VANCOUVER - Capital punishment will soon be dished out for some unwelcome visitors to Vancouver's provincial courthouse.

Parts of one of the busiest courthouses in the province have been invaded by bed bugs.

Kevin Jardine, assistant deputy minister of the court services branch, said their elimination would begin as early as Friday night.

"I believe they're going to get a summary trial and execution," he said.

The pests were found in three courtrooms, the barristers' lounge and some public areas.

Jardine said the provincial court was searched after the bugs were spotted in the downtown community court across the street.

"We're fairly confident that we found them all and we'll have it under control very quickly."

The cleaning regime will include heat and chemicals. Jardine said all the furniture had been removed from the lounge and some may have to be discarded.

"Now that we're alive to this as a potential issue, we'll be keeping a vigilant watch for them returning, as well as be giving some information sessions early next week for building users."

While the pests are unpleasant, they don't transmit disease, Jardine said.

Sessions to advise the court's users on how to prevent the spread of the bugs will start next week, he said.

Vancouver's provincial court is in the centre of the city's Downtown Eastside, where bed bug infestations in single-room occupancy hotels have been rampant for decades.

Jardine said the actions being taken to get rid of the bugs are the same as those recommended by provincial health authorities for other buildings in the neighbourhood.

Public health officials, nurses and other staff have been careful about bed bugs for a long time, he said.

"They take precautions all the time, every day, and go as far as having work clothes and home clothes and make sure they never mix."

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