With the lack of warm weather this summer, you might be thinking that we’ve escaped the potential infestations of bed bugs this year but in fact, those escaping the colder weather for a beach holiday abroad may have an unwittingly brought the critters back. Many reports in the press tell us that infestations are on the rise due to our modern, jet-setter lifestyles.
So what can we do to prevent them? Check out the Doremo guide to bed bugs here and read more below.
Bed bugs are usually carried into the home on clothing, luggage or furniture and unfortunately, they don’t distinguish between a clean and a dirty home. No matter how much you’ve vacuumed or polished, if you’ve come into contact with bed bugs, they’ll be making themselves at home in and around your bed. They are usually found in the bedroom because they need to feed on a bloodmeal at night; as well as being attracted your body heat and carbon dioxide from your breath.
Identifying bed bugs can be difficult as they hide away in cracks and crevices during the day and only appear to feed at night. The first signs of bed bugs will most likely be a first bite mark in the morning. You can have a look for clues to find out if you have bed bugs and not ticks or fleas as there are different methods for removing these. With bed bugs, you’re looking for dark stains on the mattress or bed sheets, small dark blood spots, known as ‘faecal pellets’ or indeed you may spot a live insect about 4-5mm long.
Controlling and removing bed bugs can be costly so it’s important to act fast. People react differently to bites; some experience swelling and rashes, whilst others have no reaction. If you’re concerned over any bites you’ve had, always consult your GP.
Here’s some dos and don’ts for controlling and cleaning up bed bugs.
Regularly hot wash and heat-dry your bed sheets, blankets, pillow cases and any clothing that touches the floor. Washing your bedding at 90°C+ can reduce the number of bed bugs but remember that they also hide in your laundry basket so remember to vacuum and clean this too.
Attempt home freezing to kill bed bugs. Freezing bed bugs for a long time can kill bed bugs but the temperature must be very low… for a very long time. Putting your infested items outside in freezing conditions may also work but it’s not a sustained, long-term solution.
Thoroughly vacuum your entire sleeping area. A thorough vacuum can get rid of some bed bugs so paying careful attention to rugs, carpets, the mattress, the bed frame, under the bed and any cracks and crevices around the room can help. Remember to change the bag after each use so bed bugs can’t escape and spread around the whole house. Place the bag in a tightly sealed plastic bag and in an outside bin.
Killing bed bugs with conventional heating methods won’t work. Raising the indoor temperature with the thermostat won’t do the job. The room temperature needs to reach subtropical levels at around 56°C for the bed bug to die and only specialist equipment can provide that level of consistent heat.
Keep a tidier house to remove areas they can hide. Although bed bugs don’t have a preference on cleanliness, keeping less clutter will reduce the places they can hide. Tidy up after yourself by picking up clothes in the bedroom around the bed and bedside cabinets.
Spread bed bugs to others. Act smart; if you know you have bed bugs in your home, don’t spread them by wearing unwashed clothing to someone else’s home. If you’re throwing out infested mattresses or furniture, destroy them or mark them somehow so no one else with take them. Do not donate infested items to charity.
Seek professional help. Many DIY products can help eliminate bed bugs but professional companies have the equipment and capabilities to remove bed bugs from homes and hotels. The process can be costly but necessary to ensure your health and wellbeing is protected.
When you’re travelling, always check the hotel bed linen and mattresses for live bed bugs and dark stains or blood spots. If you spot anything, alert a member of the hotel staff immediately. Avoid putting your suitcase on or underneath the bed during your trip and always hang your clothes in a wardrobe, rather than using drawers if possible.
With that advice to hand, remember; don’t panic. With some help, you can eliminate bed bugs without throwing anything away, which can be costly – and may even spread them further. Have a read of the Dormeo infographic for more details on bed bugs.
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