People are being warned to keep an eye out for beg bug infestation ahead of the summer months.
With the cost of living on the rise, many Irish people may be considering purchasing second-hand furniture to save on costs – however, sleep experts are urging everyone to check that the item doesn’t have a bed bug infestation before buying.
As bed bugs are great hitchhikers that can hide in small crevices, they easily move between homes by traveling on clothing or furniture – and can cause rashes, blisters, infections and more.
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Why is it important to deal with a bedbug as soon as you spot one?
Although bed bugs typically feed on blood every 5 to 10 days, they are resilient and capable of surviving up to a year without feeding. Plus, female bed bugs lay 200-500 eggs over two months in batches of 10 to 50. The eggs are sticky and attach to items of furniture or fittings in clusters. Eggs can also hatch in about a week so it’s important to deal with a bed bug as soon as you find one.
What do bedbugs look like?
Bed bugs are small, oval, brownish insects that have flat bodies, and are a similar size and color to an apple seed. You can also distinguish a bed bug based on any bites you’ve received. Bed bugs typically bite areas of the body that are exposed whilst sleeping, like 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.
Experts reveal eight tips to prevent bed bugs in your home
There are some easy and basic tricks to prevent bed bug infestations. Here are eight of them according to the sleep experts at MattressNextDay.
Never buy second-hand upholstered furniture
Unfortunately, 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 eradicate the bed bugs will only leave them dead inside, and a lingering chemical residue that you won’t be able to wash out.
Stick to buying second-hand wooden furniture with little-to-no crevices for them to hide
Unfortunately, due to being so small, bed bugs can hide in everything from the pleats of a lampshade to the inside of a clock. However, there are second-hand items worth purchasing 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.
Know how to spot the signs of a bed bug
Bed bugs are hard to identify, but they aren’t invisible. They leave signs you can sometimes detect if you’re careful and observant. If you find an item from a reputable seller you think is worth serious consideration, grab a magnifying glass and flashlight and look for these tell-tale signs of bed bug activity:
Reddish or rust-like stains: Tiny dark stains can be a sign of a crushed bed bug. Since bed bugs usually bite us in order to get feed on our blood so small stains can also be a sign of a bedbug infestation.
Eggs or excrement: Look for eggs of bed bugs, which are white and usually in clusters but quite hard to notice since they are very small. To be sure that it’s from bed bugs, you can also look for brown stains on your bedframe which is likely bed bug droppings. You can find out for sure if they are droppings by rubbing water on them. If it smears, it is from bed bugs.
Musty smell: One of the final signs of bedbugs is a musty, damp odour, similar to old moldy clothing, which could arise from the furniture. A general rule is stronger the smell, the stronger the bed bug infestation.
Let your mattress air once a week
Every week, you should pull back your bedding and let your mattress air to give it the chance to spring back into shape and evaporate excess moisture. Besides bed bugs, airing your mattress also helps reduce dust mites from wandering around the warmth of your mattress as they thrive in these conditions.
Wash your bedding at least once a week
Bed bugs are attracted to dirty items so make sure you wash your bedding at least once a week to avoid the build-up of bacteria that might attract the critters. We recommend washing at 60 as this 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 these bed bug hotspots at least once a week
Similarly, you should also vacuum at least once a week to 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.
Keep your home clutter-free so they have fewer places to hide
By reducing clutter in your homes, you’re making sure the bed bugs have lesser 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 are also known to hide in 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 the cardboard box before bringing 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.
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