Bed bugs expert reveals how to spot signs of infestation
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The parasitic insects feed on the blood of people and pets, hiding in broad daylight in cracks and crevices of mattresses, headboards, bed frames, and objects next to the bed. An infestation with the pests are not a sign of uncleanliness, as bed bugs do not care if their environment is clean or dirty, the Mayo Clinic made clear. The first thing anyone should do if they keep waking up to bites is to inspect where they sleep.
“You may need to perform your inspection at night when bedbugs are active,” the Mayo Clinic added.
One of the most convincing signs of bed bugs – aside from spotting them – is the appearance of dark specks along mattress seams.
These specks are not the creatures themselves, but the excrement (i.e. faeces) of the pests.
Another telling sign is finding pale yellow empty exoskeletons, as bedbugs moult five times before fully maturing.
When you are inspecting all areas of the bed, also be on the look out for rusty or reddish stains.
These blood stains may be remnants of crushed bedbugs that were killed by your body when venturing out for a feed.
While bed bug bites can heal on their own, it’s so important to tackle the underlying infestation.
As bedbugs are notorious for hiding out of sight, and the pests can survive for months without a blood feed, professional help is strongly recommended.
The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) pointed out that female bed bugs lay up to 500 eggs over two months.
Meanwhile, the typical lifespan of a bed bug is around 10 months, so it’s easy to see how an infestation can quickly grow out of control if not treated.
“Self-treatment of a bed bug infestation with amateur pesticides is highly unlikely to be successful,” the BCPA warned.
To find a local BPCA certified pest control professional, visit: bpca.org.uk/find.
In the meantime, wash everything, including bedding and clothes, at a hot (60C) temperature setting.
Moreover, tumble dry at a hot setting for at least 30 minutes, dry clean everything, or place everything in a bag and deep freeze for at least three days.
It’s vital to follow the instructions given to you after pest control professionals treat your home.
Bear in mind that it usually takes up to three separate treatments to completely get rid of the infestation.
What do bed bugs look like?
BPCA described the pests as “wingless” six-legged insects that have a feeding tube that only appears when they are feeding.
After a blood meal, the bug can increase by up to 50 percent in length and 200 percent in weight.
While the creatures mostly feed at night, if the infestation grows large enough, the pests can become opportunistic.
This means the pests can decide to feed during the day if a blood meal is around.
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