City officials have seen a 1,000 per cent increase in calls about bed bugs in the last eight months.

Last year, the City of Toronto received about 144 calls about bed bugs. This year, the city has fielded nearly 1,500 complaints so far.

On Monday, the Toronto Board of Health recommended the city budget $75,000 in an emergency fund to help residents who have been affected by the blood-sucking critters.

The health industry has been struggling with bed bug infestations ever since the province outlawed the powerful pesticide typically used to kill them off.

City Coun. Paula Fletcher said the issue can be traumatizing for residents.

"Bed bugs are on the rise in the city and in a great way for many, it's becoming an emergency," she told CTV Toronto.

"If you're rich or poor, they will bite you," Fletcher said. "People who are well off have the ability to (help) poor or low-income people who have had a hard time putting together resources to treat (bed bugs)."

Getting rid of bed bugs is a cumbersome task, mostly because the critters hide in bed folds, wall cracks and dark sockets. Bed bugs also latch on to items easily and therefore are easily transported to unaffected areas.

Health officials recommend steaming the affected room, dry cleaning the resident's entire wardrobe and wrapping up a mattress in a bed cover. Seniors and residents who are physically or mentally challenged have the hardest time getting rid of bed bugs.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Naomi Parness