Bed bugs are small insects that feed on human blood. They are usually active at night when people are sleeping.
Adult bed bugs have flat, rusty-red coloured oval bodies, no wings and are about the size of a ladybird. They are big enough to be easily seen, but hide in mattresses, bed bases, bedding, cracks in furniture, floors, or walls. When bed bugs feed, they swell and become brighter red. They can live for several months to over a year without feeding. They don’t jump or fly, and they crawl and move about the same speed as an ant
Look for signs of an infestation that may include:
- Itchy red bites on your body
- Small blood smears on bedding from crushed insects
- Tiny dark spots on your sheets, mattress or bed base which are their faecal droppings
- Dried remains of shed bed bug skins
Be aware that other insects, such as fleas, ticks, and mosquitos, can leave bites that look like bed bug bites. Bites alone don’t prove you have a bed bug infestation.
If you suspect you have bed bugs, you will have to conduct a thorough search of your home. Bed bugs are hard to find because they hide in, under, and around beds. They also hide inside, under and behind furniture, and in small cracks or corners in furniture, floors or walls or in carpeting close to where they feed at night.
Newly hatched bed bugs are almost transparent, and very difficult to see. Once they have fed, they become larger and are red or brown in colour which makes them easier to see. Bed bug eggs are white and about the size of two grains of salt. When laid, they are cemented to surfaces making them difficult to remove.
Bed bugs are not a result of poor housekeeping. Anyone can have bed bugs. People bring bed bugs into their homes unknowingly in infested luggage, backpacks, purses, furniture, bedding, shoes or clothing. They can also travel between apartments through cracks in walls and floors.
Where do I look?
Bed bugs can hide anywhere but usually close to where people sleep and most commonly at the head of the bed. Search for bed bugs by inspecting your bed and bedding each time you remove the sheets for washing. Check around the edge of the mattress and bed base, skirting boards, in seams and under buttons and tags. Remove the thin cover material on the underside of your bed base, a common hiding place, and look inside. If you have a headboard, or bed frame, carefully inspect the corners, cracks and screw holes for bed bugs.
Bed bugs can hide in nearby bedroom furniture such as, curtains, alarm clocks, TV’s bed side tables and dressers. Remove the drawers and look inside in corners, in cracks, screw holes, and under each piece of furniture.
Bed bugs are very difficult to get rid of because they are hard to find and kill. Making your home bed bug-free will take time and effort from you aswell. No matter how much you are willing to pay a pest control company you will still have to follow these guidelines to ensure you get rid of them.
The best way to eliminate bed bugs is early detection, regular cleaning and inspecting, and targeted pesticide use by a pest control professional. This includes regular cleaning and vacuuming, steam cleaning to kill bed bugs, laundering and drying clothes on high heat, and precisely applied pesticides directly on to any infestation.
Bed bug elimination is generally a 5 step process:
Thorough cleaning of the bedroom and wardrobes is always recommended. The cleaner the room has become the easier it will be to eradicate the infestation. Thorough vacuuming, or even steam cleaning will help eradicate them before insecticides are applied. Pay particular attention to edges of carpets, any cracks or crevices, corners or anywhere that an insect can seek harbourage. Always ensure that the vacuum cleaner is thoroughly emptied and cleaned after use to ensure you don’t spread them elsewhere. Clothing should be bagged in sealed bin liners and dry cleaned or washed before re-introduction to the room. Don’t put them in another room.
2. Professional control
You will most likely need a qualified pest control technician to help you eliminate a bed bug infestation. Success requires knowledge and experience in finding infested areas and using a combination of control methods to eliminate them. Elimination methods will include a combination of non-chemical and chemical controls available only to a trained pest control technician. We will give you instructions on how to prepare for an inspection and treatment of your property. Failure to follow instructions could potentially spread the infestation to other areas within the home or rooms. There are many non-chemical measures available to help eliminate bed bugs and we will ask for your help in eliminating the infestation. You may be asked to vacuum floors, beds and furniture, launder linens and clothes, and install mattress encasements covers, and remove clutter.
3. Remove clutter
Clutter provides bed bugs a place to hide. Remove it and have a thorough spring clean. Follow the PCO’s directions to prevent spreading bed bugs. In the future, keep everything off the floor including old magazines, books, clothes, and keepsakes. Discard all unnecessary and unneeded items. Do not
store things under or around the bed. Place all discarded items in sealed plastic bags and take outside to the refuse bin or tip.
Clean areas where bed bugs are likely to hide. Use soap and warm water on surfaces that will not be damaged by moisture. Clean or vacuum bedding, linens, curtains, rugs, carpets, and clothes. Wash items in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Items that cannot be washed (like wool or fabrics that may shrink, or shoes) may be placed in a dryer on high heat for 30 minutes. Check to make sure high heat will not damage all items first.
Dry cleaning will kill bed bugs but you must deliver clothes in a sealed plastic bag and inform the dry cleaner the items may be infested with bed bugs. Some dry cleaners may refuse infested items because they could escape and be taken home by other customers.
Scrub mattress seams and stitching along the mattress edge with a stiff brush to dislodge bed bugs and their eggs. Vacuum by scraping the seams and stitching with the crevice tool attachment, or while using a stiff brush to loosen eggs. Vacuum mattresses, bed frames, furniture, floors and carpets. Pay special attention to cracks, corners and hiding places.
After cleaning the mattress and base, cover them with bed bug proof mattress and base covers (encasements) that have been tested and proven to control bed bugs. These tight fitting bags keep bed bugs from getting into or out of a mattress or base and must be bed bug proof and rip-resistant. We can order good quality encasements for you or they can be purchased online, although not cheap they are better than replacing your mattress and will help prevent re-infestation. Avoid plastic encasements that are uncomfortable and may tear easily. Tightly zip the encasements closed so that bed bugs do not crawl through a gap at the end of the zipper. Leave the encasements on for a minimum of one year.
Vacuum carpets, especially along edges and where the carpets meet the walls.
Prevent the spread of bed bugs. Do not resell or donate infested furniture or clothing. If you throw infested furniture away, make it unusable by destroying it or slashing the upholstery. Seal infested items in plastic bags before moving to prevent spreading bed bugs as you take them out of the house. After vacuuming, immediately place the vacuum cleaner bag in a sealed plastic bag and dispose of it in an outdoor refuse container. Bed bugs can crawl out of vacuum cleaner bags.
Discard infested items that cannot be cleaned. If you decide to dispose of your mattress or base, take them directly to a refuse tip or recycling centre and ensure they are not re-sold or given away to others.
You are likely to require several chemical treatments to eradicate bed bugs permanently from your home. For this reason our costs are extremely competitive and are charged per treatment so as to ensure you only pay for necessary treatments. We will supply monitoring devices between treatments to allow you to see if any bed bugs remain and help determine if more treatments are necessary.