Nighttime Nuisances: The Rise of Bedbug Infestations
Bedbugs are insects that have been cohabiting with humans for thousands of years. However, recently the United Kingdom has seen a noticeable increase in bedbug infestations, presenting significant challenges for homeowners. In August this year, The Telegraph reported a 65 per cent increase year-on-year in bed bug infestations. Reasons sited include furniture recycling, and a rise in travel and hotel bookings following the pandemic
Characteristics of Bedbugs
- Appearance: Adult bedbugs are brown, oval, and flat, about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, they swell and turn reddish.
- Lifespan: They can live several months without a meal.
- Habitat: They prefer to hide close to where people sleep, such as mattresses, bed frames, and headboards, but can be found behind skirting boards, wallpaper, and upholstery.
The Modern Bedbug in the UK
Bedbugs are not a sign of poor hygiene. They can thrive in clean environments as efficiently as they do in dirty ones. Their primary aim is to find a blood meal, usually from humans, which they do with stealth and precision.
Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite
Bedbugs feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded animals. While they are not known to transmit diseases to humans, their bites can lead to various health implications.
- Skin Reactions:
- Redness and Itching: The most common reaction to a bedbug bite is a red, itchy bump, which can appear immediately after the bite or a few days later.
- Patterns: Bites tend to be in a line or cluster, often described as a “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” pattern.
- Blistering: In more severe cases, the bites can lead to blistering or even hive-like symptoms in sensitive individuals.
- Allergic Reactions:
- Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to bedbug bites, leading to larger areas of swelling, redness, and blistering.
- Secondary Infections:
- Scratching the bites increases the risk of introducing pathogens to the open skin, leading to secondary bacterial infections such as impetigo, and lymphangitis.
- Infections can sometimes lead to scars if not treated appropriately.
- Mental Health Impact:
- Anxiety and Stress: Knowing that one’s home is infested with bedbugs can lead to significant stress and anxiety. The idea of being bitten while sleeping can be particularly distressing.
- Sleep Deprivation: Worrying about bedbugs can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to insomnia and its associated health problems.
Challenges in Controlling Bedbugs
- Pesticide Resistance: Over the years, bedbugs have developed resistance to many chemicals traditionally used to manage them.
- Reproduction: A single pair of bedbugs can produce hundreds of offspring in their lifetime.
- Detection: Due to their nocturnal nature and ability to hide in tiny crevices, they can often go undetected until the infestation becomes severe.
Pest Control Techniques for Bedbugs
- Heat Treatment: One of the most effective means of eliminating bedbugs is heat treatment. Bedbugs are sensitive to heat, and exposure to temperatures above 45°C for an extended period can kill them at all life stages.
- Freezing: Just as they’re sensitive to heat, bedbugs can’t tolerate extremely cold temperatures. Some professional pest control companies use rapid freeze treatments, which are non-toxic and environmentally friendly.
- Steam: High-temperature steam can penetrate materials and effectively kill bedbugs.
- Prevention: This includes using bedbug-proof encasements, regular inspections, and thorough cleaning of any second-hand furniture or items before bringing them home.
Time to Call the Professionals!
Due to bedbug resilience and adaptability, Avon Pest Control advice contacting a professional pest control company if you have found bedbugs on your property. Effective control requires a comprehensive approach, combining preventive measures with targeted treatments. Here at Avon Pest Control, we have experience, expertise and access to professional grade products to help solve your pest problem for you?
Fed up of living with these horrid hitchhikers?
Call Avon Pest Control today!