Most of us will have said ‘Goodnight. Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite’ to someone at some point, chances are that we didn’t mean it literally. Unfortunately, bed bugs aren’t just an old wives’ tale or something that your parents invented to get you to change your bed sheets however.
Bed bugs really do exist and they’re not pleasant either. These insects live amongst cracks and crevices in and around beds and mattresses and they bite exposed skin so they can feed on our blood. It may sound like something horror films are made from but you can be rest assured, bed bugs aren’t dangerous. The most you will experience is a reaction to their bites and a damaged reputation if you run a hotel or other accommodation.
The good news is that if you do have a problem with bed bugs, there are ways of eliminating them.
How do I know if I have bed bugs?
There are a number of ways to check if you have bed bugs including:
- You can see them. Bed bugs are small and oval with brownish coloured, flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, their bodies swell and they will become a reddish colour. You might not notice them at a quick glance but if you conduct a thorough search, you should be able to spot them.
- You notice them in other places. Don’t be fooled into thinking that bed bugs only live in beds and mattresses. They can also be found on luggage, clothing, couches and headboards. Anywhere close to where people rest.
- You’re being bitten by something. Most bed bug bites are painless at first but later turn into itchy welts. They are most commonly found around the ankles or any other area of skin which is exposed while you sleep.
- You notice blood stains on your sheets, covers or pillowcases. Small dark blood spots on bedding known as ‘faecal pellets’.
- Bed bugs tend to gather and hide in large groups so you may notice patches of fecal matter, egg cases or shed skins around rooms where you frequently rest.
- There’s a strange smell. An established Bed bug infestation can produce an offensive, sickly and musty odour so if there’s a strange, unexplained smell in the property, it could be this.
How to get rid of bed bugs
Bed bugs can enter premises in a number of ways. They may be on your luggage if you’ve been on holiday, they can transfer onto clothing or you might bring them in if you’ve recently purchased used furniture. Because these insects live solely on blood, they are not a sign of dirtiness and even the cleanest of homes and hotel rooms can suffer an infection. Take a look at our pdf leaflet a practical guide on how to recognise a bed bug infestation.
If you do have an infestation, you will need to carry out a thorough clean. Bedding, linen, curtains, stuffed toys, and clothing should all be cleaned in the washing machine and then dried on the highest setting. Use a stiff brush to scrub the mattress and vacuum your bed and the surrounding area. Don’t forget to remove the vacuum cleaner bag and throw it away outside straight away.
Repair any cracks in plaster and glue down peeling wallpaper to make it harder for bed bugs to hide. Also remove any clutter around your bed because this can act as a fantastic breeding ground for them.
If you’re premises is prone to infestations or want to find out if you have one, Rentokil Bedbug Monitors effectively pick up on any bed bug activity. The sticky pad uses chemicals to attract the insects, which means that you can detect any problems immediately and quickly arrange professional treatment to prevent bed bug outbreaks from spreading.