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Bed Bug Fact Sheet

Pest biology

  • Sightings – bed bugs are reddish-brown and typically roughly apple pip size, though size and colour vary greatly depending on their life-stage and how recently they fed. You may find bedbugs near the food sources, for example in mattress seams, buttons and bed frames. You may also be able to see them in electric sockets, cracks and crevices, on curtains or along skirting boards and carpet edges


  • Staining – bed bugs deposit their faeces after every meal. This will appear as dark brown stains on bedding especially around the edges of mattresses and bed frames where they are mainly found. This will be more pronounced with heavier infestations


  • Blood – spots of blood may be found in bedding. This is caused by the bed bugs feeding or from the crushing of the insect


  • Bites – bedbugs are nocturnal creatures and will feed when humans are asleep at night. These bites will be red, slightly swollen, itchy (an anti-itch cream such as calamine lotion may help) and may appear in clusters

Problems they cause

Bedbugs can be extremely unpleasant and a persistent nuisance due to their feeding habits. They draw blood from their hosts by piercing the skin. It is their saliva that causes the redness, swelling and itching. Bedbugs are not known to spread any pathogens via their blood feeding. However, some people could have an allergic reaction, which is a concern for those at risk of anaphylaxis.

Commercial control methods

Bedrooms need to be thoroughly checked by skilled technicians to identify presence of bedbugs and determine the extent of the infestation.

  • Terminix also provides “Canine Detection Services” throughout the UK to identify the locations of bed bugs much more quickly.
  • Heat treatment or intensive chemical treatments are used to kill the bugs
  • The treatment of bedbugs can be a long process. They are notoriously difficult insects to eradicate especially where high levels of infestation exist.

What you can do to help

  • Store any suitcases and bags off the ground and away from your bed when staying in any multi-occupied establishments abroad or in the UK
  • If you have travelled and stayed in public accommodation then inspect your luggage carefully
  • Wash clothing at a high temperature (60ᵒ) on returning from trips away, which will kill off any bed bugs or eggs
  • Thoroughly inspect items of second-hand furniture for signs of infestation before bringing them into your house

Commonly found in hotel bedrooms


Bed Bug Bites