Bed Bugs – The Basics!
Most people have heard of bed bugs but not many people have seen them. In their adult stage they are (looking from above) dark red and about 5mm in size, side on they are very thin which enables them to hide in tight spaces. I describe these as dark flat insects about the same size and shape as a flat ladybird (the wikipedia link has some good photos). Bed bugs are nocturnal and feed on human blood but they will come out in the light if they are hungry enough. They usually live inside of mattresses and beds but will live up to 10 meters away from their blood meal, they find their way by detecting your heat and CO2 in your breath. Feeding is done by sucking out blood for about five minutes in multiple bites which can very often be in-line. On the whole you won’t feel anything until the morning after the bed bug is already safely back in its home.
Bed bugs usually bite once a week so if you’re being bitten every night you’ve got quite a few, they can also live for a long time without feeding, sometimes over a year which makes it hard to starve them out.
Is there a risk of infection?
Apart from the annoying bites, skin irritation and rashes, there has been no evidence to date which suggests they carry or transmit diseases but their breeding rate means that each bug can lay up to five eggs a day which can lead to large infestation if left un- treated.
First of all you need to identify the problem, we can help to do this initially over the phone but also through inspection and insect identification, there is no charge for this service. Once the problem has been identified you need to choose a qualified pest controller at the right price and preferably with a guarantee.
Prior to the pest controllers visit you will need to strip each of the affected rooms of all bedding including pillows, covers, loose clothes etc and put them in bin bags ready for washing. This is an important part of the treatment and don’t believe anyone who says it’s not necessary. All washing need to be put on a hot wash (50C + for at least 10min) and hot dryer to kill all bugs and eggs. Next the room needs to be hoovered, this will take out a lot of insects and some of their hiding places, once this is completed a chemical treatment should be put down by a qualified technician. It’s very important that your technician knows how bedbugs live and what chemicals are suitable, this knowledge will help clean up the problem quickly and help prevent a re-occurrence of the problem.
Following the initial treatment you should expect a follow up date either by phone or in person to check that all is well. It is our experience that the use of a good encasement mattress protector will reduce the chances of re-occurrence. These differ from the standard cover by completely enclosing the mattress and having a close nit zipper and a lock so bugs can’t get in or out. Many protectors also have the added advantage of having dust mite and allergy protection.
Please call us if you need more information or would like prices on any of the products and services mentioned.