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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are small biting insects that multiply quickly. Bed bugs range in size from approximately 1.5 mm to 10 mm long. They are tiny, oval-shaped insects that do not have wings, and may have an appearance similar to an apple seed. Bed bugs typically bite at night, and often bite around a person’s face, neck, upper torso, arms, and hands. View the fact sheet below or this web page for more information on bed bugs.


Should I be concerned about bed bugs?

At this time, there have been no known cases of bed bugs spreading disease to humans. Although bed bugs do not affect physical health, having bed bugs can be a source of stress and impact mental health and wellness.

How do I know if I have bed bugs?

Bed bugs feed on human blood, and usually bite the face, neck, body, or arms. Although bed bugs are not known to transmit any disease, they may leave small red bite marks, often lasting 3-4 days. Bed bugs can typically be found in the following areas:

  • In the corners and seams of mattresses or box-springs.
  • In the cracks/joints of wooden headboards and bedframes.
  • On bed sheets or pillows, most commonly along the seams.
  • In clothing storage, dressers, or other furniture.
  • Behind picture frames.

How do I protect myself and my family from bed bugs?

Take the following steps:

  • Clean areas where bed bugs hide.
  • Avoid picking up used furniture. If picked up, ensure that furniture is thoroughly cleaned and inspected before bringing it home.
  • Keep clean clothing in nylon bags, away from the walls if possible.
  • In a hotel or when visiting, ensure that furniture and bedding do not have bugs, feces or blood marks.

© Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2011


Bed Bug Sizes

A picture of five bed bugs lined up from smallest to biggest showing the range of sizes bed bugs.


A picture of bed bugs on a mattress.

© Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2011


How do I get rid of bed bugs?

Take the following steps:

  • Vacuum carpets, rugs, bed and box-spring seams, baseboards, etc. Empty the cartridge or vacuum bag and throw it out in a garbage bag outside.
  • Wash all clothes, bedsheets, pillows, etc. in the washing machine and dry on high heat twice.
  • Cover mattress with a nylon bed cover.
  • Get rid of furniture which is not needed if it has been infested. Contact your local municipal office for information on proper disposal of furniture.
  • Contact a professional pest control company for proper treatment.

How can I report a bed bug infestation?

Take the following steps:

  • Notify the landlord both verbally and in writing of the problem.
  • Allow two weeks for the landlord to respond to the infestation.
  • Following refusal by the landlord or failure to respond within 2 weeks, contact the Middlesex-London Health Unit. A Public Health Inspector will follow-up with the tenant and landlord to help.
  • If in a hotel, notify the hotel staff and contact the Health Unit. A Public Health Inspector will follow-up with the hotel in a timely manner.

How can the Middlesex-London Health Unit help with bed bug infestations in rental units?

The Middlesex-London Health Unit works with the City of London to follow up bed bug infestations in rental units. The City of London Property Standards By-law CP-16 (PDF 191KB) says that all buildings must be kept free from pests,1 and this is supported through by-law enforcement. However, the Health Unit can play an important role in the first stages of a bed bug infestation by providing education and awareness to the people involved. In Middlesex County, residents should contact their municipal office to inquire about local by-laws.

Additional Information



Contact Us

To speak to a Public Health Inspector on the Environmental Health Team about bed bugs, to request information in other languages, or to ask for help with a bed bug infestation, please call:

  • 519-663-5317
Date of creation: January 4, 2013
Last modified on: December 21, 2021




1City of London. (2010, June 28). Property standards by-law CP-16. Retrieved from
2Government of Ontario. (2011, March). Bed bugs fact sheet. Toronto, ON: Queen’s Printer for Ontario.
3Government of Ontario. (2011, March). Myths. Toronto, ON: Queen’s Printer for Ontario.