Bed Bugs are a small, flat, reddish coloured insect of about 6mm length. During the day they hide in crevices in furniture, bed frames, skirting boards etc., and at night they come out to feed. Unfortunately, they feed on human blood, and they will also bite pet animals.
The signs of bed bugs are bites on the body (some people can get a severe allergic reaction), little black dots on wallpaper near the bed (bed bug excrement can look like a fountain pen has been flicked) and cast skins which look like little empty Bed Bugs. The skins are cast because Bed Bugs outgrow their skin about 5 times before becoming mature adults and with each moult the old skin is left behind. Bed bugs are becoming increasingly common and they are easily transferred from one house to another in furniture, bedding or luggage. They need a little warmth to breed, so they will not develop in very cold rooms or outhouses.
However, they can live for up to a year without food, so even furniture that has been in a cold room for several months can come alive when the heating is turned up. Bed bugs only come out to feed during the hours of darkness, and spend the rest of the time in hiding. Simply spraying around the bed with a can of insecticide will not remove the infestation.
Are They Really Bed Bugs?
There are some very similar insects which affect birds' nests and which sometimes enter houses (martin bugs). Positive identification is needed before any treatment is carried out.
What Can Be Done to Control Them?
Certainly call a professional to deal with bed bug infestations. An inspection of the house to locate all the hiding places is essential. The most likely rooms to be affected will be bedrooms, but other rooms may be affected, particularly if pets or children sleep in them. The most suitable treatment will usually be to spray the walls, furniture and skirting boards in affected rooms, however insecticide does not always work and a heat treatment may be required.
Regular changing and washing of bed linen will help a little in the control of bed bugs, although they generally hide in the frame of the bed and not in the sheets. Dry cleaning of linen is the preferred measure rather than domestic washing machines. If you do choose to clean bedding at home wash your linens at the hottest temperature you feel comfortable with and in line with the manufacturer's guidelines. If you are afraid that will ruin your linens, wash them in the hottest temperature possible and dry them in a hot dryer (140°F) for 20 minutes. This includes all linens, sheets, pillows, pillowcases, bed skirts and blankets. Regular vacuum cleaning, particularly of the mattress, and along the edges of skirting boards, door frames and the sides and back of the bed will also help, but again will not eradicate the infestation. Be wary of buying second-hand beds or mattresses as these can be harbouring infestations of bed bugs.
Bed Bug Treatments
1/ Our service is to attend and inspect your home for bed bugs and to treat affected rooms with an insecticidal spray if it is safe to do so. You, your family and pets must vacate the property during the treatment and remain outside treated areas for at least two hours until the spray dries and to avoid inhalation of any mist. If you re-enter the premises within this time, the treatment may be compromised and you could be putting your health at risk.
2/ Our fee depends on the number of rooms affected and which treatment is carried out. If more rooms are affected than are paid for, you can either pay for the additional rooms before any treatment will commence.
3/ To minimise customer inconvenience, we undertake spray treatments between 09.00am and 4.00pm however unfortunately we cannot offer more specific timed appointments.
4/ We are only legally permitted to apply insecticides if the pest is confirmed as present. Occasionally where there are no obvious signs, we will need to lay monitor traps and return to check at a future date to confirm if an infestation is present. Our initial treatment fee covers this work, but you will have to pay again if a treatment is then required.
5/ We appreciate how unpleasant a bed bug problem is and that now that you have contacted us, that you will be anxious to have your home treated as soon as possible. Before you book an appointment please ensure you have allowed time to prepare your property and will be present when we call to avoid the disappointment and distress caused if either you miss our visit or our technician is forced to decline to treat due to inadequate preparation.
6/ Thankfully when all required pre and post preparation treatment instructions are followed, bed bug treatments have a high success rate and re-treatments are rarely required, unless a heavy infestation has been present for a considerable time.
7/ You will need to follow these pre and post treatment instructions:
a. All electrical equipment needs to be un-plugged in rooms to be treated.
b. All bedding and clothing must be bagged and sealed ready for laundry at over 60 degrees.
c. All furniture in rooms to be treated must be moved back from the walls (we cannot do this for you and you must do it before we arrive on site) with all drawers present emptied and open ready for spraying.
d. All carpets must be vacuumed and any belongings cleared from the floor and pictures removed from walls.
e. All beds must be stripped with mattresses removed and stacked against a wall ready for spraying.
f. Any bed drawers must be removed and empty.
g. We recommend any split or damaged divans or mattresses be replaced before treatment, as this is the most common reason for treatment failure.
h. Any fish tanks must be covered up and sealed.
8/ Moving beds and lifting large mattresses ready for spraying can be heavy work and can breach the manual handling requirements for employees, which is why you need to do this before we arrive. You may need two people and / or assistance from family, friends or social services to help you prepare your property. Please ensure this is in place before making a booking. If you are unable to arrange the movement of furniture yourself then please advise us on booking as we may be able to assist.
9/ For our treatments to work, all affected rooms must be used as normal. This is to provide a natural environment for the insects to feed on and come into contact with the treatment. Treatment usually takes approximately 14 days but it can take longer and your property could become re-infested if the original source was not within your home. On rare occasions where additional visits are required for whatever reason, a further course of chargeable treatment, where fees apply, may be offered.
10/ If we identify a potential infestation outside of your property boundary or within communal building fabric or linked floors or lofts, where we believe the bed bugs may be coming from as the source, we will advise you and notify the relevant local authority on your behalf, as they have the powers to take any necessary action.
11/ You must advise us on arrival and before any treatment is commenced if there is any reason why the property cannot be sprayed with an approved insecticide.