Bed Bugs can spread extremely quickly and are on the increase in certain areas.
Through hotels and shared accommodation, they can move around and quickly infest your home. Second hand furniture also poses a risk.
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Bed Bugs (cimex lectularius)
Bed Bugs can grow to up 6mm in length, they resemble a very flattened oval shape. Red-brown in colour changing to dark mahogany after feeding. They have an incomplete metamorphosis, egg, nymph then adult. Reaching adulthood from just a few weeks to several months depending on conditions, after having 5 moults. Each adult can lay up to a few hundred eggs at a rate of about 4-5 a day. Eggs will only hatch above 13 degrees c, and are white and laid in crevices.
All nymph stages feed on blood. Bed Bugs emerge nocturnally every few days or when hungry to feed and take about 10 minutes to feed and can ingest up to several times their body weight. Attracted to body heat and the carbon dioxide that we breathe out, they can go months without feeding, and will always be found close to the source, in cracks and crevices, the seam of the bed, in the head board, skirting boards and wall switches. If it is a heavy infestation, they will produce a distinctive odour. Smear spots may be seen close to harbourages.
Bites are raised about 2mm across and appear red and inflamed around the bite.
Bed Bugs are found worldwide, and throughout the UK., and can be transferred on second hand furniture, bedding and in luggage, though are not known to be disease carriers. They carry a social stigma and are very bad for business.
A thorough survey would be done using a flushing aerosol into cracks and crevices. Before any items are taken from the bedroom they should be placed in sealed bags then placed in a dryer on hottest setting, if not put in a washing machine on hottest wash. Hoovering and if possible steam cleaners should be used to kill all eggs. Then the infested rooms should be sprayed or dusted according to the situation, paying close attention to all harbourages. The treatment will need to be repeated to make sure control is achieved.