Thanks to the warm and humid summers we’ve been experiencing in the UK, pest experts are warning that homes and offices are at much bigger risk of suffering a problem with fleas and bed bug infestations.
While you may think that your clean home is safe from these pesky intruders, unfortunately this isn’t necessarily the case. Fleas and bed bugs can enter buildings in a number of ways – even if you don’t have pets.
How do you know if you have an infestation however?
Bed bugs can be hard to spot physically. They’re small and oval-shaped with brownish coloured, flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, their bodies swell and become a reddish colour.
Chances are you won’t notice them if you’re not looking but if you conduct a thorough search, you should be able to spot them. If you can’t see any but still have a feeling you have an infestation, there are a number of other signs to look out for.
- Bed bugs don’t just live in beds and mattresses. They can also be found on luggage, clothing, couches and headboards. If you’ve purchased any second-hand items, check for signs of bed bugs before bringing them into your house.
- You’re being bitten. Most bed bug bites are painless at first but later turn into itchy welts. They’re most commonly found around the ankles or any other area of skin which is exposed while you sleep. They usually appear in a linear, row-like arrangement.
- There are blood or dark stains on your sheets, pillowcases or pyjamas. This is usually either bed bug faeces or blood spots. The blood spots tend to occur as a result of blood-filled bugs being crushed when you roll over while they’re feeding.
- Bed bugs tend to gather and hide in large groups so you may notice patches of faecal matter, egg shells or shed skins around the house.
- Bed bugs produce an offensive and musty odour so if there’s a strange, unexplained smell in the house, it could be an infestation.
The places you’re most likely to find bed bugs include:
- Bed frames and headboards
- Drawers and cupboards
- Bedside cabinets
- Mattress seams
- Skirting boards
- In cracked or broken plaster or behind peeling wallpaper
- Inside electrical sockets and fittings
Contrary to popular belief, cats and dogs aren’t entirely to blame for flea infestations. These pests can parasite many animals including chickens, rabbits, squirrels, rats, ferrets, mice and even humans.
What’s more, 95% of the flea population in the home is actually found within carpets and soft furnishings.
Fleas aren’t just a nuisance to their hosts, they can also cause acute irritation, infection and transfer of other parasites, such as tapeworms.
Common signs to look out for in your pets include:
- Droppings or flea dirt in fur
- Allergic dermatitis
- Excessive scratching, licking or biting at skin
- Hair loss
- Scabs and hot spots
- Pale gums
If you suspect you have an insect infestation in your home, there are a couple of effective tests you can carry out.
- Put on a pair of long white cotton socks and walk around your house. Shuffle your feet to create warmth on the floor and linger in spots you suspect they’re inhabiting. If you do have a flea infestation, you will notice brown or black specs on your socks.
- If you’re unsure whether you’re noticing flea dirt or normal dirt, rub the area with a moistened white towel. If it’s flea dirt, it will appear as tiny red streaks.
If you need help containing a flea or bed bug infestation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Prokill today.