tenant to pay for extermination. Preventing an infestation will save a lot of hassle and costs that could be borne by the tenant in the future.

Tenants are expected to:

  • Keep the home clean and clutter-free.
  • Regularly and properly dispose of trash.
  • Wash and dry second-hand clothing or clothing from travelling on a hot setting.
  • Report infestations to their landlord as soon as possible.

Who should you call for bed bug extermination?

Preventing and eradicating an infestation is a cooperative effort between the landlord, tenant, and pest control exterminator.

If you suspect you need bed bug treatment in your rental home, Pest Detective offers a 24-hour call line for a prompt response. We provide home inspections and offer environmentally friendly pest control solutions to eradicate pests.

Visit our website or call today to request a free pest control consultation and quote.