Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Bed Bugs How to Spot and Kill Them

November 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Home Maintenance, Pest Control

Bed bugs are sneaky and lurk where you least expect. Learn here how to spot them and get them before they get you.

Bedbugs – that pest from the old bedtime rhyme (night night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite) – are making a comeback. More of a nuisance than a health hazard, they are sucking blood from you when you sleep.

Know the enemy

Adult bed bugs are wingless insects about 5mm long and oval in shape – similar to a lentil. Their colour is nearly white after moulting, then ranges from tan to burnt orange. After a blood meal, they’ll appear dark red or black.

bed bug close up

Their flat bodies enable them to hide in dark, cosy cracks and crevices in beds, skirting boards, sofas and drawers, and even behind wallpaper and electrical socket plates. That’s where they nest during the day, typically not far from where they’ll find their host – that’s you – at night.

These little bloodsuckers dine on you without causing you to lose sleep. The next morning, you’ll discover lesions that resemble the bite of a mosquito or other insect.
Bedbugs are not attracted to dirt, so having bedbugs doesn’t mean a hotel, home or dorm is not clean.

Although they live on blood, adults can live for a year between meals, so just because a room hasn’t been used for some time doesn’t mean it will be bug-free. They could just be dormant.

Bedbugs and public health

Bedbug bites can lead to itchy red bumps a day to nine days later.

These often happen on the face, neck, hands or arms, although not everyone has a skin reaction to a bedbug bite.

Bedbugs don’t transmit any human diseases, but that doesn’t mean they should be ignored. Females lay 200-500 eggs in two months, so you could have lots of unwanted company very quickly.

Getting rid of bed bugs

Because bedbugs live where you sleep, extra care is needed with pesticide to avoid over exposure where you sleep.

If you do decide to use special bed bug insecticide spray yourself, always read the label. Never use these treatments on clothing, linen or a mattress.

use bedbug sprays carefully following safety instructions

Pest Expert Formula ‘D’ is a fast-acting bed bug killer spray which, as well as killing bed bugs on contact, also leaves behind a highly effective residue, providing longer-lasting bed bug control. This bed bug spray can be used to treat bed frames, carpets, mattresses and even bedding.

Hunting for bedbugs

Bedbug experts recommend the following steps for identifying the culprit:

Search the bedroom. Look in folds and creases in mattresses and box springs, joints of bed frames, pleats of curtains, behind loose wallpaper, in spaces of wicker furniture, behind cove moulding, and in corners of drawers. You may notice dark brown or reddish faecal spots on bed linen, mattresses or walls near the bed.

When you find an insect compare it with the image in this article, or put the bug a plastic bag or bottle to show to an expert.

Don’t lose sleep over bedbugs

Bedbugs are savvy and lurk where you least expect. Learn here how to spot them and get them before they get you.

Avoiding bedbugs

Don’t buy second-hand mattresses

Consider dumping a mattress if it looks heavily infested.

Inspect older beds, especially in rented accommodation. Using a torch may help.

If you suspect a hotel room, don’t unpack until you are sure. Bedbugs can hitch a lift in your luggage.

If any clothes or bed linen are infested, wash them on a hot 60 degrees wash or put them in a tumble dryer on a hot setting for 30 minutes to kill any bugs.

bed bugs nursery rhyme

What about the bedtime rhyme?

Bed bugs have been bugging humans for years. They’re mentioned in ancient Greek and Roman writings and the Talmud. Most of us grew up hearing, “Night night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.” Where did it come from?

No one is sure. One popular theory is that “sleep tight” goes back to the days when a mattress was supported by ropes that could slacken and make the bed uncomfortable, but according to the Oxford English Dictionary, it means to sleep “soundly, properly, well or effectively.”

Other bloodsuckers such as fleas could also attack the hapless sleeper. You might presume that to “sleep well” meant getting through the night without providing a banquet for bloodsucking insects.


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