Common Questions About Bed Bugs

We understand how stressful it is to find you have a bed bug problem at home. We’re probably asked more questions about bed bugs than customers do for any of our trades or services. The list of questions and answers here are shared to offer some peace of mind.

Out pest control team will react quickly to your problem. A bed bug problem can be treated effectively. Our pest controllers are happy sharing their knowledge with you so you understand how the treatment will work and the steps you’ll need to take to assist the process.

Questions & answers

How did I get bed bugs in my home?

Bed bugs can’t fly. They will usually enter someone’s home either by crawling or being transported there by someone.

If bed bugs crawl to someone’s home this usually happens from an adjoining property where there’s already an infestation.  Structural voids as wells as internal connections between properties, such as plumbing or electrical services would allow bed bugs to move between properties.

Passive transport of bed bugs can happen, either when items, such as second hand furniture, are moved into a home, or when someone has stayed in an infested property. Bed bugs form hotels, hostels or any other properties can inadvertently find their way into luggage and get released into their home when the person unpacks.

Transfer of bed bugs from one property to another is one reason why they have been so successful and can be found throughout the world.

How can I prevent getting bed bugs in the future?

If you’re moving second hand items into your home, such as furniture, checked it thoroughly beforehand.

Be aware if staying overnight in a place where you’ve seen or suspected bed bugs. Care must be taken when unpacking luggage at home that bed bugs aren’t released. All items of clothing should be washed at 60 degrees, or placed in a plastic bags and tightly secured before having them dry cleaned.

Carefully check items of luggage before storing them. Spray them with an insecticide if you see or suspect bed bugs are in there.

Why do I have bed bugs, my home is clean?

The risk of bed bug infestation is not related to hygiene or cleanliness. Although the highest infestation levels are more likely to occur in homes with less regular or lower standards of cleanliness, bed bugs can still live in clean properties once they’ve found their way in and they’ve found a food source.

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Is my dog or cat responsible for bringing bed bugs into my home?

Cats or dogs are unlikely to bring bed bugs into a home. The body shape of a bed bug usually prevents them from being able to feed on pets. Their flat, disc shape body makes it very hard for them to move through the fur of most mammals. Conversely, the body shape of a flea, which is narrow, means they can move around on their host with relative ease.

What diseases can I get from bed bugs?

Bed bugs are not responsible for transmitting any diseases to humans. However, their bites can cause severe skin irritation in some people. Reaction to being bitten can result in lack of sleep and fatigue or reduced energy levels.

Why do only I get bitten even though I sleep with my partner?

It’s possible that one person sleeps very soundly, without making much movement, while their partner is more restless. Someone moving around in bed would disturb bed bugs so they’d be more likely to bite the person moving less.

In addition, people react differently to being bitten. While one person develops bite marks, someone else might be less sensitive and not react at all. Therefore two people sharing a bed could both be getting bitten but only one of them shows signs of it happening.

Specialist bed bug treatment

What should I do if I find bed bugs in my home?

Bed bugs will not go away on their own. They can exist for many months without feeding. If conditions are right they will breed and the infestation will gradually become worse.

You’re strongly recommended to arrange for a professional pest controller to treat a bed bug infestation. Although chemical products are available, the success rate of DIY treatments is low and the infestation usually continues.

When bed bugs are discovered disturbing them should be avoided as much as possible as this could encourage them to disperse. As soon as bed bugs are distributed widely throughout a property the control process becomes more complicated. The easiest control process is when the infestation is recent and localised to a single place.

Can I treat bed bugs myself rather than calling a pest controller?

A fully trained and experienced pest controller should be used to treat a bed bug infestation. The knowledge gained from treating bed bug infestations in a wide range of properties is an essential part of a successful treatment. A good, qualified pest controller will provide a detailed assessment of the problem, give suitable treatment options and clearly outline the steps to be taken by the homeowner or tenants to assist the process.

The risk of homeowners or tenants attempting to treat a bed bug infestation themselves is that unless the treatment is completely successful any surviving bugs are likely to disperse from the location that’s treated. By finding new hiding places in which they breed the infestation will continue and will become harder to treat.

There are no rules that prevent someone from attempting to treat a bed bug infestation themselves with an appropriate insecticide. However, the success rate of DIY bed bug treatment is known to be low. In most cases only a well informed and thorough control effort will be effective against bed bugs.

How many rooms need to be treated if I have bed bugs?

The number of rooms that need to be treated to eradicate bed bugs is dependent on the extent of the infestation. For example, a recent and localised problem could mean that only one room needs to be treated. However, a well established and widely distributed problem is likely to mean several rooms need to be treated.

As a general rule bathrooms and kitchens are much less likely to need treatment, especially if they have a hard floor rather than being carpeted.

An experienced pest controller will assess the extent of the problem and assess the likelihood of bed bugs dispersing and find new hiding places in other rooms.

What’s the best treatment method for bed bugs?

There isn’t a universal best treatment method for bed bugs. The treatment that’s required will depend on the type of property, the extent of the infestation and the available budget. There are different treatments available, including insecticides and heat treatment. A combination of chemical and non-chemical treatment can also be effective.

The treatment itself isn’t necessarily the most important factor when determining how effective it it. Arguably the most important factor is the way the treatment is carried out specific to the extent of the infestation that’s present. This is why treatment by a professional pest controller is strongly recommended.

Are chemical treatments for bed bugs hazardous to children or pets?

The chemical treatments used by professional pest controllers in the UK to treat bed bugs are non-hazardous to humans and pets as long as they are applied in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines. The insecticide treatments we use have been tested and are regulated by the HSE (Health & Safety Executive) and are approved for use by the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) and National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA).

It isn’t necessary to vacate a home when we carry out a chemical treatment. Chemicals are sprayed only where bed bugs will hide, such as mattresses, bed frames and the perimeter of a room. The insecticide will remain on treated areas rather than being suspended in the air where they could be easily inhaled.

Non-chemical heat treatments can be provided if a homeowner or tenant has concerns about the use of insecticides in their home.

How likely is it for bed bugs to return after treating them?

As long as the infestation has been treated correctly and all bed bugs have been eradicated it should stay bed bug free for an extended period of time. However, if the treatment is not thorough there’s a very good chance that any remaining bed bugs will reproduce and reestablish themselves.

In the case of bed bugs returning to a home soon after treatment, and when adjoining homes are suspected of being the source, an organised assessment and treatment of all connected homes will be needed.

The other thing to consider is that bed bugs could be reintroduced to a home in the same way they arrived in the first instance. If the original source is known, or suspected, then care must be taken to avoid the same passive transport. Friends or family members should be encouraged to seek professional help if their property is suspected of being the source of bed bug transfer to your home.

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