Bed bugs and how to treat them

The very mention of the word ‘Bedbugs’ may make your toes curl and body shudder. You probably think they are a thing of the past, from dirty unsanitary living conditions or old crusty mattresses. However, you’d be wrong. We cover what you need to know about bed bugs and, if you’ve found yourself an unwilling victim of them, how to get rid of them.

Bed Bugs are pests which can be found in any area of your home and can affect furniture, carpets, cracks in floors and of course mattresses. They are not a sign of dirt or bad hygiene as some may believe. More often than not they are hitchhikers that have found their way to your bedroom via various carriers.

These carriers could be old second-hand furniture, relic mattresses or even other people who unknowingly may transport them during travels. Hitching a ride on clothing, furniture or other upholstery. They are opportunistic creatures!

How do I know if I have bed bugs?

To ascertain as to whether you do have bed bugs, you would find dark blood spots on sheets and bedding. This is because they feed at night, a bit like vampires. Crawling out from cracks and crevices in and around your bed. Bed bugs will sometimes excrete while they are feeding and this results in the dark reddish or brownish spots.

Bed bugs typically cluster together in out of the way areas but to determine as to whether you have these little pests, look on and around bases, mattresses, bed frames, in and around the tufts and buttons on the mattress. They are absolutely tiny and you’re more likely to see their exoskeletons which they shed as tiny brown scales. They can survive months without feeding which means they can survive in properties in between tenants which allows them to pass from carrier to carrier.

These insects are only about ¼’ and very flat so they can move into very tight corners and cracks.   Please see image below

An individual insect can lay between 200 and 250 eggs in its lifetime. The eggs hatch in about 6/10 days and the newly emerged bed bug nymphs seek a tasty meal, which sadly is either a feast from you or a pet! Adult bed bugs will live for about 4 months however they can survive without feeding for up to a month.

Physical signs of bed bugs include:

  • Brown rusty coloured small stains on your mattress or bedding
  • Shed skins in crevices, creases in upholstery or around the mattress edge
  • A musty odour
  • Itchy lumps or bite marks on people or pets

How do I treat bed bug bites?

Although these insects will bite you, they are not known to spread diseases, they are more of a nuisance causing an itchy red rash on your skin. It is advised that antihistamines can be used to reduce the itching but the best treatment is to stop bed bugs in their tracks and remove them from your bedroom.

You may see bites as track marks in the same places, this is because bedbugs are known to sequentially feed in the same spot. The bites themselves often come up as small lumps and the act of being bitten itself is painless. Most people only notice the bites a day or two afterwards as itchy spots.

Bed Bug Facts

  • They can’t fly
  • Feed exclusively on blood
  • They can travel in other peoples luggage or furniture
  • They can survive months without feeding – tenacious things!
  • Bedroom clutter increases the risk of bedbugs making a home in your bedroom

How to prevent bed bugs?

To avoid bringing these unwanted pests into your home you’ll need to ensure that you take some minor precautions, particularly when travelling. There have been reports of increased bed bug infestations even in high-end hotels. It seems more a result of the increased trend for people to travel more. The availability now of short-term holiday rental properties and locations with a high turnover of visitors has enabled bed bugs to thrive. Even cinemas have been known to house bed bugs in the upholstery of the seats.

A good rule of thumb is to check suitcases when you are travelling and before leaving the hotel to make sure nothing has crawled into the suitcase whilst on the floor. Alternatively, why not use the suitcase stand often found in hotel rooms to help elevate the suitcase?

They can also hitch a ride on clothing which often allows them to infest multiple rooms in a house. They really are savvy creatures!

Check second-hand furniture before bringing into the house which is often a carrier for the blighters. If the furniture can be washed down and cleaned then this can help. Upholstered furniture is harder to inspect, so make sure you check any creases in the fabric, stitching and the backs of say older second-hand headboards for signs of bed bugs.

Bed bugs and pets

Though bed bugs will feed on pets, they do not live or travel on the skin of their hosts, and pets are not believed to be a factor in their spread. If pets are allowed to sleep on your bed it may be worthwhile checking them for any bites also checking their bedding too.

How to get rid of bed bugs?

It is highly recommended to contact a professional Pest Control Company.  They will need to make a detailed survey of the property to check as to where the insects have become a problem.

Most Pest Control Companies will use a heat treatment which requires specialized equipment to raise the temperature in specific areas to 118’F and that will need to be maintained for about 70 minutes.  All bed bugs should have been killed if this treatment has been performed properly.

Clutter is also a great hiding place for bed bugs. Another tip is to try and reduce the amount of bedroom clutter and hiding places for them. Regular mattress maintenance will also aid in the prevention or early identification of any unwanted visitors.

Summary

It’s never the nicest subject talking about bed bugs or other creepie crawlies, especially in your bedroom. However, we have detailed why you may end up with bed bugs. Mainly as opportunistic hitchhikers who accidentally end up in your home. Clearing clutter in the bedroom and ensuring you check furniture regularly are the best means of control. If you’re buying second-hand furniture a quick inspection of the seams for the telltale signs can help reduce potential bed bug infestations. The same goes for hotel stays with your luggage. If you do end up with these unwanted guests we always recommend hiring the professionals.

Do you have questions about mattress care and maintenance? Wanting to swap your old uncomfortable mattress for a more suitable new mattress? Then why not get in touch with our friendly team of experts on 0161 945 3757. You can also browse our online shop of handmade luxury mattresses.