Malum Pest Control Services

How Did I Get Bed Bugs and How to Get Rid of Them

How to get rid of bed bugs
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    As horrible as bed bugs are, you can rest assured that these pests were brought into the home from somewhere or someone else. In fact, a bed bug infestation has nothing to do with cleanliness. Instead, they are simply transferred from person to person and place to place. With this in mind, we will look at the most common ways in which homes and businesses become riddled with bed bugs.

    Most people get bed bugs from infested clothing, luggage, accessories and upholstered furniture which are bought into the home. These pests are hitchhikers and can easily travel between buildings as they go unnoticed by humans.

    Are you currently battling a bed bug invasion and wondering how this has happened? If so, then this article is for you. In this guide, we will explore answers to some of the most common questions people have about bed bugs and where they come from.

    Read on to find out more about these parasitic insects and how we at Malum can help you to get rid of them.

    Bed Bug Behaviour Explained

    Bed bugs are perhaps the most feared pest infestation ever. This parasitic insect is found around the world, and especially likes to wreak havoc in large cities across the UK. But beware, bed bugs can be found anywhere humans live.

    Human blood attracts bed bugs, causing them to enter our homes and share our living space! Due to the intrinsic and mysterious hiding nature of this pest, a bed bug problem is best addressed by a professional pest control company.

    Are you currently battling a bed bug infestation? Perhaps you have discovered tiny insects crawling around your bed and need verification of the species? Do you need help in figuring out where to begin when treating bed bugs?

    Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are a small, elusive insect that is reddish-brown in colour and around the size of a grain of rice. The bugs have six legs, no wings, two prominent black eyes, ridges across their shell, and a small beak apparatus at the end of the mouth for piercing skin and extracting blood meals.

    These insects do not live outdoors, in fact, the pests spend their entire lives inside of homes, businesses, and anywhere people regularly congregate. The bed bug is elusive and goes to great lengths to prevent being seen out in the open and discovered.

    Bed bugs are primarily nocturnal and prefer dark areas where humans sleep, since this allows the pests to come out and feed on human blood while the host is asleep. However, bed bugs can adapt and will mimic their hosts sleeping patterns – so if someone works shifts and snoozes all day then this is when a bed bug will feed!

    The bugs will build their nest in hidden spaces near human sleeping spots, such as underneath bed frames, the underside of a mattress, nightstands, and even in wall cracks near a bed.

    This pest lives on human blood and needs it to reproduce. After mating, and once engorged with blood, a female bed bug will lay eggs in the hiding spot that hatch into nymphs just 10 days later. Nymphs molt (shed skins) 5 times before reaching adulthood, with each molt requiring a blood meal.

    Bed bugs can live between 1-2 years in total, and according to the Environmental Protection Agency can even go upwards of 16 months without feeding.

    What is the main cause of bed bug infestations?

    Bed bug infestations are nothing short of a nightmare for homeowners. There is no way to sugarcoat this specific type of pest problem, as this species can be very difficult to destroy.

    The main cause of bed bugs inside the home is typically through the transfer of used furniture. Bed bugs can easily hide inside the seams of sofas, mattresses and soft furnishings, where they like to lie in wait for a viable new host/parasite dwelling.

    The paper-thin, flat bodies of these insects allow the species to take advantage of obscure hiding places, such as inside boxes of clutter, within electrical outlets and mattress linings – as long as they are kept close to where people sleep.

    After moving around your home, which is now the bugs’ new home too, these parasites will start to seek out body warmth and carbon dioxide emissions from breathing in order to find your sleep spot.

    A male and female almost always travel together, and once they locate a sleep spot, the bugs will feed and then find a dark and undisturbed area near or on the bed to nest, providing easy access to their host.

    The bugs will mate and females will begin to rapidly lay eggs continuously. Because bed bugs are so secretive, this cycle will build and build for days, weeks, and even months before people typically discover these pests.

    People typically come across a bed bug problem by noticing dark blood stains or rusty spots (fecal matter) on their bedding sheets, detecting bed bug bites or by finding live bugs when changing sheets or cleaning the area. Waking in the middle of the night, they may also find the bugs crawling on or near them.

    The longer the insects are left undisturbed and avoid detection, the larger the infestation becomes.

    Additionally, travel is one of the most typical ways in which people bring bugs into their home. If you stay in an infested hotel room or cruise ship cabin, these little pests can easily stow away in your belongings, purses, backpacks and luggage, bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase of being ‘bitten by the travel bug’.

    If your worst nightmare has come true and you have discovered some unwanted visitors roaming around your home, then contact Malum today!

    Where do bed bugs prefer to hide?

    When trying to find bed bugs, the mattress, box springs, and bed frames are the primary hiding areas. Other infested areas can include loose wallpaper, bedding and other fabrics like curtains, in addition to specific types of dwelling such as hotel rooms and apartment blocks, in which infested areas can easily transfer to other units via bugs crawling through cracks in the walls.

    The colony will usually be found on bed frames or inside the box springs of a bed. This is why mattresses, box springs, and headboards should be immediately treated first to try and knock down the infestation as much as possible.

    How do bed bugs appear out of nowhere?

    Contrary to popular belief, these bugs do not just appear out of nowhere; they are brought into a home someway, somehow. You can easily identify a bed bug, since the insects themselves are about the size of an apple seed, and slightly larger and rounded than ants. Bed bugs cannot jump or fly, they must crawl and climb in order to move around.

    The bugs are almost always contained in the bedroom, as these little vampires like to come out at night to bite people whilst they are sleeping. Once the bugs have finished feeding, they creep down deep within the bed in order to stay as far out of sight as possible during the day.

    How to treat bed bug bites

    Yes, it makes us feel funny too, but it is true – bed bugs bite and feed when a host is asleep. Bed bug bites can cause severe itching and even an allergic reaction in people sensitive to the toxins emitted from the bugs to numb the skin around the bite site.

    Bed bug bites do not usually spread disease, therefore, disease control procedures are not imminently necessary from bed bug bites. Some strains of bed bugs have been known to spread MRSA, but the research is vague in terms of where these strains are heavily distributed.

    To treat bed bugs bites, you can use calamine lotion to ease the itching, but you should refrain from using alcohol or any other type of ointment on the bites. The itchiness and redness will dissipate after a few days.

    What are the first signs of a bed bug infestation?

    Bed bug excrement, which has a reddish brown colour and is the byproduct of a blood meal, are typically the first signs that you have bed bugs. These reddish brown spots are a mixture of blood and feces and is expelled after bed bugs feed.

    Apart from noticing these spots, you can also typically spot bed bugs by looking in the typical hide and seek places, such as in cracks and crevices, across headboards, within the coils of box springs, down bed legs, or even along the wall.

    These insects will almost always initially be found in the bedroom and the undersides of beds and bedside furniture.

    As soon as you first discover bed bugs, your very first course of action should be to contact a specialist pest control company to come out for an inspection. Bed bugs are not the type of pest for which DIY procedures are recommended, due to the hiding capabilities of the species and their rapid reproduction.

    Once you consult a professional, you should then launder all your clothing and fabrics on the highest heat settings, and consider encasing your box spring and mattress to trap the bugs that are inside. This will prevent the pests from having access to food and other hiding places.

    Bed bugs should not be taken lightly, so immediate action is absolutely necessary.

    How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs

    Essentially, getting rid of bed bugs requires comprehensive and effective treatments that target resistance to the infested areas. But there is a large amount of work that has to be done for an infestation.

    At Malum we can talk you through the process and assist you in preparing your home for professional bed bug treatment.

    Prep Work

    Because bed bugs hide so well and are so small, the entire home needs to undergo a rigorous prep work process.

    It could be easy to say that the insects are just in the infested room, but due to their nomadic behaviour, you cannot be sure that these insects have not wandered into other areas of your home. Bed bugs also have the ability to travel through walls, so it is not uncommon for entire apartment blocks to become infested.

    We suggest that you begin with your clothes and soft furnishings. All linen and fabrics inside the home need to be washed on high heat settings as only extremely hot temperatures can kill bed bugs and their eggs instantly.

    Once laundered, you should place fabrics in a sealed plastic bag to prevent bed bugs from crawling inside. Make sure you clean all kids soft toys as well, since bed bugs have been known to infest these items.

    If your home is cluttered, we recommend that you inspect all miscellaneous items for bugs. You should then store these items outside the home until the bugs have been eradicated. Vacuum floors regularly and be sure to remove the vacuum bag and dispose of it outside.

    It is important not to have guests over until your home is of bugs. Wash all daily clothes you wear immediately after use and seal the items back up again.

    Treating and Protecting Your Bed

    Your bedroom may be the ground zero for the bed bug colony, and this requires a great deal of work. To begin with you should strip the bed and wash all bedding.

    Next, you will need to encase the mattress and box spring with encasements, which we can provide for you. These encasements will trap the living insects inside and prevent the insects’ beaks from piercing through the material to feed while you sleep. After at least 16 months, all bed bugs encased inside will be dead from starvation.

    This can easily take care of mattresses and box springs, but at Malum we also treat the bed frame to remove bed bugs and any headboard or footboard that can also house the bugs. Hopefully, the colony is completely inside of the box spring, but you can never be sure.

    As a final precaution you should pull your bed at least three feet from the wall and place interceptors on the bed legs to trap insects that may try to crawl onto the bed. We can show you how to correctly apply these.

    Common Treatments Used

    Using DIY methods and products to treat bed bugs is not recommended since these insects are incredibly hard to eradicate and frequently evolve to resist over-the-counter products.

    At Malum we use a variety of different treatments to kill bed bugs, depending on the severity of the infestation.

    Bed bug treatment with heat is one of the most effective methods that we use, and these are often used in conjunction with powerful insecticides.

    Alongside our bed bug treatment, we also provide pest awareness training to individuals and members of staff, in order to help improve their knowledge of what to look for and best practice procedures.

    How Much Does it Cost to Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

    Bed bug treatment for complete bed bug removal is best handled by a specialised company, such as ourselves, who have experience in residential properties.

    For pests as difficult as bed bugs, the cost is typically reconciled after the initial inspection to decide if a single room contains the entire problem or if several rooms need to be treated.

    Additionally, and based on the size of the problem, one treatment may not be enough to achieve bed bug control, and this will be factored into the original quoted price to the homeowner. The cost depends upon the type of treatments used to address the problem.

    At Malum we charge £396 + VAT to get rid of bed bugs, which includes three part treatment utilising steam, mechanical removal and use of residual insecticides for an average two bed property. Additional rooms are charged at £180 per three part treatment.

    Why Should You Pay to Get Rid of a Bed Bug Infestation?

    Regardless of how you choose to treat bed bugs, it will cost money to address the problem. Furthermore, due to the elusive nature of these insects and the often inaccessible hiding places used by the bugs, professional pest control treatments are the best method for treating bed bugs.

    Pest control services have equipment and processes that go far beyond just the use of insecticide treatment, which can be problematic since bed bugs can develop quick resistance to commonly used insecticides.

    Pest control can also use repeat treatments to remove bed bugs that may have been missed in the initial treatment.

    But there are some important details to keep in mind about these insects, and these details pertain to why professional treatment is necessary if you want to achieve full eradication.

    Bed bugs do not only hide and live in and around a bed, the insects can also hide and nest in electrical sockets, inside and underneath upholstered furniture, behind loose wallpaper, within walls and below baseboards.

    Since the bugs do not come out into the open easily or even at all, this makes finding all the bugs a challenging prospect. Bed bugs hide during the day and only come out to feed on human blood at night when people are sleeping.

    Because of this, and since the bugs are only about the size of an apple seed, natural methods and some chemical sprays are not enough to reach all the bugs. The longer the insects are left undisturbed and avoid detection, the larger the infestation becomes.

    Bed bug removal is not within the success rate of DIY methods, and it becomes a literal full-time job if you choose to try and address this elusive pest on your own.

    How Much Is Bed Bug Heat Treatment in the UK?

    Bed bug heat treatment, also known as hot box treatment, is a comprehensive pest control method that uses hot air at incredibly high temperatures to address hiding bed bug groups beyond a bed or piece of furniture.

    After the bed, bed frame, and bedding in a room have been treated, there is no way to be 100% sure that all the bugs on the property have been destroyed.

    Additionally, there could be the possibility that multiple rooms on the property are also infested behind the original room, and heat treatments administered safely by pest technicians in each treated room can ensure that adults, eggs, and all life stages are destroyed.

    A hot high temperature, as opposed to temperate or cold temperatures, can kill all life cycles of these pests within seconds of exposure, including eggs no matter where they are deposited. A heat treatment covers the entire property and typically lasts for a few hours to ensure the pest problem is eradicated.

    If the home is properly prepped, the heat will soak into the very structure of the home, leaving no place for the pests to hide to escape the heat.

    Achieving bed bug control with a heat treatment can range between £500 to £1,000 depending on the size of the home and this is for full-house heat treatment. For room-by-room treatment, the price is lower, but another treatment may be necessary if unhatched eggs were missed in the initial treatment.

    Why Choose Malum for bed bug control?

    A standard, professional bed bug control treatment can typically eradicate these insects within a few weeks. But bed bugs can return if they are brought back into the home, and if treatments are not effective enough. This is why it is important to contact a professional pest control company as they can ensure that no where has been missed.

    At Malum, we pride ourselves on providing the very best integrated pest management approach. We look at every challenge from outside the box to give you the very best immediate and long-term solution.

    Through experience, we can provide a guaranteed and professional treatment for eradicating bed bugs and helping to prevent their return.

    Contact us today for a pest control quote.

    Frequently asked questions about bed bugs

    Why do bed bug bites itch?

    Bed bugs have an itchy bite due to the neurotoxin they inject into a host when they are feeding. This toxin is a numbing agent and is meant to prevent the host from waking as the insects draw blood.

    Do I need to treat electronics for bed bugs?

    Typically, these insects will infest the mattress or box springs of the bed, but there have been cases of this pest hiding in alarm clocks, radios, even televisions, and other electronics. If this is the case, these products can be treated with poison strips and sealed into airtight containers for a few days to a week.

    Do bed bugs come back after treatment?

    A standard, professional treatment can typically eradicate the insects within a few weeks. But bed bugs can return if they are brought back into the home, and if treatments are not effective. This is why it is important to contact a professional pest control company as they can ensure that no where has been missed.

    Best Ways to Kill Bed Bugs Instantly?

    Insecticide spray is not the best way to kill these pests. Using DIY methods and products to fight against these parasites is not recommended since these insects are incredibly hard to eradicate and frequently evolve to resist over-the-counter products.

    At Malum we use a variety of different treatments to kill bed bugs, depending on the severity of the infestation in all rooms.

    Bed bug treatment with heat is one of the most effective methods that we use, and these are often used in conjunction with powerful insecticides.

    Alongside our bed bug treatment, we also provide pest awareness training to individuals and members of staff, in order to help improve their knowledge of what to look for and best practice procedures.

    Picture of Dave Shilling
    Dave Shilling
    Dave is an expert pest control specialist and has been providing pest control services for over 10 years. His company Malum Southern Pest & Bird Control can deal with a wide range of pest problems and is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

    Request a quote today

    We are experts in private and commercial pest control in Hampshire, Dorset and West Sussex. If you think you have a problem with pests call us for a quote.

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