Types of pest

Bed bugs

Bedbugs are flat, oval shaped, blood feeding insects that are normally reddish brown in colour. This can change from almost pink to a more purplish colour before and after feeding. The adult bedbug is approximately 5mm in length, and has three stages in its life cycle, egg > nymph > adult. The bedbug has five growing stages and at each stage looks like the adult.

The mouth parts are well adapted for piercing and sucking. Bedbugs feed on human blood and only need to feed every 3 to 5 days. The adult bedbug may live between 9 - 18 months at normal room temperature of 18 - 20°C providing there is a host available. Generally, if room temperature is high, the life expectancy of the adult bedbug decreases.

At lower temperatures bedbugs become lazier in their movements and their growth will slow greatly. In this condition, they show good resistance to starvation. Both male and female have been known to survive a year without feeding.

Where and how do they live?

Bedbugs are more active at night, and infestations occur mainly in the bed-room and lounge areas. These insects need to be where a host is going to be, for an extended period.

If in the bedroom, they will come out at night while the host is sleeping, from hiding places such as the frame and headboard of the bed, behind any loose or peeling wallpaper, cracks in wood-work or plaster, from behind ward-robes or bedside cabinets.

In the lounge area, they favour soft furnishings and are often found around the arm joints of armchairs and settees. The bedbug feeds on the host by finding a bare patch of skin, through which it forces the feeding tube of its mouthparts, whilst at the same time injecting the host with its saliva. The saliva contains a chemical that prevents the blood from clotting. It is this substance that causes the itch and swelling associated with the 'bite'.

Although most people suffer irritation and loss of sleep through being bitten by these insects, some people appear unaffected. This can sometimes be caused by long term exposure to an infestation where the body no longer ‘reacts’ to the insect’s saliva.

Why are they a problem?

The bite from this insect can be very irritating. If they are allowed to multiply unchecked, numbers could become such, that the host/s may become anaemic through blood loss, although this is rare.

How do they breed?

After feeding, the bedbug returns to its hiding place to digest its meal. It then mates; the female lays eggs that remain attached to her. The eggs are usually laid within the hiding place. During her lifetime the female can lay up to 200 eggs, at a rate of between 4-5 per day, depending on temperature and other environmental factors.

What can I do to get rid of bedbugs?

You will need professional help to get rid of these insects. In order to control this problem, the rooms where the host/s sleep, and lounge areas will need to be treated with insecticide. This will include beds, soft furnishings, and other areas where these insects are likely to hide.

When bedbugs come out from their hiding places to feed, they walk over the insecticide and die shortly afterwards. You should be aware that often it is necessary to remove or make holes in the material normally found under divan beds and lounge furniture, to provide an effective treatment.

It is also possible that the premises may need more than one treatment to control the problem. Redecorating, removal or introduction of new furniture should not be done for some time after treatment in order that any hatching bugs will walk over the insecticide and so prevent re-infestation.

What can I do to prevent bedbugs in my home?

If you are considering buying secondhand furniture, check it thoroughly before bringing it home. Tell-tale signs apart from seeing the insects will be spotting on the furniture, usually on the back of the item, or in or near joints of drawers. The spots are the droppings of the bedbug, if these are moistened they will smear when rubbed.

How we can help

Request a pest control service online

We will treat your home with an insecticide spray. You can help us by clearing furniture away from the edges of rooms to be treated and by removing any bed linen before we visit. A single spray treatment of beds, soft furnishings and surrounding areas will be made. All treated areas should remain undisturbed for four to seven days.

We aim to respond to all requests for service regarding bedbugs in domestic premises within five working days.

Chemical safety

Where a product is used to treat an infestation in your home, our officer will leave you with written information about the chemical. This also contains instructions on what to do in case of an emergency. All pesticides are applied by our qualified and experienced staff to ensure the safety of the public and to minimise damage to the environment.

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