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How to spot a bedbug infestation

Even the cleanest properties can be blighted by bedbugs. Here’s how to tell whether your building is affected.

Bedbugs are nothing new; how many generations have wished their little ones ‘sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite?’ Yet they’ve suddenly become the focus of national news following reports of an epidemic in Paris, which some people fear could spread to the UK via Eurostar or in the belongings of travellers, to name but a few methods which sound more appropriate for Judith Chalmers. Well, we’ve got news for you: bedbugs are already, and have always been, in the UK. Bedbugs are typically found on furniture, especially mattresses - hence the name - and are equally likely to infect dirty abodes as they are sparkling clean ones. Some of the world’s most exclusive hotels have received discreet treatment for such an infestation. It can occur in any property - domestic or business - but how would you know?

How to spot a bedbug infestation

1. Look for red, itchy spots Found yourself itching lately? Bedbugs bite whether you’ve slept tightly or not, and while they are otherwise harmless, they can be uncomfortable. Typically, bites are raised, red spots and, according to the NHS, can present in lines or small groups. Bedbugs are most likely to feast on exposed skin: faces, necks, hands and arms, that leg you kick out from under the duvet when it gets hot. You might also notice flecks of blood on the sheets, another tell-tale sign. 2. Identify the perpetrator Revolting though it seems, there are many bugs that love to bite us - fleas are a common example, though gnats and mosquitoes also enjoy sinking their teeth in, especially during hot summer nights when we sleep with the windows open. It’s therefore a good idea to identify the cause before attempting to get rid of it. Bedbugs can be seen by the naked eye. They can grow to about 5mm in length, are flat ovals with six legs. They can be red, brown or yellow and usually leave a quantity of excrement, so look out for brown spots on the affected area. 3. Check in likely places Bedbugs aren’t only found in mattresses. Furniture - seating especially - is another favourite spot, as is behind paintings or loose wallpaper. Truly the stuff of nightmares! This is why the hotel, public transport and education sectors all complain of infestations - anywhere in which there are high levels of human movement and lots of fabric.

How to get rid of bedbugs

Eradicating these horrid creatures is no easy task and usually it’s impossible to do it without professional assistance from an experienced cleaning company or pest control. REACT’s proven method of decontamination combines an application of boiling hot steam with a pesticide which is child- and pet-safe, plus is environmentally friendly. This will kill all existing bugs and leave your property safe once more. To prevent their return, regularly change and wash bedding on a high temperature. Small items of fabric, i.e. cushion covers, clothes, etc, can be bagged and placed in the freezer for a few days, if it doesn’t make you feel too squeamish. Vacuuming furniture and surrounding areas is a must, though using a steamer will ensure a deeper clean for mattresses and sofas. If you’re travelling abroad, try to keep an eye out for any unwanted insects that have stowed away in your luggage. If all else fails, ask for advice from an expert. This so-called ‘plague’ might be big news right now, but by knowing precisely whether or not it’s bedbugs which are making your life a misery, you can take the right step towards getting rid of them forever. The steps above should help, as should the knowledge that professional help is at hand. REACT is available 24/7, 365-days a year, so if you get a sudden itch in the middle of the night, give us a call.


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