Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs - The Facts

Bedbugs (cimex lectularius)

Bedbugs are increasingly becoming a problem within residences of all kinds including houses, flats, hotels, and other places where humans live and work.

What are bedbugs?

Bedbugs are small wingless insects that feed exclusively on the blood of warm-blooded creatures. Certain types of bedbugs can inhabit birds’ nests and bat roosts. Others have adapted to living in the homes of humans.

Newly hatched bedbugs are very small, about the size of a pinhead. Adults are approximately 6mm in length. When you view a bedbug from above, it is oval in shape. When viewed from the side, they are flat from top to bottom. They can vary in colour from almost white if no feeding has taken place, after feeding they can appear deep brown to dark red in colour. Bedbugs will take shelter in dark cracks and crevices around the area where they are feeding, e.g. in the seams of mattresses, around head boards, behind skirting boards, in fact almost any gap they can squeeze into will become a harbourage for them.

Bedbugs seek out animals and humans at night to feed upon. They inject a small amount of saliva into the skin whilst feeding; this contains an anaesthetic to numb the skin and an anticoagulant to allow the blood to flow freely. The marks left by bedbug bites can resemble the bites of many other types of blood feeding insects therefore it is not reliable way of identifying a bedbug bite. One of the easiest ways of detecting whether you are being bitten by bedbugs is to check your bed sheets for tiny spots of blood; this is often a sign that you are being bitten by bedbugs whilst you are asleep.

If in doubt, have your premises inspected by a trained pest control technician, he will determine whether you have bedbugs or not. If you are experiencing bites during the daytime, it is very unlikely to be bedbugs as they are normally active at night. Being bitten during the day will almost certainly be another type of biting insect of which there are many, including fleas.

How do bedbugs invade a home?

Because bedbugs can fit into tiny cracks and crevices, it is easy for them to hide in luggage, furniture, clothing and other such objects when these are moved from place to place. Second hand furniture particularly bed frames and mattresses are of greatest risk of harbouring bedbugs and their eggs. Always inspect these very carefully before taking them into your home.

Treatment for bedbugs. When bedbugs occur, they can start in one bedroom in a house, it is common to find this with bedbugs. When carrying out treatment, the bedbugs will immediately start to evacuate the area that is being treated, and can move quite easily from room to room it is therefore imperative that all bedrooms in the property are treated on the same day. If only the affected room is treated, you will find that the bedbugs will spread to other rooms. Treatment for bedbugs must be carried out by a properly trained pest control technician to ensure that the treatment will be successful.

On completion of the treatment programme, you may be advised to dispose of any beds or mattresses that are heavily infested. This should be done as instructed. If you do not dispose of such items then you are taking the risk of the infestation recurring.

There are no shortcuts with treatment for bedbugs. They are notoriously difficult to eradicate if the treatment is not carried out properly by a professional person. Very often infestations will persist where the proper treatment and recommendations have not been carried out. Always consult a professional company to deal with bedbugs.

Do bedbugs carry or transmit any diseases?

As far as we are aware, there are no known cases of bedbugs spreading any kinds of diseases between humans. There are a number of diseases that bedbugs carry but thankfully they do not pass them onto us.

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