The number of bed bug infestations is increasing across the UK. Although bed bugs do not cause any significant harm to your health, their presence can cause itchiness and irritation and living with them can be distressing.
Bed bugs do not just live in beds or bedrooms, they like any area where they can live in soft furnishings or in warm, quiet spaces, like behind picture frames. This is one of the ways they travel from place to place as they may be on clothes, bags, or pushchairs, for example.
What to look for
Telltale signs of bed bugs are:
- Seeing live bed bugs themselves, they are small brown bugs about the size and shape of an apple pip.
- Finding eggs or eggshells – these are very small, only about 1mm in size.
- Rusty looking stains on your mattress or soft furnishings
- Dark coloured spots
Avoiding bed bugs
Bed bugs are not a sign of a dirty or poorly looked after home, anyone might accidentally bring bed begs into their home. These tips will help you reduce the risk of an infestation:
- Be cautious about bringing second hand furniture, clothing or toys into your home. Make sure you complete a visual check first and if you can, treat items before you bring them inside. There are DIY treatments available and smaller items can be frozen or steamed.
- A hot wash and tumble dry will kill bed bugs at any stage in their life cycle, from eggs to fully grown adults. So, wash your clothes and bed linen on hot cycles regularly. Make sure you set the washing machine to 60 degrees and choose a cycle that is at least 30 minutes long. Afterwards, if you have a tumble dryer, dry them on hot for at least 30 minutes as well.
- If you have been somewhere you think you may have come into contact with bed bugs, for example on public transport, wash your clothes on hot as soon as you get home.
- If you use shared laundry facilities, consider placing your laundry into a sealed plastic bag as you enter and leave (use a different bag once your laundry has been washed).
- When you get home, avoid putting your bag onto the bed or sofa.
- Keep the area around and under your bed free from clutter so there are fewer places for bed bugs to hide.
If you think you have bed bugs, call our Repairs team straight away on 01733 385030 who will arrange for a Pest Controller to visit your home.