Bed bug infestation closes government offices at Complexe Guy-Favreau
This 2008 file photo provided by Virginia Tech Department of Entomology shows mother and child bed bugs. (Virginia Tech Department of Entomology / Tim McCoy / The Canadian Press)
MONTREAL -- A bed bug infestation has partially closed government offices at Complexe Guy-Favreau in downtown Montreal.
As a result, all hearings at the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), located in the East Tower on René-Lévesque Boulevard, were canceled Thursday.
“If you were scheduled to appear at a hearing, you will be contacted with a new date,” the board wrote on its website.
A firm was hired to clean the premises, but it could be several days before the bureaus are reopened.
Office workers were advised to make alternative work arrangements.
According to Public Services and Procurement Canada spokesperson Marc-Andre Charbonneau, the bed bugs were initially discovered on Oct. 17 by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, which found the insects on the building's third and tenth floors. Charbonneau said the board had "initiated procedures to decontaminate all of its officers as a preventive measure."
"We have also mandated BGIS, the building manager, to have a specialized firm conduct a general audit of the other federal offices in the complex," he added. "BGIS also informed the tenants in the mall of the situation so they could carry out the required procedures at their respective premises. A list of specialized firms will be provided to help them through the process."
The Guy-Favreau Complex also houses Service Canada and Passport Canada.
This isn’t the first time a bed bug infestation has forced the closure of a federal building in the province.
Ten days ago, the Gatineau offices of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada were also shut down.
How to recognize a bed bug infestation
If you think you may have a bed bug infestation, look for the telltale signs, such as bites on parts of the body not covered when sleeping.
There will also be small black spots on your sheets, mattresses and bedsprings. You may be able to see remnants of both living and dead bed bugs.
Bed bugs are visible to the naked eye and are often red or brown in colour. They are most active at night to avoid light.
They are oval in shape, about the size of a flattened apple seed, and move at about the same pace as an ant.
Bed bug eggs are whitish in colour and the size of a pinhead. They are often found clustered in small, tight spaces. The eggs hatch about 10 to 14 days after being laid.
To find out more about bed bugs, and what to do if you suspect an infestation, click here.