Bed bugs have been in our beds and interrupting our sleep for centuries.
Many blame our love of international travel. Bed bugs don’t pose any harm to us, but itching and the thought of sharing your bed with these tiny unwanted night crawlers gives us all a shiver down our spine. (Are you itching just reading this?)
What bed bugs look like:
- Adults are small (about 5 mm – 9 mm), have brown flat, oval shaped bodies that change colour after a blood meal to a purplish-red colour
- Young bed bugs, are lighter in colour and smaller (about 1.5 mm)
- You may find empty shells of bed bugs as they grow from one stage to the next.
- They are visible to the eye.
- The wings of bed bugs are functionless, so they don't fly. But they can crawl, pretty quickly!.
- Bed bugs leave faecal spots of digested blood in areas adjacent to the feeding site after they eaten.
Where bed bugs like to spend their time:
The best way to locate bedbugs is to look for signs of them around the mattress, box springs, bed frame, and areas around the bed. Not through their bites, (which are often mistaken for mosquito bites, flea bites, or hives).
What to look out for:
- Dark spots on or around bedding – the size of a dot. Which are bed bug excrement and may bleed on the fabric when dampened.
- Eggs or eggshells, which are tiny (about 1 mm) and white.
- Skins that the young shed and leave behind as they grow larger.
- Live bed bugs.
- Rusty – red stains on bed sheets / mattresses caused by crushed bed bugs.
Bed bug removal – non-chemical
- Heat: Washing the bedding alone won’t kill the bed bugs. Put all infested bedding into a tumble dryer at the highest temperature possible – ideally 45 degrees C for an hour.
- Cold treatments – below 0 degrees, ideally for at least four days.
- Cover the mattress, pillow and box spring in dust / allergen preventing covers to both trap bed bugs and help locate the infestation.
If the above is not possible and / or does not work, it is probably best call in pest control to remove the little mites.