The heatwave has caused a mass infestation of bed bugs, but how can you prevent and get rid of them?

Bed bugs are no more than 5mm long, they are similar looking to an apple seed and their colours can vary between dark yellow, red or brown. Even though bed bugs aren’t dangerous and don’t spread any diseases, some people can have very bad reactions to them and they can be stressful to live with.

How can you spot them?

Small bugs or tiny white eggs in the crevices and joints of your mattress and furniture – use a bright torch to check for these bites on your skin

Tiny black spots on your mattress – this could be their dried poo

Mottled bedbug shells – bedbugs shed their skin as they grow

Blood spots on your sheets – these can occur if you squash a bug after it has fed An unpleasant, musty scent in your bedroom The horrible mites prefer fabric and wood so often will hide where you sleep or spend a lot of time sitting.

How can you get rid of them?

Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of and the best chance of ousting them forever is with the help of a professional.

You can contact your local council or find a local number from the British Pest Control Association.

A professional is likely to advise you to:
Wash infested clothes or bed linen at 60C, or put them in a dryer on a hot setting for 30 minutes

Use a vacuum cleaner with a hose to suck up any bugs you can see – dispose of the contents of the vacuum cleaner in a sealed bag, Consider throwing away any mattress or furniture that’s heavily infested Use plastic mattress covers.

How do I spot a bed bug bite?

Can cause itchy red bumps on the skin

Usually occur on exposed areas such as the face, neck, hands or arms

Often occur in lines across the skin

May cause a rash or fluid-filled blisters in more severe cases

Can become infected with bacteria if scratched – signs of infection include pain, increasing redness and swelling

The bites should fade within a few days but if they are very itchy you could buy a mild steroid cream or take an antihistamine.

How can you prevent bed bugs?

Inspect your mattress and bed regularly for signs of an infestation and get professional advice if you think you have bedbugs

Avoid buying second-hand mattresses and carefully inspect second-hand furniture before bringing it into your home

Keep your bedroom tidy and remove clutter


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