Bed bugs are small insects – around 6mm long, oval with a flattened appearance. As their diet consists solely of blood, they are brown to red.
Their small, flat bodies allow them to easily hide in the folds of mattresses, bedding, clothing, and – beware travellers! - in suitcases. They are most typically found in bedrooms, as this is the most accessible place to feed. Bed bugs are most active at night, so the insects themselves are rarely seen. Bed bugs are attracted to our body’s warm temperature and the carbon dioxide we usually exhale while sleeping.
Although less common, they can also be found in other areas of our home, generally in areas where we rest or sleep, such as a sitting room, where they may infest sofas and armchairs or other furnishings.
Indications of a bed bug problem
On your skin – the appearance of tiny red spots, possibly itchy and swollen, similar to a rash. These will appear on any exposed area of skin, most noticeable in the morning. This may be a bite from a bed bug during the night.
Dark dots or marks on bedding, mattresses and sheets – red, brown or black – are blood spots or faeces from the bed bug.
You may see the bed bugs themselves or shed skin from one.
Egg clusters on areas around the bed, most noticeable on furniture.
A strange, sweet sickly smell
Notoriously tricky to fully get rid of, this is one pest that should always be left to the experts.