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How to get rid of household bed bugs

Information, facts and resources to help you deal with an infestation of bed bugs and, if the worst happens, how to destroy the bed bugs and prevent this household pests return.


Bed Bugs

What does a bed bug look like?

bed bug biting

Bed Bug feeding on Human Skin

Cimex lectularius, the bed bug

Close up photograph of Cimex lectularius, the bed bug

Bed Bug Description

  • Bedbugs are minute and are unlikely to be spotted by the human eye.

Where do bed bugs live?

  • Most infestations are found in domestic premises, although hotels, hospitals, prisons etc are also likely habitats.
  • Infestations usually centre around the bed but are not limited to it.
  • Able to survive for long periods without feeding, the bedbug is translocated in laundry, luggage, clothes and on human hosts.

What are the signs of bed bug infestation?

  • Itching and bites after sleeping in an infested bed. This is because bed bugs are mainly active by night and feed off the blood of mammals - humans are mammals too, so we get bit! Look for small red bites after sleeping in a bedbug infested bed.

What do bed bugs eat?

  • All nymphal stages of the bed bug feed on mammalian blood. Bed bugs feed on bats, small mammals and birds. Unfortunately bedbugs are a household pest that also feed on human beings.

Why must bed bugs be controlled?

  • The bed bug is an important public health pest, having worldwide distribution, and feeding on human hosts while they sleep.
  • The bed bug is characterised as one of the more unpleasant pests.
  • Bites from bed bugs are an irritant and unsightly.

How can I get rid of bed bugs?

  • Where appropriate and permitted, treatment of local structure with a residual insecticide may be required.
  • Disposal or sterilisation of mattresses and bed coverings is advisable.
  • Survey and treatment should pay particular attention to: bed frames, skirting board, wall switches and all cracks and crevices.
  • Remember pesticides can be poisonous to children and pets. After use store container and contents away from children, or dispose of empty containers safely.

How can I prevent bed bugs from returning?

  • Good hygiene.
  • Regular vacuuming and treatment with pesticide powder to deter and destroy bed bugs.

Bed Bug Poisons and Bed Bug Pesticides

  • Suitable products can be purchased from hardware shops and garden centres.
  • Disposal or sterilisation of mattresses and bed coverings is advisable.
  • Remember pesticides can be poisonous to children and pets. After use store container and contents away from children, or dispose of empty containers safely.

The "Green Option" - Environmentally friendly control of bed bugs

  • Blankets, sheets, pillows and other bed coverings that are infested with bed bugs can be put in a large plastic sack or clean bin bag and placed in the freezer for at least 72 hours.
  • Bed bugs and their larvae and eggs will be killed by the below zero temperatures of the freezer.
  • A regime of washing and freezing of all bedding, along with hoovering of all cracks and crevices where bedbugs might hide in and around the bed proves an effective environmentally friendly soultion to bed bugs.

Bed Bugs : Household Pests

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