Bed bugs invasion: Top tips on how to avoid it from washing sheets to vacuuming

It’s that time of year again when bed bugs invade homes across the UK – but you needn’t suffer if you follow these handy tips

Pesky bed bugs can drive us to distraction - but there are steps you can take to minimize the ris
Pesky bed bugs can drive us to distraction – but there are steps you can take to minimize the risk

It’s that time of year again where those pesky bed bugs like to make themselves known to us.

And the cost-of-living crisis makes them potentially even more of a menace, with many of us unwittingly bringing them into our home via second-hand furniture.

As a result, experts at MatressNextDay are urging people to thoroughly check items before buying.

Moving between homes is very easy for these tiny critters, who hide in the smallest of crevices, making them hard to spot. While their bites are usually fairly harmless, an infestation is not something you want in your home.

the NHS says signs of bedbugs include:

  • Spots of blood on your bedding – from the bites or from squashing a bedbug
  • Small brown spots on bedding or furniture (bedbug poo)
  • Bites—often on areas exposed while sleeping, like the face, neck and arms

Bed bugs are a real nuisance, so it’s important to deal with them as quickly as possible – as females can lay as many as 500 eggs in a two-month period. These eggs then hatch in about a week.

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A close up of a bed bug
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Image:

(Getty Images)

Bed bugs are small, oval, brownish insects that have flat bodies – similar in size and color to an apple seed. You can also distinguish a bed bug based on any bites you’ve received.

They typically chomp on exposed areas of the body such as the head, arms, and legs. The bites tend to be in clusters and appear as red raised bumps with a dark spot in the middle.

Here are some helpful tips from MattressNextDay to prevent bed bugs in your home:

Try not to buy second-hand upholstered furniture

Once a bed bug is inside upholstered furniture, it’s impossible to detect them. Plus, if the person selling the upholstered item cleaned or vacuumed it without realizing that bed bugs were present, then the superficial signs that there are bed bugs present will be absent, too.

Unfortunately, using strong chemicals to destroy the bed bugs will only leave them dead inside, and a lingering chemical residue that you won’t be able to wash out.

Thoroughly wash your bedding at least once a week

Dirty items are a bed bug’s best friend, so make sure you wash your bedding at least once a week to avoid the build-up of bacteria that might attract them. Washing at 60C is the best temperature to kill any bacteria, however, keep in mind that you will need a strong detergent to keep your sheets soft.

Vacuum bed bug hotspots on a weekly basis

If you do this at least once a week, it should remove any potential bed bugs from traveling further. Makes sure to vacuum all bed bug hotspots, such as skirting boards, under sofa cushions and under the bed.

Plump for second-hand wooden furniture with little-to-no crevices for them to hide

Bed bugs are tiny so hiding in the pleats of a lampshade or the inside of a clock is a no-brainer for them. However, there are second-hand items worth buying that are less of a risk, such as hard, cleanable surfaces with few, or little to any, crevices.

Hard surfaces such as solid wood and plastic are best, too. For example, bookshelves, nightstands, tables, and dresses. However, make sure to properly inspect each item before buying. To do this, shine a flashlight into narrow openings and inspect them with a magnifying glass.

Tidy your house up so they have fewer places to hide

By cleaning your house and removing unnecessary clutter, you’re making sure the bed bugs have fewer places to hide. The more objects you own, the more places the bed bugs have to cling to and remain undetected. The clutter also increases the difficulty of eliminating the bugs once they’ve been found.

Never use cardboard to store your belongings

Bed bugs love a bit of cardboard, so if you’re buying a couple of items from someone and they give you them in a cardboard box, remove the items from it before taking them home. Similarly, you should try to unpack your boxes as soon as possible after moving house. Finally, if you have cardboard boxes in storage, switch them to a plastic container, instead.

All that’s left to say after all that is to sleep well tonight – don’t let the bed bugs please!

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