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Bedbugs are becoming an increasing concern; back in 2010, scientists were predicting that these pesky insects that enjoy the heat of our beds and the small nooks and crannies to breed, would make a comeback – and they are not wrong. Bedbugs in ‘developed’ countries such as the UK and the US are considered to be at pandemic proportions.
But knowing what they are and how to avoid encouraging them to stay are two ways of defeating the bedbug problem…
There are two types of bedbug – the martin bug, usually found in birds’ nests but can bite humans but the common bedbug is the one that infests our homes.
Incredibly small, around 5mm in length, the common bedbug is an oval insect that are wingless, and red/brown in colours; they are also flat but become rounded as they eat, and change colour with the blood that they consume, becoming a deeper red/purple.
Not just in your bed…
Their favourite place to live and breed as they have a nightly food source is our beds – in the mattress, the frame etc. – but they can also live in the unlikeliest nooks and crannies, from plug sockets to picture frames. They are not a static bug either, moving from room to room, hitching a lift on clothing, bags, shoes, pets, anything in fact. They prefer a clean environment but can be eliminated with a deep clean in the very early stages but, you are unlikely to know you have a problem until their numbers are significant.
Nocturnal creatures, they are attracted by the warmth of our bodies at night, and the carbon dioxide in our breath. With adults living for as long as 18 months, the female can lay up to 300 eggs in her life time. Coupled with a short incubation period of 10 to 20 days, eggs become adults quickly, making the likelihood of an infestation high.
International travel, along with a resistance to some insecticides are two factors that scientists believe have contributed to the increase in bedbug infestations.
Do you have bedbugs?
Unlike other pest control issue, bedbugs do not need a species identification to make treatment effective but is helps to know if it is bedbugs causing you problems. Look for:
- Spots on blood on your bedding
- Brown spots on bedding, which are not blood, indicate they are bedbug faeces
- Some people notice a sweet almond smell too
The severity of an infestation can differ, from light (1 or 2 bites per week) to a heavy infestation, in which customers can be bitten up to 50 times a night.
More than anything, bedbugs are a nuisance. Unlike other pests that can invade our homes, but they do not carry disease. However, for some people, being bitten is an uncomfortable experience, with some ‘reacting’ to bites, exhibiting an itchy rash around the bite area. Constant scratching can also cause these bites to be infected, requiring the use of anti-biotic in the worst case scenario. Another giveaway that bedbugs are apparent is the fact they tend to bite in straight lights, unlike fleas which have a random bite pattern.
Getting rid of bedbugs
Like many infestations, the answer lay in an effective combination of chemical treatment AND deep cleaning.
- Wash all your bedding at 60° with suggestions that tumble drying the bedding on the highest temperature possible is an effective way of killing bugs and eggs
- Freezing bedding and other material that cannot be washed or dried at high temperatures is also a way of killing adults and eggs
BUT, you must also clean and treat the entire home and this means vacuuming everything, from the carpets to the smallest spaces imaginable!
Over-the-counter vs. professional help
You can by over-the-counter insecticides but frequently, these are not to the same ‘strength’ as the products used by pest controllers, who have the correct training in storing, transporting and using these chemicals safely around your home or business. We also guarantee our work, hence you are guaranteed to be free from these blood sucking insects!
Bedbugs are resilient insects that can easily move from property to property; in fact, the spread of bedbugs has also been linked to the increase in travelling that we all know seem to do all over the globe. Hitching a lift on bags and in cargo holds of planes is something they do, so don’t just assume that you cannot get bedbugs because your house is clean!
Pest controllers can quickly and efficiently help you become bedbug free so you can sleep well at night again – without uninvited guests.