Bedbugs – NHS Choices

Bedbugs are small blood-sucking insects that live in cracks and crevices in and around beds. They crawl out at nightand bite exposed skintofeed onblood.

Adult bedbugs are oval-shaped, flat and up to 5mm long similar to an apple seed.

Their colour varies between dark yellow, red or brown.

Bedbugs aren't dangerous anddon't spread any diseases, but some people experience a reaction to their bites and they can be stressful to live with.

This page covers:

How to spot bedbugs

How to get rid of bedbugs

Bedbug bites

Preventing bedbug infestations

Signs of a bedbug infestation can include:

Bedbugs tend to prefer fabric or wood over plastic and metal, and often hide near to where you sleep for example, under the mattress or along the headboard.

Butthey can be found away from the bed in other furniture, along the edges of carpets and even behind mirrors or inside smoke alarms.

Bedbugs can be very difficult to get rid of. Your best chance of successfully treating an infestation is to get professional help.

Contact your local council ora pest control firm that's a member of the British Pest Control Associationor National Pest Technicians Association.

A technician will carry out an inspection to confirm an infestation. They can thenusespecialtreatments such as insecticide, a steamer or rapid freeze system to get rid of the bugs.

Theymay also advise about things you can do to help, such as:

Bedbug bites are painless, butsome people experience a reaction to them. This can occur from a few minutes after being bitten up to a week or two later.

Bedbug bites:

The bites usually fade in a few days. If they'revery itchy, you can buy a mildsteroid cream (such as hydrocortisone) or antihistamine tablets to relieve the itch.

See your GP if you develop signs of a skin infection (pain, redness and swelling). You may need antibiotics.

It can be difficult to avoid bedbugs, as they can be transported easily in luggage, clothing and furniture.

Once in your home,they canquickly spread from room to room. They don't jump or fly, but can crawl long distances.

It can help to:

Bedbugs aren'tattracted to dirt, so they're nota sign of an unclean home, butclearing up any clutterwill reduce the number of places they can hide.

Page last reviewed: 02/12/2016

Next review due: 02/12/2019

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Bedbugs - NHS Choices

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