Bed bugs

Identifying bedbugs

A bedbug

Bed bugs are wingless, oval-shaped, flattened insects, usually about 6mm long. When they have not eaten, they are pale brown in colour but become reddish brown to mahogany when fully fed on blood. The head has large antennae and the mouthparts are well adapted for piercing the skin. Young bugs (nymphs) are nearly colourless, becoming brownish as they mature and moult five times before adulthood. The feet have claws and the legs are well developed. Bed bugs can crawl up vertical surfaces of wood, paper and plaster, but are unable to crawl up smooth polished surfaces.

Book pest control

Where are they found?

You can often find bedbugs:

  • under carpets
  • behind loose wallpaper
  • behind wall pictures
  • behind door frames
  • around the arm joints of armchairs and settees
  • in the seams of mattresses

Bedbugs can crawl vertically up wood, paper and plaster, but not smooth polished surfaces

Their droppings look like black dots, which can also be a tell-tale sign. Bites from fleas are usually restricted to below the knees, bites more evenly distributed on the human body are more frequently caused by bedbugs

Home treatments for bedbugs

An adult must be present throughout each visit. Treatments in your home involve:

  • two visits, three weeks apart
  • treating bedrooms and other affected rooms
  • an advice sheet with information about the insecticide we used, where we placed it and any special precautions needed
  • taking measures to protect children and pets

How to prepare your home for bedbug treatment

Before the treatment you should:

  • remove pictures, posters, mirrors etc from walls
  • move all beds, furniture, and other items away from the walls
  • remove headboards from beds
  • empty any bed storage compartments or drawers
  • remove all items from under the bed
  • remove bedding from mattress
  • empty wardrobes, drawers, cupboards and beds of all linen and clothing and launder
  • place any items which cannot be laundered in thick bin liners and seal tightly
  • open and shake-out books, papers, CD/DVDs and videos
  • lift all carpets around the edge of the room and leave them loose
  • thoroughly clean and vacuum all rooms and empty the vacuum bag into the external bin immediately

Do not move anything out of the rooms to be treated, apart from rubbish and clothing that will need to be washed

Before the first and second visit any clothes or bed linen must be either be:

  • hot washed at a minimum of 60 degrees C
  • tumble dried at a minimum of 60 degrees C for at least 30 minutes 
  • placed in a deep freezer for at least three days
  • dry-cleaned

Other things to do before the treatment starts

  • unplug all non-essential electrical items
  • leave rooms to be treated and take all pets with you

After the treatment, you should:

  • wait three hours before re-entering the rooms
  • open the windows for an hour
  • turn on electrical items after the rooms have been aired
  • do not vacuum, wipe or polish any treated rooms for at least two weeks
  • sleep in your bed as normal - it helps to eradicate the bedbugs

If you wish to get a new bed, do not do so until the infestation is completely eradicated (which normally takes a minimum of two weeks and sometimes longer).