To most people, bed bugs are either something that existed back in the days of straw mattresses or are merely part of a jokey bed time phrase “night night, don’t let the bed bugs bite”. Unfortunately, they are VERY real and have made something of resurgence on UK soil over the last 15 years.
To help you understand this little pest, where they come from, where they are most present and how to avoid them, here at Sleepy People we have put together this helpful list of bed bug based facts.
What Are They?
Essentially bed bugs are blood-sucking insects which are attracted by body heat and carbon dioxide. They live in and around your bed and come out at night to feed on your blood much like a mosquito. Despite common assumption, they are not attracted to dirty conditions over clean ones, so you are no less likely to have them if you keep on top of your bed washing.
They are visible to the naked eye, are oval shaped and grow as big as 5mm in length. Bedbug bites resemble those of mosquito bites and usually appear on the hands, arms, necks and faces. For help and advice on bed bug bites check out this link from the NHS.
It is thought they were all but extinct on British shores until the turn of the century came about. Since 2000 the UK has seen a dramatic rise in bed bugs, something experts put down to the pesky little blood suckers hitching lifts in and on peoples clothes as they travel by plane.
Another reason points to the cutting back of local pest control funding which has allowed them to breed and develop further.
The Worst Affected Areas
Research from British Pest Control Association in 2014 found that the London Borough of Southwark was the most infested area of the UK when it came to not just bedbugs, but cockroaches and mice. The research found that there were over 1,800 cases of bedbugs in the London Borough reported that year.
Other areas to feature in the top ten of the list included Leicester, Cambridge, Newcastle and Glasgow. The city of Newcastle was ranked top of the same research as the most infested city in the UK when considering bed bugs, mice, rats and cockroaches.
The trend seems to point to cities which see a lot of human traffic throughout the year heading and returning from aboard. For example there is no surprise a London Borough is in the list because London is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, not to mention one of economic importance.
Equally Leicester is much smaller and doesn’t have the economic power of London, however it is considered one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the UK with Britons actually being in the minority. This means there will be a lot of people coming and going from the city, heading and returning from abroad and potentially bringing those nasty little bugs back with them.
How To Prevent Or Remove Bed Bugs
There are a number of ways to prevent bed bugs. The first is if you are travelling away. As tedious as it sounds, simply doing a quick check of the hotel bed for the bugs could stop you from both being bitten and stop the chance of you taking them home with you.
Another form of initial prevention is more focused on your health. Things like dust mites and bed bugs are proven to be the cause of 25% of all allergies and 50% of all asthmatic allergies, a massive statistic. A great way to ensure you and your family’s health isn’t affected by these nasty little critters is by finding some anti-allergy bedding.
At Sleepy People we offer both anti-allergy pillows and anti-allergy duvets which can both prevent you from developing an allergy AND stop anyone in the family potentially worsening theirs through contact with bed bugs and dust mites.
If you are confident you have bed bugs then it is best to call a professional pest controller in. Letting them deal with the problem is your best option just in case you make a mistake and allow them to return. You can take some actions, such as keeping clear of affected areas, washing any clothes which might have come into contact and using a tumble dryer to dry them which will definitely kill the remaining bugs.
Bed bugs are a nasty little problem which unfortunately seems to be on the rise. Being as informed as possible will help you both avoid them and help you deal with them if they somehow manage to sneak into your home.