With the summer months on the way, many people will be excited to enjoy the warmer weather, but with that comes many unwanted guests – none more so than bed bugs.
Despite their name, these tiny creatures don’t just live in the mattresses and covers but also in carpets and other upholstery too. And with many people buying second-hand furniture, or off to stay in a new bedroom for a trip away, they are being urged to watch out for the key signs.
The creatures can be mostly harmless, however an infestation in your own home or wherever you may be staying on a trip away is not what you need. There are a few key indicators that could suggest to tourists that they may not have the bed to themselves, Hull Live reports.
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A spokesperson for MattressNextDay said: “After the past couple of years we all deserve a fantastic holiday this summer and let’s face it none of us wants to be sharing a bed with these little critters. That’s why we recommend holiday makers check out their mattress before they climb between the sheets for the first time in a new bed.
“If you do suspect there might be some unwanted guests in your holiday bed there are a few things you can look out for to be sure of the situation before you take it up with the hotel manager. It’s important to spot the signs early so that it doesn’t ruin your holiday and ultimately it doesn’t affect your health. If you do spot signs of bed bugs when you arrive at your hotel or apartment then it is best to notify the appropriate staff immediately.
“More often than not you will find that they will be very accommodating as customer care should be their number one priority. We’d advise anyone who is genuinely worried about bed bugs to take a small bug spray with them in their suitcase, just as a precautionary method.”
According to the NHS, some people may be left with reactions to bed bug bites, including a severe allergic reaction, although rare. For those suffering bites, the NHS advises to put something cool on the affected area, keep it clean and avoid scratching the bites.
The NHS states that for bed bug infestations at home, the local council should be contacted, or the local pest control service and affected clothing and bedding should be washed on a hot setting for at least 30 minutes. Alternatively, affected items could be placed in a plastic bag in the freezer for four days and the place should be cleaned and vacuumed regularly.
So what are the tell-tale signs that you are sharing your surroundings with bed bugs?
These eggs are tiny and can be found in numerous places, not just on the mattress. They are about 1mm wide and are often a pale yellow colour. If you do find any of these eggs, it could mean the bed bugs are still very much alive and this should be reported immediately.
White spots on furniture
Bed bugs also like to lay their eggs in furniture as well as mattresses, especially sofas. These will look like bunches of small white spots from a distance, but on closer inspection, this can be where the bugs have decided to keep their eggs.
The odor excreted by bed bugs is certainly distinguishable – a strong, musty and unpleasant smell. This could possibly come from a bed bug’s scent glands and is strongest when there are large amounts of bugs present.
When the bugs get squashed they release a lot of blood, especially around the seams of mattresses – which is where they tend to hide. These spots can start to look a rusty color the longer they have been there.
Bed bugs can also leave stains on walls too so if you do notice any dark spots, this could be bed bug excrement. Make sure not to touch any of the affected areas and notify the hotel or apartment staff straight away if away.
Much like many other creatures, bugs shed their skin once they begin to grow. When trying to identify a shell you should look for small, husk-like bacon that may crunch if squashed. They are primarily found amongst fabric, so check mattresses, headboards, sofas and any other upholstery.
Worn or aged upholstery
Old fabrics that may not have been cleaned thoroughly or are possibly second hand could house a family of bed bugs.
If you haven’t spotted any of these signs but have woken up with small, red, itchy spots on your skin, this could be down to the creepy critters. The bites will often form a straight line across a part of your body, this is a hallmark bed bug trait.