“Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” - When I was little I always thought this was a rather sweet little saying and never questioned what bed bugs actually were. Now, knowing what I do about bed bugs (feeding on your blood like some sort of vampire!), am glad I didn’t ask!
These pests are notoriously difficult to get rid of and can spread easily – which is why bed bug control is so important.
I freely admit that I have become very “bed bug aware” since working for a pest control company even carrying out spot checks on my bed to look for tell tale signs whenever I stay away from home as do other colleagues. Hotels and guest accommodation are still regarded as the greatest source for a bed bug problem. Nowadays I never ever put my luggage on the bed and I always have to pull back the bed covers and check for the tell tale blood spots on the sheets. You may think this is slightly paranoid behaviour though it isn’t as strange as some people who never even put their luggage down on the carpet, opting instead to leave it in the bathroom (or bathtub!).
Tips for checking for bed bugs & preventing bed bug bites:
- Check your bed – even if you are staying in a luxury hotel! – for tiny blood droplets on sheets and mattresses (a memento from their previous feed!)
- Move the bed away from the wall and check behind the headboard and your mattress for any signs.
- Make sure your bed sheets are not in contact with the floor and that your bed is not too close to any walls. Bed bugs are wingless so in order for them to get to you in bed they need to be able to climb up to you somehow.
- Bed bug bites – if you wake up in the morning and discover bites you didn’t have the night before (assuming that it is not from a mosquito) it will be worth doing the checks on your bed to see if there are any signs of bed bugs. Bed bugs are nocturnal and their bites can leave you with an itchy rash.
- Don’t put your suitcase on or near the bed – bed bugs could climb up them and then you may be unfortunate enough to give them a free ride back to your home!
It still amazes me to know that bed bugs are not attracted to dirt or poor hygiene standards – a myth already dispelled in a previous post on Top 10 Pest Urban Myths. They are indiscriminate and can strike in the cleanest of bedrooms, hotels and homes (even the cleaning-obsessed Monica from the Friends series may find it difficult to prevent them).
It definitely pays to be aware of the signs and to know how to get rid of bed bugs.
Sleep tight everyone….and remember not to let the bed bugs bite!