Bed bug treatments throughout the Reading area
We are getting bitten at night, how do we know if its bed bugs?
Remember the saying “Sleep tight, hope the bed bugs don’t bite”? bed bugs have been a problem for centuries but how do you know if you actually have bed bugs and what exactly are these insects?
Bed bugs are thought to be over 115 million years old and were originally just a parasite that lived off early mammals, they have become specialized to live off us and we have been plagued with these insects ever since.
Without doubt bed bugs are the one pest that sits on top of the yuk-ometer for both the customer and the technician and when it comes to dealing with bed bugs in Maidenhead, we are experts in delivering an effective service.
There are easily spotted signs of a bed bug infestations and we’ll explain these in detail but look out for:
• Blood spots on sheets
• Bite marks in lines on the skin
• Discarded skin from the bed bugs
• A musty smell
• Oval shaped insects that range in colour from clear to a dark reddish brown
Where can bed bugs be picked up from?
With a name like ‘bed bug’, these insects have a long association with our sleeping arrangements, and they can be easily picked up in hotels, hostels and other places that people sleep and rest.
However, what many people fail to appreciate is that these insects are equipped tiny claws at the end of each leg. These claws are used for gripping hairs and fibers and so bed bugs are one of nature’s great hitchhikers.
Combine the bed bugs hitchhiking skills with our desire to travel, it means that you can pick up these insects from just sitting on a train, an airplane seat or even from the back of a taxi cab.
So the correct answer to the question “Where can you pick up bed bugs from”? is unfortunately for us, “Just about anywhere”!
How can we tell if we have bed bugs?
There are some tell-tale indicators that will show you if there is a bed bug infestation, and these are:
Rows of bites
When a bed bug bites it leaves a similar red welt on the skin like those from mosquitos and there is a tendency for bed bugs to bite in lines; this occurs because of the insect’s habit of feeding on the junction of skin and bed sheet or night clothes.
When a bed bug feeds, they puncture the skin to find a capillary and our blood pressure then pumps blood into the insect’s stomach.
When the capillary doesn’t supply enough blood or the bed bug needs to defecate, the insect will move and then repeat the process, biting in a line as it follows the junction of covering and skin.
The bed bugs meal is the content of our blood and as 60% of our blood is made up of water which has no nutritional value to the insect, the bed bug only wants the solid particles in our blood. This means that the insects will defecate during and after feeding. the liquid is discarded immediately, meaning that blood spots will appear on sheets, pillowcases and clothing.
Bed bugs will hide in tight cracks and crevices as part of their breeding habit and these areas fill up with numerous bed bugs, meaning that the sheer volume of discarded blood eventually turns the space black. At this stage you may even detect the iron like smell of blood coming from on of these bed bug hideaways.
Discarded bed bug skins
Bed bugs are a type of insect that doesn’t have a lifecycle change which involves pupation, an example of this is the way that caterpillars change their body to become moths and butterflies. When it comes down to bed bugs they are born as tiny versions of their adult selves complete with hard exoskeleton.
To become adult bed bugs, they will need to shed this exoskeleton and they have a process of seven moults, shedding each smaller outer skin as they become larger. Cockroaches have the same growth process, but they eat their discarded skins, with bed bugs the skins are simply discarded and can be found lying on carpets and on bed frames. The skins are the outer skeleton, and they have the characteristics and colour of bed bugs being an orange / reddish colour.
At the beginning of an infestation when the population is small you probably won’t see any bed bugs, you will receive insect bites which are usually attributed to other insects like mosquitos and so ignored.
Bed bugs are thigmophilic which means that they like to touch and be touched in their environment, so they squeeze into the smallest of gaps to hide away, this is also part of their breeding strategy with male bed bugs releasing a harborage pheromone to attract the females.
As time passes the number of bed bugs increases meaning that eventually you will find them travelling further afield to find a new hiding places, such as up the backs of curtains and behind pictures hanging on walls. This is when you encounter bed bugs walking across surfaces such as walls and ceilings as they make their way back to their chosen hiding place.
Bed bugs have a distinctive smell which becomes more noticeable as the infestation continues and when they congregate together in a confined space. This smell is likened to that of a dirty damp towel that’s been left inside a sports bag or slightly rotting fruit, along with their natural scent you may pick up a smell from the buildup of bed bug faeces as this matter is largely discarded blood.
Professional bed bug eradication in Reading
How we carryout bed bug treatments.
Our bed bug treatments always start with heat being applied to the affected area; bed bugs are slowly developing chemical resistance to many of the pesticides that are used in their control, so a treatment that relies solely on a chemical application may fail depending on whether or not resistance is present.
Bed bugs cannot withstand high temperatures; at a high enough temperature which is given the term; the thermal death point, bed bugs simply expire and so we include a high temperature steam treatment that is combined with the application of a number of chemicals to deliver successful bed bug treatments all over the Reading area.
We also have the option of using portable electric heaters to raise the entire room temperature to a high enough point to kill off any bed bugs inside.
The bed bug treatment process
Before we start a bedbug treatment we ask if you could do some preparation to get the area ready for our technician, they need to be as thorough as possible, and we will dismantle the bed to get the steam and chemicals into all the cracks and crevices.
Any items stored underneath the bed or within divan drawers will need to be removed as these may contain bed bugs; always do this carefully and because bed bugs can survive for over nine months without feeding, thought has to go into what you are going to do with these items during that time?
Soft items like shoes and handbags can be bagged and placed inside a freezer; temperatures below -18* C will kill off the bed bugs, but you will need to leave them inside the freezer long enough for the cold to fully penetrate the items.
Otherwise, you will have to quarantine the items for up to a year to starve the bed bugs out and this can be difficult unless the items stored are mementos and things like photo albums.
How to prepare for a bed bug treatment
Successful bed bug treatments will rely on the technician being as thorough as possible, some form of preparation is required to help deliver a positive result –
As mentioned, remove all stored items from under or inside the bed, arrange for any pets to be taken away on the day of the treatment, bed bugs can feed on cats and dogs, so it is worth giving these an additional flea treatment to kill off any insects in their fur. Remember to wash any pet bedding on a high temperature setting; this must be a minimum of 60 degrees Celsius to kill off any insects inside.
Thoroughly vacuum all the rooms to be treated, this does two things – first it cleans the room and removes dust before the application of any liquid chemicals which will give dust a sticky consistency and, secondly it may remove some of the bed bug population from carpets.
Because there’s a chance these will now be in the vacuum cleaner, empty the machine outside of the house and seal the waste bag up – do not leave the vacuum cleaner with the bugs inside as they could spread to other previously unaffected areas.
Post treatment, we also don’t want you vacuuming the treated room for up to six weeks as the chemicals we apply have a long lasting residual capacity and the action of vacuuming will remove the chemical from the treated areas.
Steam and chemical application to kill off bed bugs.
Our technician will begin the steam treatment first and whilst that is going on you can stay in the affected area as we have not introduced any chemicals at this point.
Our technicians wear PPE for their safety during the chemical application and so you will have to vacate the area while that is being carried out and afterwards throughout the drying period.
Severe infestations will require more than one treatment and our technician will talk through the infestation and what the next steps are.