What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small, brownish, flattened insects which feed solely on blood.
Although bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) prefer feeding on humans, they will also bite other warm-blooded animals.
Bed bugs are found all over the world and in the last few decades have become a major problem in the UK private rental and hospitality sectors.
These insects are extremely adaptable and their resilience means they are responsible for causing many sleepless nights for guests, tenants and homeowners.
Signs include irritating bites, stains on sheets, and egg cases. Although not known to carry disease, the irritation and distress they cause is enough to make them a significant problem.
They are active nocturnally and live in small cracks and crevices. At night they find us via the carbon dioxide we emit when sleeping.
A female bed bug will produce between 1- 7 eggs per day for about 10 days after a single blood meal. She will then have to feed again to produce more eggs. It generally takes a month or two for the life cycle to complete from egg to full-grown bed bug. Eggs can be laid singly or in groups and a wandering female can lay an egg anywhere in a room.
Once the bed bug has had a blood feed it will return to a crack and crevice to find harbourage.
As they have expanded from the feed they sometimes cannot fit back into the crevice they had been in. To fit into the gap they will expel a black liquid. This is haemoglobin and waste blood from the feed, the iron in the blood creates the black spotting effect.
This spotting can sometimes be the first indicator of bed bug activity.
Where to look for bed bugs?
Places to look if you think you might have bed bugs.
- Bed frame
- Seams of the mattresses
- Under the carpets
- Behind switches
- Along skirting boards