Adult bedbugs are a reddish-brown colour, flattened, oval, and wingless. Adults grow to approximately 4 – 5 mm in length and 1.5 – 3 mm wide. Newly hatched nymphs are translucent, lighter in colour and become browner as they mouth and reach maturity.
Bedbugs are (bloodsucking) insects. Bedbugs are attracted to their hosts primarily by carbon dioxide, secondarily by warmth, and also by certain chemicals.
Bedbugs do not normally spread disease in the UK but the bodies reaction to bites causes distress and irritation.
A bedbug pierces the skin of its host with two hollow feeding tubes. With one tube it injects its saliva, which contains anesthetics, while with the other it withdraws the blood of its host. After feeding for about five minutes, the bug returns to its hiding place.
Bedbugs are primarily a travel issue rather than a hygiene issue in the UK as they can travel in suitcases from onelocation to the next. Care is needed when returning from hot countries and Houses of Multiple Occupancy with a quick turnover of tenants are especially vulnerable.
Treatment has to be undertaken thoroughly and a painstaking preliminary inspection is important as the insects can hide in very small spaces, in the headboards, electrical sockets, walls and furniture for example.
Bedbugs have to be treated professionally in order for them to be completely eradicated.
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