Bedbugs are becoming a significant problem in this country and around the world.
They are easily spread and difficult to treat resulting in a rapid growth in the number of bedbug outbreaks.
The key to beating this problem is to raise awareness of what to look for and to ensure bedbugs are dealt with quickly once discovered.
Bedbugs feed on the blood of humans and other mammals.
While it is possible for bedbugs to transmit disease, in this country it is very rare. Instead, the primary concern is the irritation and distress caused by bedbug bites.
Bedbug bites do not hurt. It is the itchiness that results from the body’s reaction to them that causes discomfort.
Treating the bites soothes the irritation, but it can still be very distressing when there are multiple bites as is often the case with bedbugs.
Multiple bites and contact with bedbugs can also lead to an itchy rash or eczema. Consult a pharmacist for advice and treatment if this occurs.
Adult bedbugs are 5mm long. Before feeding they are a flattened oval shape and light brown, but become rounder and darker after feeding.
They come out at night and are attracted to the warmth of our bodies and carbon dioxide in our breath.
They are usually found in bedrooms but hide in cracks and crevices during the day.
The most common shelters for bedbugs are in the seams of mattresses, in crevices in the bed frame, behind furniture surrounding the bed (especially the headboard) or where the wall meets the floor.
A more established infestation is associated with dark or black staining of the mattress from bed bug excreta.
An established infestation will also be associated with an unpleasant scent secreted by bed bugs.
It is difficult to identify bed bugs from their bite because our bodies react very differently to them.
It is more important to look at the overall pattern and timing of bites and other factors to identify whether bites are caused by bed bugs.
The description below will help you identify if you have a bed bug problem. Consult our guide to biting insects for advice about how to treat bedbug bites.
Bedbug bites are unlikely to wake the victim. They can occur anywhere on the body but are often close to blood vessels near the skin.
A single bed bug may bite more than once around the same area. However, bites in different parts of the body indicate being bitten by several bed bugs.
Early in a bed bug infestation, the victim may not yet be sensitised to the bites and they may not feel itchy.
However, small droplets of blood on the sheets will indicate the presence of bed bugs.
Bedbugs usually enter a property by being carried on clothing or inside furniture.
The most common source of bedbugs is to stay at a hotel with an infestation. Bedbugs or their eggs get into clothing or suitcases and are then transported home.
If there are any signs of bedbugs when staying at a hotel, particularly being bitten when sleeping or seeing blood spots on sheets, take great care in bringing your personal belongings home.
Consult with hotel management to assess the risk - it may be necessary to launder, fumigate or treat clothes to ensure they are safe.
The same applies in transferring furniture - Rentokil can treat furniture for bedbugs before bringing it into your home if there may be a risk.
If your home has a bedbug infestation, please do not risk spreading it by taking clothes, suitcases or furniture to hotels or the homes of your friends and families.
Bedbugs can also migrate to adjoining properties through wall or floor cavities. If your home has bedbugs and you live in a flat or a terraced property, please be considerate to your neighbours and act promptly.
Bed bugs are an objectionable pest and one of the most difficult to eradicate.
High levels of hygiene, deep cleaning and the use of amateur insecticides will help to keep bedbug numbers under control, however professional treatment will be required to eradicate the infestation.
Rentokil offers a call-out service to deal with bedbugs and other pest problems in the home. Our service is fast, effective and offers the highest level of safety for your family and pets.
If you are concerned that you may have a bedbug problem and would like to arrange a visit from a Rentokil technician, call us on 1300 886 911.