As lockdown restrictions have eased, Brits are being warned about a rise in bed bugs – with a pest control businesses witnessing a 75 per cent rise in callouts, compared to last year.
The steep increase is due to bed bugs being “great hitchikers” that can hide in small crevices and, therefore, can move between homes, hotels, and offices by travelling on clothing, furniture, bedding and luggage, say experts.
Bedding firm, MattressNextDay, enlisted the expertise of Vicki Sims, managing director of Lady Bug Pest Control, who has revealed the top ten tips for preventing the critters in your home.
Here’s the top ten ways to prevent bed bugs:
1. Bed bugs prefer a dirty environment over a clean one, so make sure to wash your bedding and sheets at least once a week to avoid a build-up of bacteria.
2. Make sure to keep your home clutter-free and tidy, as the more objects you own, the more opportunities for bed bugs to hide. Plus, clutter increases the difficulty in eliminating bed bugs once they’ve been established.
3. You should also vacuum at least once a week to remove any potential bed bugs from travelling further. Make sure to hoover all hiding hotspots, such as skirting boards, under sofa cushions and under the bed.
For an easy way to stay on top of Leicestershire’s biggest news, get the latest headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Simply sign up here to get our bulletins. It’s completely free.
And if you decide you no longer want the updates – no problem. Just follow the unsubscribe link.
4. Clean your mattress at least once every three months and use this time to check for bed bugs. Pocket sprung styles can be vacuumed, whereas foam styles require sweeping to avoid damage.
5. Once a week, pull back your bedding and let your mattress air to evaporate any excess moisture. Dust mites love the warmth of your bed so letting your mattress cool down will lessen your chances of these loitering around, too.
6. Use an encasement mattress protector which completely covers the mattress, leaving no entry point for pesky insects. Plus, if you do have bed bugs, an encasement will trap the bed bugs and they will die of starvation.
7. According to the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), the ideal temperature for an adult bed bug to thrive is between 21-32°C, so it’s best to keep your room cool on a night-time.
8. Bed bugs are also known to hide in cardboard, so try to unpack your boxes quickly after moving house, and never use cardboard boxes for storage. Stick to plastic containers, instead.
9. If you share laundry facilities with others, such as in student accommodation, take extra caution. When you transport your items to be washed, keep them in a plastic bag and once they are washed, remove them from the dryer and place them straight back in the bag. Fold them at home where it’s safer to do so.
10. If you purchase second-hand furniture, make sure to inspect the item for bed bug infections first, before taking it home, especially if you are buying a bed frame or mattress.
How to Spot a Bed Bug
Bed bugs tend to come out at night in search of their next feed, and always hide in groups. This makes it difficult to spot them in broad daylight.
Although they are sometimes mistaken for fleas, what makes them more distinguishable is their colour, which is similar to an apple pip. They also have a flat body and large abdomens.
Where Bed Bugs are Most Commonly Found
Despite what their name implies, their flattened bodies also allow them to conceal themselves in cracks and crevices around the room, such as in floorboards, skirting boards, or within furniture.
However, they usually tend to stay close to anywhere you or a pet will be sleeping – which is why over a third (35 per cent) of them are found in the box springs of a mattress, 23% are found in the mattress itself and 13% are found in the bed frame or headboard.
Keep up with the latest news with our email alerts directly to your inbox. Sign up here.