Although bed bugs don’t pose any serious health hazards nor transmit diseases, living with them under one roof and in the same bed can cause distress.
As most rental properties come furnished, including beds and mattresses, it is good to be aware of the risk of these little creatures when moving homes.
Bed bugs are small (up to 5mm long), flat, oval-shaped parasites that crawl out at night and feed on blood. They are most likely to live in cracks and crevices in and around beds but can also be found in other furniture, carpets, behind mirrors or even inside smoke alarms. They can quickly spread from room to room and it can be very difficult to get rid of these unwanted occupants.
Many people associate bed bugs with dirty homes, however, these pests are not attracted to filth. They are drawn to cluttered places though, especially with clothing left on the floor. They can be found in locations with high people turnover like hotels, public transport, cinemas etc. and can arrive at your home on clothing or in suitcases.
How do I know my home is infested with bed bugs?
There are a number of signs that can suggest a bed bug infestation:
- bites, especially on your face, neck, hands and arms, often in line across the skin and commonly accompanied by redness, swelling and itching (in more severe cases, a rash or fluid-filled blisters), that can occur within minutes from being bitten to up to two weeks
- small, white eggs in the crevices of your mattress and furniture
- tiny, dark fecal spots and blood spots on your mattress and/or sheets
- shed skins
- sweet, musty odour in your bedroom
How can I get rid of bed bugs?
A bed bug infestation can be very difficult to tackle and you may want to consider getting professional help from pest control to ensure a successful treatment. However, there are actions you can take to help get rid of the parasites and prevent them from spreading:
- wash and dry infested clothing and bedding on the hottest temperature
- vacuum clean and steam thoroughly all the cracks and crevices of your mattress and upholstered furniture
- dispose of the contents of the vacuum cleaner in a sealed bag
- use a mattress encasement which will prevent bed bugs from entering
- use bed bug traps under the legs of the bed
- clear all clutter, especially from under the bed
- apply insecticides to all the areas the bed bugs were spotted and other places they may easily crawl.
Deep cleaning, dismantling bed frames and furniture, filling cracks in floors, walls and mouldings might also be necessary.
How can I treat bed bug bites?
Bed bug bites normally fade in a few days and there is no treatment required. However, some people may develop an allergic reaction and a mild steroid cream or antihistamine can be used to combat the symptoms. In more advanced cases, where there are signs of an infection, an antibiotic may be required.
Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!