Bedbug Infestation – Do You Have Them?
Whilst the thought of discovering a bedbug infestation can be extremely distressing, it is important to remember that bedbugs aren’t dangerous – they do not transmit human diseases. That said, they’re still not pleasant and you should certainly act straight away if you believe you might have bedbugs.
Attracted to body heat and carbon dioxide, they crawl out at night to bite your exposed skin and feed on your blood – just like mosquitos do. The common areas to find bedbug bites are the face, neck, hands or arms (the commonly exposed areas of skin). Not everyone develops a reaction to bedbug bites, but some people develop an itchy red bump.
Bedbugs aren’t attracted to dirt, so an infestation isn’t a sign of an unclean home. It can be difficult to prevent a bedbug infestation as they’re easily transported. They are capable of attaching themselves to anyone or anything; regardless of how clean you are.
How to Spot a Bedbug Infestation
It is a common misconception that bedbugs are too small to be seen with the naked eye, this simply isn’t true. Adult bedbugs will be around the size of a lentil, approximately 5mm. Thankfully there are ways you can spot their presence.
- Look for any unexplained skin rash or itchy bump. A lot of people assume that these are down to fleas, midges or other insects
- Check your mattress for any dark spots. Dark spots could be blood, their dried faeces, or shed skin (bedbugs shed their skin six times before becoming an adult)
- Use a torch to inspect all of the crevices and joints of your bed and bedroom furniture
- Rooms with a large infestation might have an unpleasant, musty smell. Bedbugs can produce this odour when their glands are disturbed
Getting Rid of Bedbugs
If you find an infestation of bedbugs, it is important to remember that they do not transmit human diseases. Whilst it is not pleasant finding an infestation, and you should certainly act immediately, they are not dangerous so try not to panic.
If you do find an infestation, it is best to contact a team of professionals to get rid of the bugs. Because they are so easily transported, you would need to check every part of the house to make sure you eradicate the problem. If you think you have a problem visit the British Pest Control Association for more information. You could also contact your council who might be able to provide a service for a fee.
Whilst you wait for a professional team to reach you, you could carry out the following to minimise the impact of the bedbug infestation –
- If your clothes or bedding have become infested, you should wash them at 60°, or put them in a dryer on a hot setting for 30 minutes or more
- Use a vacuum cleaner with a nozzle to suck up any bugs you can see. Remember, you might not be able to see all of them. You should dispose of the contents of the vacuum in a sealed bag
- If your mattress has a heavy infestation, you should be prepared to throw it away
Preventing an Infestation
If you’ve checked your mattress and have found that your bedding is bedbug free, you might be wondering what measures you can take to remain bug-free. Unfortunately, as bedbugs can be so easily transported, it can be hard to prevent an infestation. The best method of prevention is to check your mattress regularly and take immediate action if required. If possible, avoid buying second-hand mattresses and be wary of old beds you might be using in rented accommodation.
Reduce potential hiding spots for bedbugs by keeping the bedroom clean and free of clutter, especially from the floor and under your bed.