Creatures living in your bed are usually the last thought on your mind when you settle beneath the duvet for a good night’s sleep.
We have all heard of them and think that they’re either a myth or that they live in someone else’s bed, not our own nice, clean one.
Bed bugs aren’t particular about where they sleep; they are just looking for their next source of food.
But are bed bugs dangerous? In particularly rare and extreme cases where they are left untreated for long periods of time, infection and disease can occur.
Fortunately for us, the worst that can happen is mild discomfort and irritation.
Their bite itches for a few days and once treated, soon disappears.
So no, they are not really dangerous, usually annoying, gross and sometimes expensive to get rid of.
What are bed bugs?
They are insects. Tiny parasites that feed on the blood of mammals. Unfortunately for us, we are mammals!
They measure less than 5mm long, are visible to the naked eye and have dark, narrow bodies.
This enables them to creep into the warm, dark creases of your bed-linen and mattress, and wait for dinnertime.
How do you know that you have bed bugs?
The first sign is usually itchiness from a bite. This will be surrounded by a red wheal that will fade after a few days.
Then you will need to search for them. Remember, they hide in crevices so check everywhere.
You might not see an actual bed bug, but a sign that one has been there.
Maybe you will see a reddish, brown spot where one has been crushed, some tiny droppings or some yellowish skin that they have shed.
Has your bedroom developed an unusual, musty smell? This could be coming from bed bugs.
How to get rid of bed bugs
This can be a lengthy process but the worst part is over, you have found and isolated them.
- Remove and wash ALL bed linen, on the hottest setting possible. If it can’t be washed, place it in the tumble dryer for 30 minutes on a high setting.
- Anything that can’t be washed immediately needs to be tied tightly in a plastic bag to prevent re-infection.
- Vacuum EVERYTHING thoroughly. Dispose of the bag and clean the cylinder as soon as you have finished.
- Treat the area. There are many chemical and non-chemical pesticides available. Follow the instructions on the packaging, ensuring you give it sufficient time to dry out before re-making the bed.
- Check regularly. You may have missed one or two bed bugs and will need to treat the area again.
- Invest in bed bug proof covers for the bed and mattress. They will lock any creatures in, making them easier for you to find a second infestation before you’re bitten again.
Hopefully, this will have dealt with the problem.
If you still have trouble, it’s time to either invest in a new mattress or call in the help of a professional exterminator.
Are bed bugs only found in beds?
Sadly, no. They are sneaky and will hide almost anywhere that there is dark and warmth.
Curtains, loose wallpaper, around crumbly plaster, and electric sockets are favourite hiding places.
Try and keep on top of any DIY jobs, vacuum regularly and keep clutter to a minimum to discourage the little blighters.
How best to treat a bed bug bite
Don’t scratch it! Easier said than done, we know.
Always wash it with soapy water to prevent infection spreading and try an anti-itch cream from the pharmacy.
Taking a one-a-day antihistamine will help too, as will resting a bag of ice on the affected area.
If you have a cluster of bites in one area, as bed bugs are prone to do, you might find that seeing the doctor for some corticosteroids will help the healing process.
We hope that we have helped you prevent an attack of bed bugs but if we haven’t, we hope that we help you eradicate them for good.
Going to bed and getting a quality night’s sleep is invaluable should not be disturbed by anything!
Goodnight, and don’t let the bed bugs bite……. sorry.