If you’re getting clusters of red bite marks on your body, particularly your torso, you could be the victim of blood-sucking bed bugs.
These parasitic insects love to share our beds and they feed exclusively on blood. So when it comes to a bed bug diet plan, you’re the main course.
Bed bugs can get into your home by hitching a ride on clothes, personal possessions and luggage. Once they’ve moved in, they like to stay close to you – their food source. This is why they often live on and in mattresses and around your bed frame.
You may not realise at first that you’ve been bitten by bed bugs. Marks generally appear a few days later and begin to itch. The irritation can last a couple of weeks.
Signs of bed bug infestation
Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are the most common insects that infest beds, and they’ve been a worldwide problem for centuries. They’re small but still visible – about a quarter of an inch long, with two antennae and six legs.
Before feeding, the oval-shaped bodies of bed bugs are flattish and brown. After feeding, they swell and look red – thanks to your blood they’ve gorged on.
A significant bed bug population can form small groups that are easier to see in the folds of mattresses and sheets.
Besides spotting the insects themselves, other signs of a bed bug infestation include:
- Brownish stains – the insects’ blood-filled faecal matter.
- Blood-spots on your sheets.
- Musty smell – from the insects’ sweat glands.
- Tiny bed bug eggs or eggshells.
Bed bug bites
Bed bugs may go unnoticed because their bites don’t hurt and can be difficult to distinguish from other insect bites.
Signs you’ve been bitten by bed bugs include red marks with a darker centre, often arranged in clusters or lines, on the neck, shoulders, back, arms or legs. The bites may take as long as two weeks to appear in some people.
Bed bug hiding places
Even though you may see only a few bed bugs, their actual number is probably much higher. When not feeding, they like to stay in hiding during the day in places such as:
- Small cracks on the bed frame or headboard.
- Electrical appliances.
- Behind wallpaper.
Can bed bugs make you ill?
Bed bugs aren’t known to transmit disease. However, their bites, although painless, can trigger infection, allergies and other problems.
Potential health issues from bed bug bites include:
- Allergic reaction such as rashes, caused by the insect’s saliva.
- Chronic blood loss and anaemia from multiple bites.
- Infection as a result of constantly scratching your skin.
And the thought of mini-monsters crawling around in your bed ravenous for your blood can lead to psychological issues resulting in stress and sleep deprivation.
Risks of DIY bed bug elimination
Bed bug infestations are difficult to eradicate without professional help, and misguided DIY attempts may do more harm than good.
Amateur use of pesticides is highly unlikely to be effective, and toxic ingredients may pose a risk of harming yourself, members of your family, or pets. A further problem is that bed bugs have evolved to resist some insecticides and incorrect use of chemicals causes the bugs to scatter.
Other risks of trying to get rid of bed bugs on your own include:
- The bed bug colony spreading further around your home.
- The bugs increasing their resistance to commonly used chemicals.
How professionals get rid of bed bugs
Bed bugs live for several months on average. During that time, females may lay hundreds of eggs. The young develop quickly and can produce three or more generations a year.
With access to professional-standard materials and equipment, licensed pest controllers have the technical expertise needed to eliminate bed bugs. And they know all the places bed bugs like to hide when not feasting on your blood.
Besides high-grade insecticides in powder or spray form, pest control companies may also use chemical-free heat treatment technology or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum machines to eradicate bed bugs.
The professional bed bug control process entails:
- Identifying areas of infestation.
- Assessment of the severity of the infestation.
- Implementing a treatment action plan.
- Monitoring the situation with follow-up visits if needed.
Pests, Birds and Bugs Ltd
If you live in Hampshire or Dorset and are having problems with bed bugs or any other type of pest infestation, call Pests, Birds and Bugs Limited on 07388 892414 or contact us online for a free quote and speedy solution.
Our pest control technicians are accredited by the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) and qualified by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH).