Pest control - Bed bugs

1. What do bed bugs look like?

The adult bed bug is an oval insect, 5mm long by about 3mm wide. If the bed bug has not recently fed it is flat and red-brown in colour. Once it has taken a feed it changes to a dark mahogany colour and becomes more rounded.

2. How do I know I have bed bugs?

A bed bug generally pierces the skin of humans as they sleep. It injects an anti-coagulant fluid under the skin to help it obtain the blood. Often this fluid causes a welt on the skin that becomes irritated, inflamed and itchy. If left undisturbed, a full-grown bedbug becomes engorged with blood in three to five minutes. It then crawls into hiding, remaining there for several days to digest its meal. The bedbug will only emerge again when hungry to seek another blood meal.

Bedbugs feed mainly on human blood but will also feed on dogs, cats or rodents.

3. Are there any other signs of bed bugs?

Heavily used hiding places are evident by black or brown spots of dried blood excrement on the surfaces where the bugs rest, like your bed. Eggs, eggshells and cast skins may be found near these places. Usually there is an offensive sickly sweet odour where bedbugs are numerous.

4. Where do bed bugs hide?

Mattress piping, bed bases, door or window architraves, woodwork, behind light and plug plates, in old books and papers, behind wallpaper, in clothing, dresser drawers, behind curtains and drapes, any crack and crevice in floor or wall, wallpaper joints, upholstered furniture, pictures, covers and bedspreads.

5. How many bed bugs could I have?

Under favourable conditions the female bedbug lays about 200 eggs at the rate of 3 or 4 per day. Eggs have a sticky coating and stick to objects where they are laid. It usually takes the eggs 6 to 17 days to hatch, and the newly emerged nymphs are ready to feed immediately.

6. How did I get bed bugs?

Bed bugs can unwittingly be carried into clean well-kept properties, just by the movement of second hand furniture from an infested property.

7. Do bed bugs carry diseases?

Bed bugs are not known to carry disease.

8. Should I leave bed bugs untreated?

No. In early infestations the bedbugs are found only about the seams and folds of mattresses and covers, later they spread to cracks and crevices in the bedsteads. If allowed to multiply, they establish themselves behind skirtings, window and door architraves, pictures and mouldings, and in furniture, loosened wallpaper and cracks in plaster and partitions.

Also, their blood feeding causes severe irritation to some people, may result in lack of sleep and energy, can cause anaemia in children and may leave blackish spots on furnishings from their excreta

9. What can I do to prevent bed bugs?

  • Maintain high levels of hygiene and house keeping
  • Wash all bedding, curtains and clothing in hot water on a regular basis
  • Vacuum and steam clean carpets
  • Remove dust, fluff and debris from cracks, crevices, seams on mattress etc.

10. Can I treat bed bugs myself?

No. To eradicate the problem completely you will need professional help. They must be treated with a suitable insecticide.

It may be necessary to remove carpets and furniture, architraves and ceiling roses and in severe cases wallpaper and skirting to ensure the insecticide reaches all areas. If possible, bedding materials including the mattress should be disposed of, or heat sterilised.

Some populations of bedbugs can be resistant to insecticides even after a thorough treatment.

11. Are insecticides dangerous?

Insecticides are applied by qualified staff, which will ensure the safety of both the public and the environment.

Book a treatment for Bed Bugs

You can book a free treatment for Bed Bugs through Contact Harlow, however we will need to see a sample of the pest before a booking can be made.