We understand the massive impact that a bed bug infestation can have on homes and businesses. It can be very stressful to discover this blood-sucking parasite living in our homes and can have serious business consequences when an infestation is discovered in hotels, B&B’s and pubs offering accommodation.
We provide a specialist bed bug eradication service that will ensure that your home and business are bed bug free. The biology and ecology of this insect means the treatment needs to be carried out by a professional with extensive experience. At Kestrel Pest Management, we have many years’ experience dealing with bed bugs and employ the best equipment and insecticides that we know work.
If you are unsure as to whether bed bugs are the source of the problem, then arrange an inspection with us. Our qualified expert will conduct a thorough property survey to determine the cause, extent and level of infestation. Using this information, we will then devise a treatment strategy that will effectively exterminate the bed bug infestation.
Bed Bug Bites: Bed bugs are blood sucking parasites that feed on our blood. The easiest way for them to bite us is when we are sleeping in our beds, due to the fact we are relatively still and our skin is exposed. They locate our presence by sensing C02 emitted in our breath and warmth radiated from our bodies. The bed bugs will only spend a few minutes feeding and will often bite several times resulting in lines or clusters of bites. It is thought that these lines are the result of bed bugs preferring to remain in contact with the bedding as they locate a suitable feeding site. They inject an anaesthetic in their saliva that numbs the pain of the bite, which means we are unlikely to stir from our sleep. They also inject an anticoagulant that allows the blood to keep flowing as the bed bugs feed.
It is the reaction to bed bug saliva that causes some people to react quickly to the bites, whereas other people have no reaction at all to being bitten. The bites usually start off as red welts about 5mm across which can then become raised and may develop into blisters. It is the itchiness of the bites that can cause an issue, where bacteria are introduced to the bite when scratching.
Bed Bugs Cause Loss of Reputation: A bed bug infestation can have serious financial implications on the hospitality and transport sectors. Hotels, B&B’s, hostels, holiday cottages, rental properties, new homes, planes, ships, trains, buses etc. have all been known to be afflicted with bed bugs. Complaints to businesses that have issues with bed bugs have increased dramatically over the last few years and the potential of customers transferring the infestation back home with them is significant. Negative reviews and feeds on social media can have serious financial implications on a business, where bed bugs can literally ‘suck the blood’ out of the business.
As businesses become more aware of the threat these insects pose to their reputations, the more responsible owners are starting to take a proactive approach to bed bug management, where procedures are put in place that enable infestations to be rapidly detected and treated. We are getting many requests at Kestrel Pest Management from businesses that want to put in place a bed bug management plan, that helps identify a bed bug infestation in the early stages and implement an effective treatment strategy.
Bed bugs can be introduced into homes and businesses through various means:
There are a number of signs that can indicate that there is a bed bug infestation:
Bed Bug Bites: The appearance of bites after sleeping can indicate that bed bugs are present. Bites are reddened welts about 5mm across that often become raised and can develop into blisters. This should not be relied upon as definitive proof that bed bugs are the culprit as there a several insects and other medical conditions that can be confused with bed bug bites.
Sightings of Bed Bugs: Bed bugs will hide in cracks and crevices when they are not feeding, and this can mean they are very difficult to detect in the early stages of an infestation. They will hide in the buttons and beading of mattresses, in the bed frame, under wallpaper, in bedside furniture, under carpets, under skirting boards, in electrical sockets, in fact anywhere that offers a suitable hiding place. The most obvious stage of the life cycle is the adult stage. Adult bed bugs are 6mm long, have a flattened oval shape and light brown when unfed. When gorged on blood they appear mahogany coloured as the abdomen is swollen with blood. Young bed bugs called nymphs are the immature forms of the bed bugs and these range in size from 1mm to 5mm. The nymphs are generally lighter coloured than the adults. The smallest stages of the life cycle are the 1mm long eggs, which are white coloured with a slight bend and deposited in dark areas so can be difficult to find. (See Bed Bug Life Cycle Below).
Shed Bed Bug Skins: As the bed bug nymphs develop, they must shed their skins in order to accommodate their change in size. These cast skins are light coloured and often found in bed bug harbourage sites.
Blood Stains: When bed bugs return to their harbourage site after feeding, they will often excrete blood. This dried blood appears as dark brown/black stains. Sometimes bed bugs that have recently fed will be rolled on or squashed as they move through the bedding and this can result in significant blood smears on sheets/pillow cases.
Bed Bug Faeces: Bed bugs also defecate small pellets that are rich in blood. These can also be found in their harbourage sites. When these faecal pellets are placed on a wet tissue, they will turn blood red.
Bed Bug Odour: A long standing bed bug infestation has a distinctive musty smell that some describe as smelling like coriander.
Bed Bug Survey: Before we arrange a bed bug treatment, we always undertake a bed bug survey of the property. This involves a detailed investigation of the property to determine the intensity and extent of the infestation, which then allows us to formulate an effective treatment plan.
Bed Bug Pre-treatment preparation: The are some pre-treatment tasks that need to be carried out before we undertake the treatment:
Bed Bug Treatment: People and pets must leave the home/business whilst it’s being treated and stay out until all areas are completely dry. This is because the insecticides used to kill the bed bugs can be harmful before it’s dry. The treatment process involves the application of a specialist residual insecticide to all infested areas. This will kill any bed bugs that are directly contacted but more importantly, leave a fine residue of insecticide that will kill bed bugs when they emerge from their harbourage sites.
Bed Bug Post-Treatment Recommendations: For the treatment to be successful, there should be no cleaning or vacuuming of the treated areas for 2 to 3 weeks. This will allow the insecticide to remain in place and kill any emerging bed bugs. After 2 to 3 weeks a follow-up visit will be carried out to ensure the treatment has been successful.
Appearance: Adult bed bugs are 6mm long, have a flattened oval shape and light brown when unfed. When gorged on blood they appear mahogany coloured as the abdomen is swollen with blood. This unfed flattened appearance allows them to hide away in the smallest of gaps during the day.
Life Cycle: Bed bugs undergo incomplete metamorphosis, so they hatch from the eggs as small bed bugs (nymphs) and gradually increase in size until they reach adult size:
Egg Nymph Adult
The eggs are laid by the female bed bug in clusters of 4 to 5, which are deposited in cracks and crevices by means of a glue. The bed bug eggs are around 1mm long, white coloured, with a slight bend. Throughout her lifetime a female bed bug can lay 500 eggs. The eggs hatch in around 14 days, when the emerging nymphs seek out their first blood meal.
The emerging nymphs are 1.5mm long and are much lighter in colour than the adults. They immediately begin to feed on blood from their host. They go through a series of 5 moults before they reach adulthood and before each moult, they require a blood meal. Dependent on the temperature and availability of a host, they can complete their life cycle in as little as several weeks. In the absence of a host, bed bugs can enter a dormant phase that can last for up to one year. This explains why newly occupied properties suddenly come alive with bed bugs.
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