One of the most irritating bugs to raid your home or your commercial property and is definitely a huge burden on the people. You can pick up bed bugs almost anywhere — offices, stores, hotels and gyms for starters. They’re great at hiding and have been known to hitchhike in luggage, personal belongings or even you.The number of bed bug infestations across the world have risen drastically in the last few decades. Bed bugs bite to feed on blood, often producing an itchy bump on the skin.
Bed bugs are small, crawling parasitic insects, which feed on warm blooded animals. Cimexlectularius is the bed bug, which feeds on blood from humans, giving us painful bites. Adults are circa 5mm long. Before feeding bed bugs are a flattened oval shape and light brown, but become rounder and darker after feeding – as they fill up on blood.Bed bugs come out at night, attracted by the warmth of our bodies and the carbon dioxide in our breath. Which is why they are often found in places where people tend to sleep or rest, hence their name. They can also be found hiding in cracks and crevices during the day.
Bed bugs multiply quickly, and in just six months, a few can turn into a full-on infestation of 13,000 or more. Detection is critical to break the bed bug life cycle before they become a bigger problem.
These environments are considered the main sources for sheltering and spreading bed bugs:
- Hospitality – hotels, guest houses, hostels
- Transportation – airlines, railways, coaches
- Public institutions – healthcare, universities, prisons
Sign of Bed bugs
It’s difficult to confirm the presence of bed bugs just by looking at the bites, one receives.Look for these clues to their presence:
- Dark/black stains – on the mattress and surrounding area from bed bug excreta.
- Sweet scent – An unpleasant, sweet, sickly scent.
- Small dark spots – Small dark blood spots on bedding known as ‘faecal spotting’.
- Live insects – despite being small (adult are only 4-5mm long) it’s possible to spot live bed bugs and shed skins.
Bed bugs can be difficult and costly to control. It’s important to act as soon as you have noticed evidence of activity.
Locating Bed Bugs
Although your bed is the first place to check, bed bugs can also hide in furniture and furnishings including:
- bed frames and headboard crevices
- mattress seams
- carpets and underlay
- skirting boards
- between timber floorboards
- in cracked or broken plaster, behind peeling wallpaper
- inside electrical sockets and fittings
- drawers and cupboards
- bedside cabinets
Bed bugs are usually found in bedrooms and sleeping areas because they need easy access to a bloodmeal at night. They are also attracted to bodyheat and carbon dioxide from our breath.
How Do Bed bugs spread?
They’re usually carried into a home or business on clothing, or in luggage or furniture. Given their size, bed bugs are well adapted to travel.
- Second hand / Vintage furniture
Second hand furniture can also harbour bed bugs. Carefully inspect for signs of infestation before taking items home, especially cracks and crevices. Rentokil can treat items before you bring them into your home.
- Staying away in an overnight accommodation
Spending a night in a hotel with an infestation is the most common way of spreading bed bugs.Check for blood spotting on bed linen and other common signs in your hotel room when you arrive.Inform hotel management if you have suspicions.
It may be necessary to launder, fumigate or treat belongings before returning home to ensure they are free from bed bugs.
- Visiting friends and neighbours
If your home has bed bugs, don’t risk spreading them by taking clothes, suitcases or furniture to hotels or people’s homes.
Established bed bug infestations can migrate to adjoining properties by crawling through wall or floor cavities. If you live in a flat, apartment or terraced house, inform your neighbours and other tenants to take action quickly.