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Bedbugs

Environmental Health

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Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are classed as "poor hygiene" pests however because of better living conditions and hygiene standards, bed bugs are more often carried into the home. 

They can be carried from one dwelling to another in furniture, particularly beds, in luggage from hotels both at home and abroad and in second-hand furniture.  They can migrate along terraced houses and between flats, spreading the problem away from the original infestation.  Outer clothing can become infested and second-hand clothing may also spread infestations.

Bedbug mouthparts are well adapted for piercing the skin and sucking blood.  They are not know to be carriers of diseases, but can cause a painful bite. 


Description and habits

The adult bed bug is a flattened, wingless, oval insect about 6mm long and normally reddish brown in colour.  Feeding usually takes place at night every 3-4 days, when the bugs emerge from their hiding places.  Bed bugs spend the day hiding in cracks and crevices often in, or close to the host's bed.  They may hide in the seams, piping, and buttons of mattresses, under pillows, in the bed structure and frame, behind loose wallpaper, behind pictures, in electrical sockets and switches, behind skirting boards, and above beds in ceiling cracks, and a wide range of other places in furniture or structures of the room.

Each female during her lifetime of approximately one year, may lay a total of 300 eggs.  The eggs are cemented on rough surfaces, in cracks and crevices in furniture on or near where the bugs normally hide.  Tiny bugs emerge when the eggs hatch, which requires a room temperature of at least 10° C.  They look similar to the adult bug and have the same habits.  They shed their skin about 5 times before they become adults.  This can take about 4 months depending on temperature.  Adults can live for up to 1 year.  Before the adults can mate and each time they shed their skin, they require a feed of blood.  Bed bugs can live for several months without a feed of blood.  They can live off humans, dogs, cats, and even rodent blood.

Evidence to look for:

  • Live bed bugs in bedroom

  • Bite marks on the skin

  • Faecal marks near cracks and crevices

 

Treatment

The following are guidelines if you decide to treat the problem yourself.  You can use either a water-based spray or an insecticide dust.  Make sure that what you use is approved for domestic use.

  • All bedding should be stripped from beds and preferably laundered at a high temperature.

  • Dismantle the bed to treat all the cracks and crevices.

  • The mattress can be lightlysprayed with a water-diluted spray.  Concentrate on the seams, buttons and piping.

  • The frame and headboard should be sprayed thoroughly and allowed to dry before reassembly.

  • Treat all cracks and crevices, carpet edges, floorboards, furniture, under loose wallpaper, behind pictures etc.  Do not vacuum after this treatment for at least 7 days.  Thoroughness is the key.

Be prepared to see bedbugs for some weeks after the treatment.  It may take a series of treatments before complete eradication has been achieved.

If you require any further assistance, the Pest Control Officer will be able to give advice and carry out an inspection. There may be a charge for any treatment carried out.