Latest UK pest control and management news for professionals

02 June 2021

Look out for bed bugs on the move


The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) is urging people to be vigilant to the presence of bed bugs as restrictions on overnight stays ease.

be vigilant to the presence of bed bugs as restrictions on overnight stays ease BPCA pestaware

BPCA is urging householders and businesses to keep watch for the tiny pests as people start to move around again.

BPCA members reported a fall in call outs relating to bed bugs during the Covid-19 lockdowns, but bed bugs can live for up to a year without feeding - so a room that has been unused for several months may not be as empty as it appears.

They travel by chance and can be transported on items such as luggage and second-hand furniture. Bed bugs will also migrate in search of a human host.

Dee Ward-Thompson, Head of Technical at BPCA, said: “Bed bugs are ectoparasites with a knack for travel.

“They will hide in crevices in beds, surrounding furniture, behind skirting boards, under loose wallpaper and even in plug sockets.

“Signs of bed bugs include red, irritating bites, typically in rows on the neck, shoulders, back, legs or arms.

“You might also spot small reddish-brown clusters or dark faecal spots (about 1mm wide) that look like an ink dot on the bed frame, upholstery or the bottom side of the mattress.

“Bed bugs, their moult skins, pale-white eggs and empty eggshells are pretty small but still visible to the human eye.

“The adult bed bug is roughly the size and colour of an apple pip, depending on its life stage.

“Our advice is to check for evidence in and around bed frames or sleeping areas.

If you spot signs of a bed bug infestation, we strongly recommend you act immediately and contact a professional pest control company that’s a member of the BPCA.

Adult bed bugs are wingless insects resembling a small brown disc up to 6mm in length. The early stages of bed bugs are tiny, making them hard to detect with the naked eye.

Bed bugs are not known to spread diseases, but their bites cause red, irritating marks or lumps. Some people may develop a severe skin reaction and can experience disturbed sleep. The presence of bed bugs can cause significant distress and anguish.

BPCA warns against amateur treatments, which could prolong an infestation and lead to it spiralling out of control.

Dee added: “Self-treatment of a bed bug infestation is unlikely to be successful. A trained professional will have the technical knowledge and access to a range of professional use products and equipment which are not available to the public.

“Pest technicians get plenty of call-outs to treat properties for bed bugs - so if you’re having issues, you’re not alone.”

BPCA has produced a comprehensive guide on bed bugs, which is available to view at  

BPCA members are trained, qualified and assessed to the British Standard in Pest Management BS EN 16636.

For more information about pest problems or to find a BPCA member, visit: 

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