This common pest once associated with unhygienic surroundings, is prevalent due to a number of reasons, including increased travel, the use of second hand furniture, and suspected tolerance to some pesticides. These bugs still occur with regularity, particularly in multi-occupancy buildings with rapid resident turnover, for example, hostels, hotels, holiday camps and blocks of flats.
Adult Bed bugs resemble a small brown disc, measuring up to 6mm in length. It is wingless but the legs are well developed and it can crawl up most vertical surfaces. Their elongated eggs are cemented in cracks or crevices close to the hosts (which for Bed bugs are humans). The early stages of the Bed bug (nymphs) are tiny making them hard to detect with the naked eye.
Bed bugs can usually be introduced to your property as they attach to luggage, bags and clothing. Bed bugs may also be introduced through second-hand beds, furniture and possessions.
Mainly active at night Bed bugs hide in crevices in the bed, surrounding furniture, and also behind skirting boards, under loose wall-paper, behind pictures and even in plug sockets to name a few.
Bed bugs need to feed on the blood of a human host. However in some cases they can survive up to a year without feeding.
Why control Bed bugs?
Bed bug bites cause red, irritating marks/ lumps. Not everyone reacts to the bits, however some people develop a more severe skin reaction and can experience disturbed sleep.
Bed bugs are not known to spread diseases. However, they can cause irritation and distress. Bed bugs can also ruin an organisation's reputation. If clients and customers experience a Bed bug infestation in the premises you manage, they are likely to complain and request a refund, report on your company negatively and be unlikely to want to do business with you again.
How to prevent Bed bugs
It's impossible to prevent a Bed bug infestation as they are generally spread through bad luck. However there are some things you can do to reduce your chances of getting an infestation: Before staying or moving into accommodation, make sure you check for signs of Bed bugs.
Avoid taking any second-hand bedroom furniture without checking it thoroughly. If you have stayed in an infested room, upon arriving home, immediately check your luggage and clothing for bugs. If you find Bed bugs, to remove the bugs and eggs your luggage, clothing and bedding there are a few things you can do. Either; wash everything at a ‘hot' (60°C) temperature setting; tumbled dry at a ‘hot setting for at least 30 minutes; dry clean everything; or place everything in bag in the deep freezer for at least 3 days.
Signs of an infestation
Red irritating bits, typically in rows on your neck, shoulders, back, legs or arms.
Clusters or dark spots (about 1mm wide) that look like an ink dot, are usually found on the bed frame or on the bottom side of the mattress.
Small blood-smears on the bed linen or head-board.
Finding the small brown insects in and around your bed frame and sleeping area.