Householders in Dorset who are planning a spring clean are being urged to add checking for bed bugs to their to-do list.
The parasites can be hard to spot – and live in other furniture besides bedding.
National trade body British Pest Control Association (BPCA) is advising people to look for signs of bed bugs when spring cleaning – and to maintain regular checks throughout the year.
BPCA has an online guide (bpca.org/bedbugs) with video to help householders identify a potential bed bug infestation, along with advice on when to call for professional help.
John Horsley, technical officer at BPCA, said: “Bed bugs are parasitic insects that can be transported on items such as luggage and second-hand furniture.
“They will hide in crevices in beds, nearby furniture, behind skirting boards, under loose wallpaper and even in plug sockets.
“If you spot signs of a bed bug infestation, we strongly recommend you act immediately and contact a professional pest control company, preferably a member of the BPCA.”
Adult bed bugs are wingless insects resembling a small brown disc up to six millimeters in length. The early stages of bed bugs are tiny, making them hard to detect with the naked eye.
Bed bugs are not known to spread diseases, but their bites cause red irritating marks or lumps. Some people may develop a severe skin reaction and may experience disturbed sleep.
BPCA warns against amateur treatments which could prolong an infestation and lead to it spiraling out of control.
John added: “Bed bugs will migrate in search of a human host, so if you spot them in one room, they might be elsewhere in your home, so it’s vital that as soon as it is spotted, an infestation is dealt by a pest professional such as a BPCA member.”
The online guide and video can be found at bpca.org/bedbugs.
BPCA members are trained, experienced professionals with access to a range of specialist products not available to the public.
They are trained, qualified and regularly assessed to the British Standard in Pest Management BS EN 16636.
To find a professional pest controller visit bpca.org.uk/find