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Bed Bugs What They are and how to Dispose of Them

Imagine this…

You’ve just woken up; something smells musty and sweet. When you open your eyes your bed has a trail of malted insect shells, rust coloured stains and tiny smears of excrement.  

Bed bugs are one of nature’s most perfectly evolved human blood-sucking machines and if a couple of these get into your home, you’re going to know all about it.

Bed bugs are horrible creatures. Over 95% of single-family homes are reported to have bed bugs inside. Whilst they are very common, they aren’t exactly life-threatening. All you may receive from a bed bug is a small, red bump from a bite. Despite this not being a massive inconvenience, they are still an annoyance.

AMES has taken the time to identify what is a bed bug, what they are capable of and finally, how to get rid of them.

Bed Bug Advice from Dr James Logan

Dr James Logan is continuously trying to work out how to combat the growing bed bug problem. His lab is a host to thousands of them, and James knows all too well when the bed bugs bite.

When asked “what does the bite feel like” James responded:

“I felt a very, very slight nip!”

Bed bugs have piercing mouthparts, almost like a needle. They inject that into your skin to find the blood capillary and then they start feeding from the blood. When you’ve got bed bugs, you know you’ve got them. Your arm will come up in a big red, itchy lump and what your immune system is doing is reacting to the chemicals that are injected into your body in their saliva and it contains a cocktail of chemicals that basically act as an anticoagulant and also an anaesthetic. So, you can’t feel the bed bug feeding on you.

Just saying this makes me itchy.

We thought these little vampires were taken care of after we bombed them with DDT in the 1950s. But they’re back! DDT was outlawed in 1972 so we can’t just nuke them from orbit to be sure. The official name for these cretins is cimex lectularius and they’re parasites that feed off their sleeping host’s blood. The largest they get is only a quarter of an inch, and they’re flat so they’re easy to miss. They’re brownish and wingless with 6 shiny legs. They use their syringe-like mouthbeaks to pierce your skin and suck your blood.

Now unlike Dracula, these guys rarely wake their victims whilst feeding and can even take 3-10 minutes to gorge on your blood. While drinking, they release their own saliva into your broken skin, which can eventually cause an allergic reaction. Luckily, they don’t spread disease, but the bites can swell and itch.

Still, they probably won’t drain you dry. It takes 100,000 bed bugs feeding on your at least once a week to make you anaemic. Let’s also put one misconception to bed (no pun intended). Bed bugs aren’t a sign of poor hygiene, even immaculate mansions can get them. It only takes one to ride in and infect your whole home.

Here’s a short list of spots where they can conceal themselves:

  • Sofas
  • Backpacks
  • Bed frame cracks
  • Light switches
  • Wallpaper cracks
  • Televisions
  • Clocks
  • Phones
  • Curtains
  • Clothing
  • Towels
  • Pillows

Basically, anywhere dark and protected is up for grabs. One way to tell you’ve got them is from the coriander-like odour they release when they’re alarmed. The worst part is they can live up to a year without eating. So, even if you move into a vacant residence, they could still be there…

Waiting..

So, then how do we kill them? Like with any vampire, you should hire a professional. To successfully eradicate them sometimes takes up to four different treatments. Such as:

Dry ice sprays
Steam
Vacuuming
Fumigation
Insecticides

Sustained exposure to temperatures of 130 degrees will also kill them. Which is why you’ll need to wash all your linens and blast them inside a hot dryer.

Destroy them with heat, and a lot of it.

And remember what I said about messy clutter? Yeah, clear that up so they don’t have anywhere to hide in.

Now that we’ve gone through the specifics, we want to hear about your worst bed bug stories! Comment below and let us know!

The Three Common UK Beetles

The scientific name for beetles is Coleoptera and despite being quite rare in the UK (in contrast to ants, wasps, etc), they make up the world’s largest order of animals at 25%. 

Beetles are characterised by their sheathed wings, or ‘armoured’ layer, that surrounds the delicate wings beneath. Many beetles in the UK are harmless and serve a beneficial purpose for the environment, though there are some that have no natural enemies to control their population and this is when beetles become an issue. 

Beetles in the UK 

The UK plays host to the following beetles: 

  • Biscuit Beetles 
  • Carpet Beetles 
  • Death Watch Beetles 
  • Furniture Beetles (Woodworms) 
  • Ground Beetles 
  • Larder Beetles 
  • Longhorn Beetles 

However, many of these you will rarely come across during your day-to-day life, as the majority like to keep to themselves, residing in woodland areas and other mossy habitats. 

Biscuit Beetles, Carpet Beetles and Ground Beetles are the types of beetle we often find ourselves removing from properties, so it would be wise to first talk about these first. 

Biscuit Beetles 

Size: 3mm long 
Colour: Red/brown 
Found: Food cupboards 

One of the most common beetles not just in the UK but across the globe. 

Biscuit beetles are usually found in food cupboards, retail premises and domestic properties. These beetles are often confused with the Common Furniture Beetles (also known as Woodworms). If you have open packets of flour, biscuits, cakes, cereals or foods that are high in fibre or carbohydrates then it’s more likely that these beetles will infiltrate your food supplies. 

Stranger, however, these beetles will also feed on drugs such as strychnine, belladonna and aconite. In the U.S it’s known as the Drug Store Beetle because of its dependence on such substances! 

How to get rid of them 

The solution is simple, throw out any infested food! Wipe-down the surfaces and ensure that you have cleaned the area thoroughly. It might also be worth checking your property for any bird’s nests (garages, underneath roofs, outdoor ceilings etc) as these beetles thrive in nests. 

Carpet Beetles 

Size: 4mm long 
Colour: Brown/beige with black and white dots 
Found: Carpets, floorboards, curtains, anywhere with soft material 

Known as ‘woolly bears’ these little beetles have overtaken moths as the pest that devours the most items of clothing! 

Their appearance makes them look like a furry ladybird, though the red and black has been replaced by brown, white and black. The main sign of Carpet Beetle infestation is finding their cast-off skins strewn across your carpet/floor. 

How to get rid of them 

Lofts, attics and bird’s nests are where they’re typically found. Be sure to vacuum these areas thoroughly and open as many windows as possible to air-out the property. You’ll need an insecticide to efficiently rid any remains of these beetles. So, spray any areas where they thrive and ensure the carpets are cleaned thoroughly. 

Ground Beetles 

Size: 25mm 
Colour: Black, violet, brown 
Found: Homes, warm areas 

These beetles vary in colour, though they’re usually seen to be black. 

Growing up to 25mm makes them fall within the larger UK beetle category but they’re nothing to be afraid of. They’re likely to enter your property seeking warmth and comfort. They do not like cold atmospheres, so you won’t find them residing in mossy areas – unlike other beetles. They pose no threat to humans and it is very rare that you’ll find more than a couple in your property at any given time. 

How to get rid of them 

There is no real need to remove these beetles, as they pose no threat to humans and they don’t eat your food supplies. The only necessary action you should take is simply removing them in a safe manner from your property. 

Controlling Beetles 

In the UK, we’re lucky that beetles don’t pose a massive threat to our daily lives. Beetles in the UK are practically harmless, and they don’t tend to swarm in the way that ants, wasps, or other insects do. They’re independent insects that usually wind up in your home because they’re seeking shelter and/or food. 

Combating beetles is simple and doesn’t require too much effort. Although, if you do find yourself struggling to live with beetles, please do not hesitate to contact AMES Group here. Our friendly staff are always on hand to answer any queries or concerns you may have.