bed bug infestation

Bed Bugs

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Bed Bugs

Bed bugs have existed for thousands of years and have honed their hitchhiking and hiding skills to perfection. They will have been unknowingly picked up from an existing infestation - attaching themselves to your clothing, bags, backpacks, luggage, hiding inside fabrics, furnishings, and cracks and crevices in used furniture. 

The most common species of bed bug in the U.K is Cimex lectularius. Males and females will take a blood feed from people, but females tend to bite more frequently as they need a blood meal to develop their eggs.

Bed bugs are an increasing problem worldwide, because as people travel more for both business and leisure, the chances of encountering these pests and inadvertently spreading bed bugs increases. Bed bugs are also becoming an increasing issue in student accommodation, care homes and apartments, as once established they can spread easily between rooms.

Bed Bug Facts

  • Bed bugs lay 200 – 500 eggs over a 2 month period in batches of 10 - 50.
  • Adult females must have a blood meal before egg-laying.
  • Eggs are usually laid in cracks and crevices and can be attached to items of furniture or fittings in clusters by a transparent substance.
  • There are 7 stages to the lifecycle from egg to fully grown adult which can be from 45 days but may be up to a year.
  • The typical lifespan of a bed bug is about 50 days to over a year depending on favourable conditions.
  • They can survive for weeks to months without feeding.

Bed Bug Signs

The first signs of a bed bug infestation is waking up with bed bug bites on your arms, legs, torso and other parts of the body. Bed bugs require a blood meal at regular intervals and when they bite, they inject some chemicals to ensure the blood flows. This includes an anticoagulant and an anesthetic so you don’t feel the bites and the blood does not clot too quickly. Bed bugs want two things: to hide and to feed on blood. A bed bug’s anatomy is designed to do these two things. Common signs of bed bugs are:

  • Shed skins - bed bugs go through several life cycles, leaving behind their shed skins.
  • Fecal spots - leaving fecal deposits that look like tiny black dots from a felt tip pen behind.
  • Blood spots - the bugs can become crushed and leave behind blood spots or the wounds they leave on you can bleed. Tiny spots of blood on the sheets are a telltale sign.
  • Odors - in a very heavy infestation, even a human nose can detect the unpleasant, somewhat sweet smell of a bed bug invasion. Bed bugs also give off a hormonal scent when disturbed. Dogs can spot these scents with smaller infestations and much easier than humans
  • Insects - if you look in the right places, like creases, cracks, crevices, you can also find the live bugs. They are small and sometimes hard to see, not much bigger than an apple seed in some life stages, but our highly trained bed bug experts can find them.

Bed Bug Bites

Bed bug bites are not known to be a health concern, as far as disease transmission. However, being bitten can lead to skin rashes and secondary infections through scratching. Some people initially having no physical reaction to bed bug bites and may not be aware of an infestation until it has become established. 

When bed bugs feed, they excrete excess blood which can be seen as blood spots on bedding and furnishings. Bed bugs have piercing and sucking mouthparts, evident at all life stages. The mouth part is very long and lays beneath their body, tucked into a special opening when not in use. The bed bug untucks its mouth, finds a spot to feed, pierces the skin and looks for a blood vessel. When it finishes eating, they tuck the mouth back in and goes to find a place to hide. 

  • A bed bug’s mouth parts are complicated. They have a part for sawing through the skin into a blood vessel, and others for injecting an anesthetic and an anticoagulant so the victim does not feel the bite. This also prevents the wound from clogging, to allow free blood flow into the bed bug. 
  • A bed bug prefers to find hiding places and hates being out in the open. They want to be undisturbed as they digest their blood meal. 
  • Bed bugs do not have to feed every night and can go several days between feedings. However, they do require a blood meal every time they advance into a new lifecycle and shed their skins. 
  • Bed bugs cannot jump or fly, but they are very good at crawling and getting into small spaces. If you have even a tiny crack in the wood around your bed, such as in the headboard, you could have bed bugs. 
  • When the bed bug becomes engorged with blood it changes from their brownish color to a darker color since you can see the blood inside the insect as it digests. They also start out flat, but become more round the more blood they eat.

Rentokil Bed Bug Treatments

Our bed bug experts have extensive local knowledge and are backed by over 90 years of global experience. The sooner treatment is started the better, and we offer a selection of professional treatments for bed bugs which are specifically designed to eliminate these pests. 

Our award winning Entotherm heat pod is a chemical-free solution to treating bed bugs. It eliminates all the life stages of pests, from eggs to adults, and is a cost-effective solution to dealing with a bed bug problem. Our professional bed bug services are suitable for residential properties as well as commercial properties.

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3. Treatment

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4. Aftercare

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Bed Bug FAQ

  • Where will I find bed bugs?

    • Bed frames and headboard crevices
    • Mattress seams
    • Carpets
    • Between floorboards
    • In cracked or broken plaster, behind peeling wallpaper
    • Drawers and cupboards
    • Wardrobes
    • Bedside cabinets

  • Is there any harm from having bed bugs?

    The harm of bed bugs is from the pain and irritation of being bitten. Bed bugs move around easily and if not treated in a quick and professional manner, can reach an epidemic level. Specialist solutions only available to professional pest control companies offer the most reliable way to get rid of bed bugs.

  • Where do bed bugs hide?

    Adult bed bugs are approximately 4-5 mm long; about the size of an apple pip, and so can easily hide in crevices, seams and tiny gaps. As they need blood meals, bed bugs are attracted to our body heat and exhaled carbon monoxide. This means they will stay in close proximity to areas where people rest. This is most often beds and bedrooms – hiding in bed frames, mattress seams, headboards, bedding, carpets, rugs and bedside furniture. However, infestations have also been found on public transport, aircraft and in workplaces – anywhere that is close to sedentary people.

  • What steps can I take against bed bugs?

    It is not recommend you try treating bed bugs on your own. Completely resolving a bed bug problem can only realistically be achieved by enlisting the help of pest control professionals, as treating bed bugs is a complex process and if not done thoroughly may lead to an infestation returning.

  • What bed bug treatment is best?

    Rentokil’s Entotherm Heat Pod eliminates bed bugs without the use of chemicals and kills all stages of the bed bug life cycle, from eggs to nymphs and adults in one treatment. Our professional bed bug services are suitable for residential properties, as well as commercial properties such as hotels, bed and breakfasts and hostels.