Bed Bugs Uk How To Get Rid Of
Bedbugs are small insects that often live on furniture or bedding. Their bites can be itchy, but do not usually cause other health problems.
Check if it’s bedbugs
Jeff March / Alamy Stock Photo
Bedbugs can hide in many places, including on bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind pictures and under loose wallpaper.
Signs of bedbugs include:
- bites – often on areas exposed while sleeping, like the face, neck and arms
- spots of blood on your bedding – from the bites or from squashing a bedbug
- small brown spots on bedding or furniture (bedbug poo)
Bedbug bites can be red and itchy. They’re often in a line or cluster.
Otto Pleska / Alamy Stock Photo
Some people have a reaction to the bites. They can be very itchy and there may be painful swelling.
How you can treat bedbug bites
Bedbug bites usually clear up on their own in a week or so.
Things you can do include:
- putting something cool, like a clean, damp cloth, on the affected area to help with the itching and any swelling
- keeping the affected area clean
- not scratching the bites to avoid getting an infection
You can ask a pharmacist about:
- using a mild steroid cream like hydrocortisone cream to ease bedbug bites (children under 10 and pregnant women should get advice from a doctor before using hydrocortisone cream)
- antihistamines – these may help if the bites are very itchy and you’re unable to sleep
Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:
- the bites are still very painful, swollen or itchy after trying treatments from a pharmacist
- the redness around the bites is spreading
You may have an infection and need treatment with antibiotics.
Coronavirus update: how to contact a GP
It’s still important to get help from a GP if you need it. To contact your GP surgery:
- visit their website
- use the NHS App
- call them
How to get rid of bedbugs
contact your local council or pest control service – it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get rid of bedbugs yourself because they can be resistant to some insecticides
wash affected bedding and clothing – use a hot wash (60C) or tumble dry on a hot setting for at least 30 minutes
put affected clothing and bedding in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer (-16C) for 4 days (alternative to hot washing)
clean and vacuum regularly – bedbugs are found in both clean and dirty places, but regular cleaning will help you spot them early
do not keep clutter around your bed
do not bring secondhand furniture indoors without carefully checking it first
do not take luggage or clothing indoors without checking it carefully if you have come from somewhere where you know there were bedbugs
Page last reviewed: 21 January 2019
Next review due: 21 January 2022
How to get rid of bed bugs – the safe and easy way
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Follow our simple guide on how to get rid of bed bugs at home and make sure they don’t return
If you’re waking up with rows of red itchy bites, especially on your face, neck, shoulders and limbs you may be sleeping with bed bugs. Want to learn how to get rid of bed bugs? Here’s our simple guide…
What are bed bugs?
Image credit: David Brittain
Bed bugs are small, brown and flat blood-sucking insects that hide and breed in cracks and crevices in and around your bed. They emerge at night to feed on a sleeping host, attracted by their body heat and the carbon dioxide they exhale.
Bed bugs aren’t known to spread diseases. Their bite isn’t harmful to humans and although some people can develop an adverse skin reaction to bed bug bites, some don’t react at all. However just knowing they’re there, waiting for you, can be an unsettling thought.
A bed bug infestation doesn’t mean you have a dirty home and you’re not to blame either – the cheeky little pests can end up in your adode and quickly multiply after hitching a ride in luggage, or in pre-used furniture. They’re also common in multi-occupancy buildings, such as hotels and blocks of flats where they can easily spread from room to room by crawling through pipes and cracks in the walls.
How to spot bed bugs
Image credit: David Giles
Adult bed bugs measure around 6mm across and their elongated eggs and larvae are much smaller so they can be hard to detect. They don’t fly or jump but can crawl quickly and are experts at hiding.
Inspect your mattress, bed frame and surrounding sleeping area for signs of bed bugs, looking for clusters of brown spots – their droppings, and discarded larvae shells. You might also be able to find blood spots on your bedding and smell the musty scent given off by adult bed bugs.
Always check second-hand furniture for bed bugs before you bring any into your home. If you’re travelling, check the hotel beds and headboards too and store your suitcase off the floor on a luggage rack to avoid them climbing onboard.
How to get rid of bed bugs
If you have bed bugs at home, take immediate action to avoid an infestation. It’s best to contact your local council who may treat your home for free, or a pest control company, preferably a member of the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) as they are pros at getting rid of stubborn bed bug infestations and have access to the most effective insecticides and equipment available.
DIY guide to getting rid of bed bugs
We recommend getting professional help to get rid of bed bugs as these pests are notoriously hard to eradicate, due to their immunity to some household insecticides. Plus an infestation can easily recur if any eggs are missed, but if you want to try DIY pest control, take these measures:
1. Spot the infestation
Completely strip your bed and put the infested bed linen, as well as pyjamas and soft toys straight into a 50°C – 60°C wash, if possible. Then tumble dry the items on the hottest setting for 30 minutes as the heat will kill any remaining bed bugs and their eggs. Placing bagged-up laundry in the freezer for three days will also kill the pests.
2. Inspect the surrounding area
Image credit: Dominic Blackmore
Dismantle your bed furniture and thoroughly inspect it along with your mattress and any other potential hiding places around the bed such as carpets, behind bedside tables and cracks in walls (which will need to be sealed) then use a vacuum cleaner with a plastic crevice nozzle attachment to suck up the bed bugs, including their eggs, larvae and droppings. Throw away the vacuum cleaner bag and its contents in a sealed bin liner, immediately. A heavily-infested mattress will need to be disposed of safely and swapped for a new one.
3. Check the whole house
The little pests can crawl quite far, so you should go over the whole room (if not your entire home) with a fine-toothed comb, looking under furniture, inside drawers, behind peeling wallpaper – everywhere, for signs of them.
4. Stop them in their tracks
Next use a special bed bugs insecticide, following the manufacturer’s instructions, to treat all infested areas and kill any remaining bed bugs.
5. Use a chemical free cleaner
Image credit: Vax
Steam cleaning is chemical free and instantly kills bed bugs and their eggs.
Do-it-yourself Bed Bug Control
Can you get rid of bed bugs on your own?
Treating bed bugs is complex. Your likelihood of success depends on many factors, including:
- How many bed bugs you have;
- How much clutter is available for hiding places;
- Whether your neighbors have bedbugs; and
- Whether all residents of a house or building will participate.
Getting rid of bed bugs completely can take weeks to months, depending on the nature and extent of the infestation. To be successful, everyone will need to cooperate and do their part.
The following steps will help you begin:
You may have to follow these steps more than once to kill all the bugs and their eggs.
Identify the Problem
- Identify the pest:
- Collect a sample of the pest to show an extension agentExitor other insect expert.
- Extension agents can identify the pest at no cost to you. They are trained in pest control and know your local area.
Develop a Strategy
- Make a schedule for completing the steps below. Be sure to include any personal plans, such as vacations.
- Keep records through the whole process. Note the dates and exact locations where pests are found. This will help you track progress and better know where to target your work.
- Keep checking for at least a year after you’re done to make sure all the bed bugs are gone.
Keep the Infestation from Spreading
- Remove infested items. Place them in a sealed plastic bag and treat them. Learn more about treatment methods in the sections below.
- Items that cannot be treated should be placed in a sealed plastic bag and left there for up to a year to ensure any active bugs are dead.
- Empty the vacuum after each use. Seal the bag as tightly as possible and immediately throw it out in an outdoor trash container.
- Discard furniture responsibly if you can’t safely eliminate the bed bugs. Destroy it so someone else won’t be tempted to bring it into their home. For example:
- Rip covers and remove stuffing from furniture items.
- Use spray paint to mark furniture with "Bed Bugs."
Prepare for Treatment
Preparing for treatment is very important; it will make it easier to monitor for bed bugs that haven’t been eliminated. This preparation should be completed whether you are doing the treatment yourself or hiring a professional.
Kill the Bed Bugs
- Make sure the methods you select are safe, effective and legal. See What’s Legal, What’s Not.
- Considernon-chemical methodsof killing bed bugs. Some will be more useful than others depending on your situation. These and other methods can be helpful, but they might not get rid of the infestation entirely:
- Heat treatment:You can use a clothes dryer on high heat. You can also use black plastic bags in a hot, closed car in the sun, but success depends on your climate and other factors. Do-it-yourself heat treatments might not work. Professionals have access to more intensive and proven methods that can even treat whole houses with heat. You may also purchase a portable heat chamber, which is usually quite effective.
- Cold treatmentcan be successful in the home environment if the freezer is set to 0 o F. You must leave the items in a sealed bag in the freezer at that temperature for four days. Always use a thermometer to check the temperature, since home freezers are not always set to 0 o .
- Steam cleaners(wet or dry) can get into cracks and fabrics to treat carpets, baseboards, bed frames, and other furniture. The steam temperature must be at least 130 o F but should not have a forceful airflow, or it may cause bed bugs to scatter. Use a diffuser to prevent scattering.
Evaluate and Prevent
- Continue to inspect for bed bugs, at least every 7 days, in case any eggs remain. You can use interceptors, traps or other monitoring methods. Interceptors are placed under the legs of furniture to catch bed bugs and keep them from climbing the legs. Commercial and do-it-yourself interceptors are options.
- Continue to protect your home from bed bugs.
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Bed bug bites: Have you been bitten? Five signs to look for and how to get rid of them
BED bugs bites can cause great irritation, but unless you spot an infestation and get rid of them, the problem will keep occurring. Because bed bugs are difficult to spot, the best way to identify you have a problem is by looking at your bites. There are five signs to look for.
Bed bug bites are small insects that live in the cracks and crevices in and around beds.
They can be difficult to spot for a number of reasons – one being that they crawl out at night and bite exposed skin.
Bed bugs are also very small, with adult bedbugs only growing up to 5mm long – a similar size to an apple seed.
One of the best indicators you have bed bugs is to distinguish the bites. The NHS lists five signs that show you’ve been bitten.
Bed bug bites are small insects that live in the cracks and crevices in and around beds
The first, is the bites can cause itchy red bumps not he skin.
Secondly, they usually occur on exposed areas such as the face, neck, hands or arms.
Thirdly, they often occur in lines across the skin.
The fourth sign is they may cause a rash or fluid-filled blisters in more severe cases.
Finally, bed bug bites can become infected with bacteria if scratched. Signs of infection when this happens include pain, increasing redness and swelling.
The health body adds: “The bites usually fade in a few days. If they’re very itchy, you can buy a mild steroid cream (such as hydrocortisone) or antihistamine tablets to relieve the itch.
Bed bug bites: How do you know if you’ve been bitten? (Image: GETTY)
“See your GP if you develop signs of a skin infection, including pain, redness and swelling, as you may need antibiotics.”
You can try and spot the presence of bed bugs in your bed. You may be able to spot the small bugs or tiny white eggs. A bright torch can help with this.
Tiny black spots on your mattress may also be apparent – this could be their dried poo – or you may spot blood spots on your sheets if a bug has been squashed after it’s fed.
An unpleasant, musty smell in your bedroom can also indicate an infestation.
Bed bug bites: Also look out for tiny white eggs on your mattress (Image: GETTY)
Bed bugs: How to spot them and how to get rid of them
Bed bugs: What are bed bugs? How to spot an infestation and how to get rid of them.
Bed bugs: How to spot them and how to get rid of them
First, wash infested clothes or bed linen at 60C or put them in a dryer on a hot setting for 30 minutes.
Next, use a vacuum cleaner with a hose to suck up any bugs you can see. Proceed to dispose of the contents of the vacuum cleaner in a sealed bag.
Consider throwing away any mattress or furniture that’s heavily infested.
Use plastic mattress covers that encase the entire mattress – this will stop any bed bugs getting in or out.
If you’re looking to prevent bed bug infestations, make sure to inspect your mattress and bed regularly for signs of an infestation and get professional advice if you think you have bed bugs.
Avoid buying second-hand mattresses and carefully inspect second-hand furniture before bringing it in your home.
Finally, keep your bedroom tidy and remove clutter.
Horsefly bites have also been common this year. The bites are painful and itchy, but there are five other signs you may have been bitten.
How to get rid of bed bugs
Once a bed bug problem is discovered, most people just want to know the best way to eliminate them. Thankfully there are some simple steps you can take, prior to professional bed bug treatment, to help manage the level of an infestation from bed bugs. Watch our video on the 5 simple steps you can take to help eliminate bed bugs from your home.
5 simple steps to help you tackle a small bed bug infestation
High levels of hygiene, deep cleaning and the use of DIY bed bug spray products will help to kill some bed bugs. However professional treatment is often needed to successfully treat an infestation as it can be hard to get rid of bed bugs completely on your own. DIY solutions are not usually powerful enough to eradicate the presence of bed bugs. They have built up resilience to many types of conventional pesticides, making even professional treatment difficult.
Identify Your Pest
The first step to solving any pest problem is to know what pest you are dealing with. In this case, you need to be sure you have bed bugs and not another biting insect such as mosquitoes or fleas. Pest control services and solutions vary depending on the species infesting your home or business.
Bed bugs are nocturnal, only coming out at night to feed, which makes them difficult to spot. During the day they tend to hide in cracks and crevices near their preferred feeding area(usually a bed). If you can identify the common signs of bed bugs, it will help to confirm if there is an infestation present in your premises.
Correct identification of a bed bug or bed bug bite will help you to choose the most effective pest control solution, saving you both time and money.
Watch our infographic video about bed bugs.
Choose Your Method
DIY or Professional?
When it comes to getting rid of bed bugs, you are likely to need professional help even though there are DIY options to help reduce the numbers of bed bugs these are unlikely to eradicate an established infestation completely.
The DIY option, requires you to take a proactive approach to managing an infestation taking up a lot of time as you will need to be carefully monitoring the effectiveness of the DIY treatment. You will also need a basic awareness of common bed bug hotspots to make your DIY treatments as effective as possible and you’ll need to understand how and where they can spread to ensure that all potential areas of infestation are monitored and treated.
The professional solution just needs you to contact your local, Rentokil expert at the first signs of bed bugs, to allow immediate treatment byBPCA(British Pest Control Association) certified technicians.
DIY bed bug treatment (not recommended)
If you decide to control bed bugs on your own, there are a few steps you can take straight away to try and manage a small bed bug problem.
How to get rid of bed bugs yourself
- Inspect- check bed bug hot spots such as mattress seams, bed frames, headboards, along the edge of carpets, and nearby furniture(cabinets, drawers, armchairs, sofas)for live insects.
- Wash- wash infested bedding at a high temperature of at least 60℃ for ideally 90 minutes minimum.
- Heat- If possible, place items into a tumble dryer for minimum 30 minute cycle.
- Vacuum- vacuum your bed, mattress, and any area near to where you have spotted bed bugs. Use the hose attachments to clean along walls and around edges. Afterwards, take the vacuum outside of your property to empty into an outside bin and seal securely.
Although these steps can help to control the problem, they do not guarantee to eliminate a bed bug infestation completely. The most effective solution for complete bed bug eradication is by an expert, professionally qualified pest controller.
Professional bed bug treatment
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Your Home
Waking up to discover bed bug bites will still be very distressing, especially if young children are involved. If you’ve taken all the necessary bed bug prevention steps and have not achieved success with DIY treatments, your next step should be to contact a pest control professional.
At Rentokil, our experts understand the habits of bed bugs and use their knowledge and expertise to choose the most effective bed bug control solutions for your property. We offer a range of bed bug solutions such as heat pod treatment and chemical which effectively manage a bed bug problem at each stage of their life cycle from eggs to fully grown adults.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Your Business
When it comes to bed bugs, businesses operating in the hospitality industry are at greatest risk. This is due to the high volumes of traffic hotels, B&Bs, and motels receive each day, which increases the risk of a bed bug infestation.
The consequences are significant for brand reputation, customer reviews, employee morale, operational efficiency and ultimately revenue and profits. When it comes to bed bugs and business, DIY treatment is far too risky and cannot guarantee success. For complete protection, you should depend on a qualified, expert pest controller for expert bed bug control.
At Rentokil we not only offer innovative bed bug solutions using heat pod treatment, but also provide training to help educate your staff on how to successfully spot the early signs of bed bugs in hotels and what to do before an infestation can take hold.
How to choose your pest controller
How To Choose your Pest Controller
To find the right professional pest control company, you need to ensure the entire organisation, as well as the pest control technicians are able to fulfill key criteria. A good pest controller should be able to anticipate and answer all your health and safety concerns. Services and treatments should be tailored to suit your individual needs as much as possible.
Crucially a professional should also respect your home, property or business site and operate with the greatest care and attention. He or she should be able to voice any challenges or restrictions right from the start. Equally, as a customer, you should always feel able to voice any concerns and ask as many questions as you need to.
Key criteria for Selection:
- Certifications- licences and certifications will demonstrate that your treatments are carried out to the highest industry standard practices.
- Affiliated associations- membership of recognised industry associations will ensure your services are provided by a trained, insured and trusted company, which has to comply to strict membership criteria.
- Personal recommendations- even today, word-of-mouth and personal recommendations can be more powerful than a company’s own word. Speak to neighbours, friends, family and check review sites to find out about customer satisfaction.
- Online reviews- independent online Customer Reviews – such as Trustpilot, can be a source of information by your peers on the services they have received.
- Transparency- complete honesty and transparency early-on regarding the cost, level and duration of treatment required will help you see if the company is reliable.
- Expertise & experience- a well established, recognised company can offer peace of mind in the services provided and its relationship with customers.
Why use Rentokil?
With Rentokil you can be assured of complete pest protection from British Pest Control Association (BPCA) certified technicians. Our focus on control solutions will ensure elimination of your pest problem. At the same time, our approach to pest prevention will help your home or business remain pest-free long-term.
Our experience and expertise in the pest control industry should reassure you of the quality of our service and our expertly trained pest controllers.
- We tailor our treatments to target pests by species.
- We customise our solutions based on the uniqueness of your home, building or business premises – recognising that every pest problem is different.
- We use advanced solutions approved by industry governing bodies – helping to ensure reliability and success.
- Our large network of entomologists and field biologists support the services and treatments used by our pest controllers on-site.
Contact us today, to get rid of your bed bug problem and eliminate any stress or concerns you have regarding pests in your property.