June 3rd, 2021 by
5 things you may not know about those most dreaded creatures
Understatement of the year: bed bugs are nobody’s idea of fun. While all pests are so-named due to their undesirable presence, few are quite so skin-crawling to consider (literally) as bed bugs. These teeny critters live in your bed and suck your blood. Nasty.
Unfortunately, we all have to consider things in life that are unpleasant and if we want to keep our beds bug-free (or at least know how to get rid of them if they take up residence), it’s a good idea to arm ourselves with some knowledge.
Bed bugs are creatures that we don’t like to think about, but we all have an idea of what they are and what they do. Some of these things will be accurate but many may be based on myths and misconceptions so here are 5 facts about bed bugs that everyone really needs to know.
1. Bed bugs are not limited to beds
Despite the name, bed bugs can actually live on any soft surface. This includes sofas, chairs, vehicle seats, clothes, towels etc. While they could technically live in carpets and curtains, they do need access to their food source – blood – so they tend to stick to places where there is good contact with a host. Beds and soft furnishings provide those ideal habitats.
Bed bugs tend to be spread by people picking them up from outside the home and bringing them back. Commonly, hotels and public transport are the main risks for catching bed bugs. To be absolutely sure you haven’t caught anything, wash all clothes when you return from a trip (even if they haven’t been worn) and only unpack luggage on a hard surface. It’s impossible to completely remove the risk, but this can help nip any potential problems in the bud.
2. Bed bugs live all year round
Indoor pests are not subject to the effects of temperature change and weather in the same way that outdoor ones, such as wasps, are. This means that they can happily survive all year round, even in winter. That said, their numbers increase significantly in the summer. Their breeding accelerates in the warmer months, plus as our activity increases and we move around more outside the home, the risk of spreading them increases as well.
3. Bed bugs are equally attracted to clean and dirty sheets
That’s because dirt isn’t of any interest to them; the only thing they’re interested in is a source of blood. It is this that is the determining factor in their choice of habitat, not dirt. The good news is that, if you get them, it doesn’t mean that your sheets were dirty. The bad news is, washing your sheets regularly won’t do much to prevent an infestation either. There is a lot of social stigma surrounding bed bugs which means some people may be embarrassed about seeking treatment, but there really is nothing to be embarrassed about. They can be found in spotless homes and five-star hotels.
Conversely, if you notice your sheets start to feel gritty, this could be an indication that you have bed bugs as their shed skin, droppings, and eggs accumulate in the sheets until you can feel them on your skin.
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4. Bed bugs are not picky in their choice of host
That is, they are not limited to humans; they are also happy to feed on dogs, cats, hamsters, or indeed any warm-blooded animal. Unlike fleas, bed bugs don’t live on their host and aren’t adapted for climbing through swathes of thick hair. This means they do prefer humans as our lack of fur and hair make it easier to access our skin, but they can and will feed on your pets in a pinch. Be aware and check pet beds as well as your own for signs of them.
5. Bed bugs are tough to eradicate
Given what we’ve told you already, it will certainly come as a blow that not only are they thoroughly unpleasant; they are also notoriously difficult to get rid of. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse.
They have a number of advantages that make it hard: they’re small, they’re adept at hiding away in dark spots out of sight, they’re adaptable and can grow resistant to pest control measures quite quickly.
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It's not as simple as washing bedding as they will be living in the mattress, the pillows, the duvet, the headboard, and even the carpet, so you need some proper pest control treatments. Smoke bombs are great because they can penetrate into the tiniest crevice. Bed bug killer sprays can be applied directly to the bed, and clever solutions like Protector C spray interfere with the breeding life cycle, stopping it in its track. Due to their numbers and ability to survive, keep re-treating for a few weeks to ensure you’ve got them all. Otherwise, you’ll end up being reinfested within a few weeks – especially in summer!
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