The adult common bed bug is an oval wingless insect, about 5mm long. They are red-brown and flat in shape.
They feed on the blood of humans. This makes them turn red-purple and they become more round in shape.
Where do they live?
Bed bugs hide themselves in any part of a bed. This includes bases, mattresses and headboards.
In serious cases they can also be found in all other parts of the room. This can be carpets and curtains to skirting boards and ceilings. They may also move on to furniture and clothing.
Adults can live for up to 18 months. They breed by laying eggs. A female can lay between 150 and 345 eggs in her life.
Signs of bedbugs:
- blood spots on bedding
- brown excrement spots
- white unhatched and hatched eggs
- large numbers of bed bugs give off a sweet almond smell
- bed bugs are not normally seen during the day
Bed bugs can move rooms through linen, clothes and furniture,
Are they a health hazard?
They are not considered to be a major pest or health hazard. Infestations can cause anxiety, stress and a lack of sleep for some people.
Bed bugs are not known to carry disease. They inject a fluid into their host to help get their blood meal. The bite is painless at the time but the skin will become irritated and inflamed. A small, hard, swollen, white welt may develop at the site of each bite which can occur in rows or batches of three or four.
Some people are sensitive to the bites and experience an allergy. This can be quite severe and need medical attention.
How can I get rid of them?
In hotels cleaning staff should be trained to identify the signs of bed bugs.
Infested bedding and furnishings should be washed on a hot temperature. In severe cases furniture will need to be removed and burnt.
It is difficult to treat bed bugs yourself and you should seek professional help.