Approx size: 5mm long with a flat round body.

Colour: reddish brown becoming a purple after feeding.

Bedbugs are active at night and crawl or are passively transported in clothing, luggage, furniture, books or other objects. Infestations of bedbugs usually occur in bedrooms or the lounge. Bedbugs will hide where they have easy access to their host. They might hide in places such as the frame of the bed, mattress, furniture or behind the skirting board.

Bedbugs reach their peak numbers in early autumn and activities decrease with the onset of cold weather.

How bedbugs affect you

The bite of a bedbug often gives rise to a hard, whitish swelling. People react differently to the bites and some can even become immune. The excrement of the bedbug gives a characteristic speckled appearance to the places where they are found.

There are different factors that show if you have a bedbug infestation. These are:

  • Blood spotting on the bed
  • Brown excrement spots close to where they live and on bedding
  • Whitish/opaque un-hatched and hatched eggs
  • In heavy infestations, a sweet almond smell is common
  • Bedbugs are not normally seen during the day

Bedbugs are not known to carry disease, but they do feed on human blood, usually at night whilst people are asleep in their beds. They inject a fluid into their host to help get their blood meal. These bites cause irritation and itching. Some people are particularly sensitive to the bites and experience an allergy and inflammation, especially to the arms and shoulders. This can be quite severe and require medical attention.

How do they live?

Bedbug eggs are cemented to the surface of the furniture, etc., often in large numbers. Temperature and the availability of food have a profound effect on egg production and under ideal conditions can be almost continuous, at a rate of about three per day. The eggs hatch to produce a nymph just over 1mm long and like all nymphal stages appear to be similar to the adults apart from size and colour. The nymph requires one full blood meal before moulting to the next stage. Development from egg to adult and the duration of adult life varies according to temperature and the availability of food. At 18-20 degrees Celsius, nymphs feed about every ten days and the adults weekly. If necessary, both can survive long periods without food. In unheated rooms where the temperature drops below 13 degrees Celsius in the winter, egg laying and feeding stops and the population declines as eggs and young nymphs die.

Practical advice

It is unwise to attempt to treat an infestation yourself. However, by following the advice below you can assist the professional pest controller to treat the room(s) effectively with an insecticide.

What you can do (before treatment)

  1. Loosen carpet around the edge of the roHoho Do not remove unless instructed to do so.
  2. Take down items such as pictures, mirrors, light fixtures, but do not remove them from the room.
  3. Carefully unscrew and loosen electric sockets and switch covers.
  4. Strip all beds of linen, bag before removing from the room and hot wash.
  5. Ensure the bedroom floor is clear of obstructions, bag before removing and destroy any rubbish that may contain bugs.
  6. DO NOT remove furniture from the room.

After treatment

The room can be restored to its original condition, bedding replaced and pictures, etc, put back.