Bed bugs have been around for thousands of years and feed primarily on blood. They are attracted to warmth, CO2 (exhaled breath) and a blood meal. Once a blood meal is found, generally a person sleeping, bedbugs will then stay close by, hence the name.
Bedbugs cannot pass on any pathogens but can cause untold stress, as well cause irritating bites that may itch. At a point in the early 1940s they were almost eradicated in the developed world but have increased in prevalence since 1995. This is likely due to pesticide resistance, governmental bans on effective pesticides, and international travel. The rise in bedbug cases across the U.K is now at it’s worse than it’s been in the last 20 years.
Signs of Bed bugs
There are a few different indicators that you can look for to identify a bedbug infestation.
• The most obvious sign is seeing the insects themselves. Adults are 4-5mm in length, have a flattened oval like body and are brown/Redish in colour after having a recent blood meal.
• Seeing adults will be difficult at the intial stages of an infestation as they are excellent at hiding. They will usually hide in cracks and crevices close to their host so special attention should be paid to head boards, wooden bed frames and slates, as well as floor beeding or skirting boards.
• Black spots or blackened stains on mattresses, bed frames, walls, clothes draws, book spines or behind picture frames even are also good indicators of a bed bug problem.
• Blood marks on the bedding can indicate a sign of bedbugs, as well as of course bites. Bedbug bites look no different from any other insects bite so it can be difficult to identify from these alone. Bites may appear anywhere on the body but if several bites are seen in a row, usually on the upper torso then this is a good indicator of the little critters.
• A small number of people may react with skin irritations and rashes but most bites are no more harmful than other insect bites, with some going unnoticed.
• Bed bugs cannot pass on any harmful diseases or pathogens.