The common bedbug (cimex lectularius) is a flat, oval shaped insect, around 5mm in length. They can appear brown or purple, depending on whether they have recently fed. Nocturnal, they come out to feed at night.
Bedbugs are flightless. They either crawl or are transported passively on objects or hosts. Their ability to survive for several months without food greatly increases their chances of successfully finding a new host.
How Bedbugs Live
Large numbers of Bedbug eggs are glued to the surface of harbourage, such as bedclothes. In warm conditions, with plenty of food, a female Bedbug can produce three eggs per day, almost continuously! The eggs hatch to produce a “nymph”, which is a smaller version of the adult and almost transparent. After a full meal of blood they moult into the next stage. Adults Bedbugs feed around once a week, nymphs, every ten days.
If temperatures drop below 13 degrees C in the winter, their numbers can drop dramatically, as egg laying and feeding stops.
How Bedbugs affect humans
Bedbugs can cause severe irritation for some people, affecting sleep and energy levels during the day.
A Bedbug bite often leaves a hard, light-coloured swelling. In contrast, flee bites leave a dark red spot.
Bedbug faeces can give bedclothes a speckled appearance. Infected rooms often have an unpleasant, almond-like smell, which is given off by Bedbug stink-glands.
The thought of bugs crawling over people at night and sucking their blood is usually enough to prompt action!
We recommend that some preparations are made prior to treatment, to ensure maximum effect. This includes laundry of clothes and bedclothes, and vacuuming.
We use a “micro-encapsulated” insecticide spray to kill the Bedbugs, which is safe for humans and pets once dry. This is a residual spray which is effective for up to two weeks.
Bedbugs take between 4 – 28 days to hatch and the spray is only effective at killing live adults and nymphs. Therefore, it is recommended that several treatments are applied to kill an entire population.