Steve Laycock | 19 March 2015

Bedbugs Continues 

Not everyone develops a rash or inflammation reaction to the bites but for most it will appear as a red itchy spots within about half an hour of being bitten.

They generally bite the upper torso, arms, neck and face on exposed skin and walk along the pillow or mattress while biting.  This why bites tend to appear in lines or groups of lines on the body. Other flying insect bites like mosquitoes tend to be more random and can be on any part of the body which is exposed.  Whilst bedbugs can be upsetting, their bits are generally not dangerous and don't transmit human diseases.  Most people don't generally develop any serious reactions to the bites either however those with reduced immune systems or who tend to react easily to bites could.

If you think you have a bedbug infestation seek professional help because they are very difficult to eradicate and the skin shedding could affect people with breathing difficulties.  

More about Bedbugs  

Adult bedbugs look a bit like lentils and can be seen with the naked eye. They grow to about 5 mm in length and tend to range from a darkish yellow to reddish brown in colour

Females can lay about 300 eggs in their lifetime which are small whitish specs that can be very difficult to see.

The eggs hatch after about ten days producing tiny straw coloured larva that will take six to eight weeks to develop into adults.  They go through six stages of development as they grow, shedding  their skin at each stage which is a mottled brown shell that you can find on your bed or the floor next to your bed. In order to mature they need to feed on blood but can bide their time. Adults can survive up to a year without feeding.  



How do you find bedbugs?

1. Look for any unexplained skin rashes or reddish bumps on the upper torso, arms, neck or face that tend to appear in lines. They will also tend to be itchy.

2. Look for small, black spotting marks on the mattress or sheets which are the faeces of the bedbugs.

3. Look for small mottled shells which are the cuticles or skin shedding from the bedbugs which can be found in the piping around the edge of the mattress or under the buttons. They can also be found in the cracks, crevices where the headboard joins the bed base, in the frame of wooden beds or in the gaps where the floor joins the wall, usually near the head end.

4. Inspect all crevices and joints around the mattress and on furniture using a torch. this makes them easier to spot.  Bedbugs do not like light so will tend to move away if a light is shone on them. They also prefer wooden or fabric surfaces to metal or plastic.

5. Bedbugs can hide in the joints where cupboards close, in crevices around the backs of cupboards and mirrors, in electrical outlets, fire and smoke detectors, drawers and luggage. They will also venture up to a few feet from the bed.

6. They will produce an unpleasant odour from their scent glands when disturbed. This will be smelt in areas where there is a large infestation. 

7. They can hide under the slats on wooden bed frames and in the joints where headboards fix to divans so thorough inspections can mean taking beds apart.

Because bedbugs are flat they can squeeze into and through extremely small gaps and will get deep into the piping around mattresses and inside bed bases (divans). Their size and shape also enables them to move through very small gaps around pipes and cable ducts into other rooms.

As they are attracted to your body heat and breath they will move into rooms where people sleep.          

Bedbugs are more likely to be found in hotels, hostels, student accommodation or temporary housing where people are more transient. They tend to be brought in in baggage when people are travelling or coming back from holiday.

There is no stigma attached to having bedbugs and it has no reflection on cleanliness or hygiene although house with lots of furniture or clutter will be harder to treat.

If you get a problem with bedbugs call in the professionals as they can be difficult to treat and re-infestations very often occur with D.I.Y attempts.

On my next blog I will talk about treating bedbug infestations.


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