Information update

Bedbugs: Don't bring them back from your vacation

Starting date:
March 5, 2019
Type of communication:
Information Update
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Important Safety Information
General Public
Identification number:

OTTAWA – Do you know how to check for signs of bedbugs when you travel? Bedbugs bite people while they sleep and feed on their blood. Their bites can cause minor skin reactions and, in rare cases, severe allergic reactions. Here’s how to spot bedbugs and avoid bringing them home in or on your luggage, clothing and other personal items.

What you should do

When you arrive, check your room before you unpack. If you find signs of bedbugs , tell the front desk or rental company and ask for a new place to stay, or stay somewhere else. Make sure that you check the new room for bedbugs as well.

How to spot bedbugs

Bedbugs are reddish-brown and have small, flat, oval shaped bodies that look similar to an apple seed. Look for live or dead bedbugs, black or brown spots (dried blood or feces) or tiny white spots (eggs).

Bedbugs can hide in tight places and are most commonly found in cracks and crevices near sleeping areas, like headboards, box springs, seams of mattresses and upholstered furniture, and night tables. They can also be found under wallpaper, behind picture frames and in electrical outlets.

How to avoid bringing them home when you travel

  • When you first enter a room, put your luggage in the bathtub or in the middle of a tiled floor. DO NOT put your luggage on the bed, furniture or carpeted surfaces.
  • Check the entire room for bedbugs. Pay special attention to cracks and crevices. Use a flashlight and a stiff, flat-edged object (like a credit card) to reach into cracks and crevices. 
  • Bedbugs can be found on luggage stands, so use only ones that are made of metal, not wooden luggage stands. Thoroughly check the luggage stand before using it. Do not unpack your belongings and place them in drawers. Keep the luggage closed when not in use and make sure the stand is kept away from all surfaces.
  • Check the sleeping areas. Slowly move the sheets around the edge of the bed and look in the seams of the mattress and box spring. Look behind the headboard and the wall behind the bed. Check the pillows, bed coverings, bed skirt, bed frame and legs.
  • Check the cracks and crevices found in the rest of the room such as in the walls, furniture, baseboards, closets, mirrors, paintings, rugs, cushions and curtains.
  • Take a close look at electrical outlets, light switches, phones, AC and heating units, and clocks.
  • During your stay, keep your shoes and other objects away from the walls and furniture. Keep them in the tiled area, if possible.
  • Use sealable plastic bags or encasements designed to keep bedbugs out of your luggage and other personal belongings.
  • Do not store anything under the bed.
  • Do a final check of your personal items before you leave the room for signs of bedbugs in or on your items.

What to do when you get home

Bedbugs are good hitchhikers and can easily hide, so it is important that you carefully check all your luggage and belongings. Wash and dry clothes on the hottest temperature the fabric can safely withstand. Washing alone will not kill all of the bedbugs. If you do not need to wash your clothes, put items in the dryer for 30 minutes on high heat to kill all bedbugs. Store your suitcase in a location away from your bedroom, such as in the garage.


Select thumbnail to enlarge - opens in a new window