Bed bugs (and other pests)
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small oval-shaped insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals to survive. In BC and across the world, they have become a serious problem. When moving into a new place look for signs by inspecting all furniture such as chairs, couches, dressers, mattresses and box springs. Check for cracks along baseboards and walls, and behind paintings and pictures. The best way to fight bed bugs is to prevent them from entering your home in the first place. Be especially careful with your luggage after traveling and when buying second-hand furniture. Dark spotting on your sheets, mattresses and/or other possessions could be an indicator that you have bed bugs.
Having bed bugs may not be reason enough to break your tenancy agreement and move out of your place. But, your landlord is generally responsible for insect control (see page 7 of RTB Policy Guideline #1) and if you find bed bugs you should ask your landlord to treat the problem immediately. Depending where you live, your City may also enforce pest control through a Standards of Maintenance Bylaw.
It’s important that you quickly notify your landlord when you have bedbugs and cooperate with any subsequent pest control instructions. If you refuse to cooperate you could face eviction. Do not attempt to treat a bed bug problem on your own.
TRAC recently reviewed nearly 50 RTB dispute resolution hearing decisions on bed bugs. Click here to view a brief summary of the research.
Bed Bug Symposium 2010
For more information on bed bugs see links below:
The Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association has a video on preparing for bed bug treatment. Although it has been created by an Ontario association, it contains comprehensive information that is still useful for British Columbians.
They also have a new Bed Bug Toolkit.
For information about the chemicals used to treat pests see the following reports by West Coast Environmental Law:
Do you have a different type of infestation?