Bed bugs

Use of pesticides in hotel rooms abroad

For the past few years, there has been an increase in bed bugs throughout the world and hotels are especially affected.
In some parts of the world, such as Asia, hazardous and illegal products are used to get rid of bed bugs. Phosphine-based pesticides and ozone generators have been used and can result in serious problems or even prove fatal. 

Recognizing bed bugs and their eggs

  • They are visible to the naked eye
  • They are the size of apple seeds, can measure up to 5mm
  • An adult bed bug is generally brown, or red if gorged with blood
  • Bed bugs leave small black spots on sheets, the mattress or box spring
  • Are nocturnal but become very active about 1 hour before dark
  • They move as quickly as ants
  • They do not jump or fly
  • Eggs are whitish in colour
  • They are the size of a pinhead
  • They are generally found in clusters

Inspecting the room

  • Carefully inspect the room before bringing in your luggage and/or pet
  • Leave your luggage on the luggage rack or on a hard surface like tiles in the bath room and avoid beds or any soft padded surface
  • Inspect the mattress seams and lift the mattress up in order to check the folds
  • Check behind the headboard, pillows, bedding, the bed skirt, the frame and the footboards
  • Check the furniture and walls, behind paintings, door and window frames, baseboard heaters, electrical outlets, carpets, curtains etc.
  • Check behind, posters, photos, mirrors and around mouldings, woodwork, skirting boards and window frames
  • Use a flashlight to check inside the closets
  • Finding dead bed bugs may be a sign that the room was treated. In addition, traces of white powder or tablets may indicate that hazardous products were used.

Watch out for the following symptoms

  • Headache
  • Slight irritations or itching, urticaria
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Tightness in chest
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Trouble breathing

*IMPORTANT* If you experience discomfort, it would be better to change rooms (far away from the infested one) or find another hotel.
In case of doubt, you can contact the Quebec Poison Control Centre at (418) 656-8090.

Source : Santé Canada (
Source : Portail santé (santé
Source : Guide d’intervention santé-voyage
Source : Travel Medicine
The information provided is for personal use, reference and education only and is not intended to be a substitute for a Physician’s advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare professional for specific information on personal health matters.