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About Bed Bugs

Signs | Biology & Behavior | WhyControl TreatmentQ&A Identification


Industry Specific Advice

Hospitality & Tourism 

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5 Signs of a bed bug infestation

Top tell-tale signs that you have bed bugs

1. Brown/black spots on mattresses or bedding; furniture or carpets from bed bug excrement (poo)

2. Bloodstains where bed bugs have been squashed

3. Spots of blood on bed linens from the bites

4. Shed bed bug skins, exoskeletons or shells

5. Bed bug bites on the skin

PestWise offer a short course on Pest Awareness which covers what to look for and where.

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Bed Bug Behaviour & Biology

What is the lifecycle of bed bugs?

Bed bugs multiply rapidly, in 6 months a handful of bugs can become a full infestation of 13,000 or more. One female bed bug can produce 200-500 eggs during her lifetime.

Do bed bugs fly?

Adult bed bugs have wing pads, but they don’t develop into functioning wings so they are not able to fly.

Do bed bugs jump?

Unlike fleas, bed bugs are not able to jump long distances – they move by crawling.

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Why do bed bugs bite?

Bed bugs rely on blood for their food source, therefore they must consume blood for survival.

How do bed bugs find hosts?

Body heat and carbon dioxide from exhaled breath are the main two methods that bed bugs use to hunt out their sleeping host.

Do bed bugs live on humans? Do bed bugs live on pets?

Bed bugs generally do not live on their host whether it be human or animal; they feed and then return to their favoured hiding place which is generally mattresses and headboards in hotel rooms or other shared accommodation.

Do bed bugs bite pets?

Common bed bugs prefer to feed on humans although pets can be affected.

Where are bed bugs found?

Basically bed bugs can be found anywhere that people sit or sleep.

Common places to find bed bugs are in hotel rooms, student accommodation, dormitories, hostels, B&B’s, shared households, rental properties, holiday homes and caravans are a common problem.

Bed bugs can also become a problem in offices as employees or visitors may bring them into the building on their bags or other personal belongings.

Theatres, cinemas, taxis and aeroplanes are also another favourite place for bed bugs to take harbourage.

How are bed bugs spread?

Bed bugs are usually spread by personal items such as luggage, suitcases, handbags and clothing that are kept close to beds and mattresses and then moved from location to location.

Furniture can also provide harbourage, so if moved from one room to another or building to building, can equally spread the bed bug infestation.

Are bed bugs dangerous?

The main risk associated with bed bug bites is secondary infections, this is generally caused by scratching the bites and failing to keep the bites clean and sterile.

However there can be a large psychological impact with bed bugs looking to feed from a human host, while they sleep.  Stress and sleep deprivation have been identified by the WHO as a significant impact on human health.

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Why do bed bugs need to be controlled?

Bed bug bites can be very unpleasant, some people have a severe reaction to them leading to the potential for secondary infections from scratching at bites. Presence of bed bugs can disturb sleep as well as causing distress to employees and customers.

If you own a business that has a bed bug infestation, your reputation can be badly affected by negative publicity in the press or on social media.  Often this results in either compensation to customers for their loyalty or at worst, a legal case.

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How to get rid of bed bugs

Do it yourself methods for getting rid of bed bugs are available, however, missing just one bed bug can lead to a re-infestation, so to control this pest will need some careful attention.  

Controlling a bed bug infestation can prove difficult due to the fact that bed bugs are small and like to hide within mattresses, furniture, rugs, carpets and tiny crack and crevices in walls and skirting boards.

Added to this, not all chemicals or insecticides are going to work.  Bed bugs have developed a resistance to many of the main stream products available – both professional and amateur use.

When treating bed bugs some of the common methods used to kill bed bugs are:-

​Steamer for bed bugs

Bed bugs traps

Bed bugs heat treatment

Bed bugs fumigation / chemical spray for bed bugs

​For more information on how to control bed bugs complete our pest awareness course.

Other key things to consider other than extermination of bed bugs are:-

Prevention of bed bugs - this is difficult but there are some pro-active steps you can take including:-

Monitoring (looking for) bed bugs on a daily / weekly basis, especially within the tourism industries. The help of suitable bed bug monitoring products can help you detect problems, but don’t rely on these devices alone, a slow methodical visual check is always the best.

Another key to detecting bed bugs before a guest does is to train your staff in what to look for when they are cleaning and working within the rooms.  A pest awareness course can help with due diligence from the employer and also a skills development duty of care.

PestWise can help trouble shoot bed bug causes; create a plan of action if bed bugs are confirmed; check appropriate treatment and advise on a smart integrated pest management approach to control of bed bugs. We also offer courses to train both amateurs and hospitality staff to recognise signs of bed bugs.

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Bed Bug Common Questions

Are bed bugs visible?

Adult bed bugs are visible to the naked eye, they are approximately the size of an apple pip.

What do bed bugs look like?

Bed bugs have a red/brown coloured oval-shaped body that is generally flat, making it easy for them to hide in small crevices or cracks.

What size are bed bugs?

Bed bug eggs are approximately 1-2mm, about the size of a speck of dust, but they are translucent in colour making them hard to spot; nymphs (immature bedbugs) are born around 2 mm in length and typically difficult to see, once hatched they are roughly the size of a pin head

An adult bed bug measures 4 – 5mm

Are bed bugs black?

Newly hatched nymphs are white or pale brown until they start feeding.

Adult bed bugs are brown in colour but they may look more red in colour after feeding.

How can I tell if I have bed bugs or fleas?

Adult bed bugs are larger than fleas, their body is also flatter. The most obvious sign will be the presence of bites, typically bed bug bites will cover the upper body, whilst typically flea bites will be found from the knee down, mainly around the ankles. However this is not always the case, which is why the presence of bites alone must not just be the only evidence of pest activity.

What is the difference between bed bugs and ticks?

Ticks are usually found outdoors and on closer inspection ticks have eight legs whilst bed bugs only have six.

​Ticks will also live on their host and only detach when they are full; bed bugs will return to their harbourage inbetween feeding.

What do bed bug bites look like?

Bed bug bites can appear as a rash or smaller clusters and are commonly in a straight line. They can also look very similar to flea or mosquito bites.

Do all people have a reaction to bed bug bites?

Everyone will vary, which makes this pest a hard one to detect.  Some people will have no response to a bite and may well be unaware of the presence of bed bugs. Other people may have an immediate reaction, certainly within 12 hours, whilst some may take up to 14-21 days to develop a reaction.

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Hotel Room

Dealing with bed bugs in Hotels, Holiday Parks, Hostels, B&B’s, & Rentals

This is one of the most frequent issues that PestWise are contacted about, due to the complex nature of dealing with bed bugs in multi-occupancy buildings and the constant movement of people that bed bugs like to hitch hike with, the correct management of bed bugs is essential based around brand protection, room availability and occupancy and minimising compensation for bed bug activity .

Control of bed bugs is best achieved by following an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach that involves multiple tactics which can include preventative measure, inspections, non-chemical options such as steam or other heat, or bespoke targeted chemical application. There is no magical cure and often a combination of these options if the best method.  

We frequently encounter businesses in the hospitality, leisure and tourism industries that have been offered solutions that are unnecessary or inappropriate for the issues.  Bedbug eradication requires an in depth knowledge and a bespoke solution, the wrong approach often does more harm than good and can help push bed bugs from one room to another.

We are happy to review any proposals you may have had to check your Pest Control Company have correctly confirmed any infestation; taken into account the extent of the problem and have suggested a suitable treatment based on the risk your operations face and with due regard for health and safety and beneficial customer experience.

If you want independent advice on bed bug management, bed bug removal, bed bug prevention, bed bug treatments and bed bug extermination get in touch. PestWise does not undertake Pest Control services, meaning you can be sure of receiving the best, independent advice appropriate for your business’s needs, we are constantly keeping abreast of new products and techniques and are happy to offer a free initial consultation.

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Bed Bug Foundation

The Bed Bug Foundation is an independent organisation, which raises bed bug awareness through communication and education. The Bed Bug Foundation Senate is a team of industry professionals who provide the technical expertise of the Foundation.
Oliver Madge is a key advisor and founding member.

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