MONTREAL - It's a problem that is becoming more and more widespread, leaving the city of Montreal no choice but to implement a regional action plan in the fight against bed bugs on the island.

Infestations are still not quite as severe as they are in other North American cities like New York and Chicago, but one study shows that bed bugs have settled in 2.7 per cent of Montreal homes.

The city aims to limit the spread of the insects by monitoring the infestations with the help of the Direction de santé publique.

Bedbugs feed on people's blood while they sleep and are extremely difficult to get rid of.

They can cause serious skin problems, as well as sleep disturbances, stress, anxiety and social isolation.

In addition to a prevention campaign, the regional action plan will also focus on intervention tactics to help building owners and tenants who are infested with bedbugs.

Exterminators will be obligated to report the critters, and data bank will geographically track the infestations. the bank will also take special note of visits from city inspectors, pest control managers and the building owners.