Over 99% of professional pest exterminators in the UK have had to deal with bed bugs over the last few years.
There is a depressing consistency about where bugs are found – 75% in hotels, 93% in single family homes and 95% in apartments.
Other common places to find this annoying pest are on public transport, in nursing homes, schools, offices, university accommodation and even hospitals.
There are some myths about bed bugs that need to be debunked:
- There are not found in dirty places. There is in fact no real connection between bed bugs and dirt or mess, they can travel on luggage, and quite commonly in second hand furniture. So having them is not a sign of poor hygiene.
- They don’t just live in your bed. They like dark, warm areas, so can be found in bed joints, carpets, skirting boards, behind wallpaper, and in lug sockets. They can easily fit in to spaces no wider that the depth of a credit card.
- They are not small. Since the average adult bug is 5mm long they are easily visible to the naked eye, just hard to find. You really should be able to see the adults, the nymphs and the eggs with the naked eye.
- They don’t transmit diseases. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency there have been no cases that indicate that bed bugs transmit diseases between humans
Bright light won’t stop them. Although they prefer the dark, keeping a light on at night will not stop them from coming out to feed
So, do you know what to look for, and how to prevent bed bugs?
For a start the bugs are nocturnal, so you are only really likely to be bitten at night, usually while your sleeping. They feed by using an elongated beak to withdraw blood, and they may feed, and so stay attached for up to ten minutes.
- There are some things you can look for:
- Check your pillowcases and bedsheets for bloodstains or dark and rusty spots.
- Give your pillows a sniff – bed bugs can emit an offensive and slightly musty odor from their scent glands.
- Look for small bites and welts – itchy red dots are fairly common.
So, in answer to our question, yes, we should be worried. There have been many reports from students of bugs in their accommodation, both rented and university halls. So with many students returning home in the next few weeks, and many moving on to new accommodation in September it’s well worth being aware of what to look for, and how to prevent it.