Instances of bedbugs have been steadily rising in in the UK for several years, but misinformation and stigma mean many people don’t know what to look out for.
Today we’re sharing some basic facts about bedbugs to help demystify this increasingly common infestation.
What are bedbugs?
According to the NHS, bedbugs are small insects that can be dark yellow, red or brown, and roughly 5mm in length. They often live in furniture or bedding but can also be found on bed frames, clothing and behind loose pictures or wallpaper.
Most people don’t see bedbugs in their homes but do find evidence of them.
- Bedbug bites are red and itchy, and can typically be found in a line or cluster. People often mistake these for mosquito bites.
- Spots of blood on your bedding are another common indicator of bedbugs. This can be from squashing a bedbug or from the bites you’ve received.
- Small brown spots are another indicator; these are excrement.
What causes bedbugs?
It’s a common misconception that bedbugs are only to be found in dirty homes or dingy hotels abroad – in fact, they can be found anywhere, and because these parasites are known as ‘good travellers’, you might pick them up without ever realising.
During the summer instances of bedbugs increase because the warm weather shortens its reproductive cycle, making it even easier to spread.
They might attach to your clothing or luggage – they can be picked up on holiday or simply by sitting on the tube.
Protecting against them
The simplest way to guard against bedbugs is to be vigilant and check your furniture and bedding regularly.
Washing bedding at 60 degrees will help prevent bedbugs spreading in your home if you do come in contact with them. When you return home from holiday, immediately wash your clothing at the same temperature.
Vacuuming the mattress and airing out your bedding can also make a difference. Brush the seams of your mattress with a stiff brush before vacuuming,
If you think you might have bedbugs in your home, the best thing you can do is act quickly. Pest control companies have the resources to help you eradicate bedbugs from your home in around two weeks if the problem is severe.
Wash clothing and bedding at 60 degrees and tumble dry for at least 30 minutes so any bedbugs on your linens will not survive. If possible, consider replacing your mattress.
If you do find bedbugs, be sure to inform any neighbours and anyone who might have been visiting your home. In tenement buildings or adjoining properties bedbugs can migrate by crawling through wall and floor cavities, which may put others around you at risk.
Have you had any experiences with bedbugs? Share your stories in the comments below.
Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor
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