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Bed bug activity has doubled year-on-year

Following heightened awareness of bed bugs after last year’s infestations in Paris, Rentokil Pest Control has seen a 122 per cent increase year-on-year in confirmed bed bug activity (Q4 2023 vs. Q4 2022).

To help people spot these creatures and hopefully live bed bug-free, the experts have shared advice on what to look for, and what to do if you find them.

Paul Blackhurst, Technical Academy Head at Rentokil Pest Control said: “Following the increase in bed bugs we reported last year, we have seen a continued rise in callouts, which has exceeded expected seasonal patterns. Whilst this is likely, at least in part, driven by increased awareness of these pests amongst the public, thankfully risk of encountering bed bugs in the home, and when visiting businesses like hotels, restaurants, and theatres remains relatively low.  It is still however worth being vigilant and taking some easy precautions to help prevent  a bed bug infestation from occurring in your home.”

How to spot bed bugs

Adult bed bugs typically measure around 4-5 mm in length, similar to the size of a small apple seed. Following a meal, they may grow even larger, making them easier to spot while alive. Their presence is often indicated by telltale signs; such as small, dark bloodstains resembling mildew on mattress edges, dark faecal pellets, shed skins, and a distinctively sweet, sickly odour.

Bed bug bites are commonly found on exposed skin areas like the arms, legs, face, and neck, sometimes resulting in skin reactions such as painful rashes and allergic responses. Infestations not only cause distress to individuals but can also pose a risk to the reputation and therefore profitability of businesses.

Contrary to their name, bed bugs are not only found in bedrooms. They are prolific breeders and will conceal themselves in inaccessible places, such as small cracks and crevices, behind wallpaper, and under skirting boards. Moreover, they can seek refuge in upholstery such as sofas, curtains, and chairs, extending their presence to unexpected places such as the seats of planes, trains, and coaches. These cunning pests are adept hitchhikers, readily latching onto humans for transportation, driven by their attraction to body heat, CO2, and their insatiable need for their next blood meal.

Found bed bugs? Here are the steps to take

While do-it-yourself treatment options can temporarily reduce their numbers, they are unlikely to completely eradicate the infestation. One female adult can lay 1-10 eggs a day, and 200-500 eggs in their lifetime. DIY measures involve inspecting the room for live insects, washing infected textiles at high temperatures, exposing them to high heat in the dryer, and vacuuming the area.

However, vacuuming can only remove a small number of individual pests and does not ensure complete elimination. Additionally, finding and killing one or even a few bed bugs does not guarantee that the infestation has been completely addressed.

If you are unfortunate enough to have a bed bug infestation then professional pest controllers can offer a range of non toxic and effective solutions, including steam and heat treatments.


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