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Warning over bed bugs after 23% surge in calls about the bloodsuckers


Rentokil Pest Control is warning homeowners, hoteliers and holidaymakers about a resurgence of one of Britain’s most notorious blood-suckers – bed bugs. Figures from Rentokil Pest Control show that enquiries relating to bed bugs have soared by 23% this summer compared to last year, potentially as a result of increased travel, after the COVID-19 lockdown periods.

As the half-term holidays draw to a close at Halloween for many schools, Rentokil Pest Control is sharing hints and tips on how to spot a potential bed bug infestation, so travellers can avoid bringing back unwanted visitors from their holidays.

While the Covid-19 pandemic led to a reduction in the number of calls relating to bed bug infestations received by Rentokil Pest Control across the UK, a summer of renewed international travel may have contributed to bed bug enquiries reaching their highest levels since before the pandemic.

It is likely that unsuspecting holidaymakers unwittingly imported the bugs back in their luggage, giving these pests an easy ride into British homes, hotels and other hospitality venues.

Bed bugs don’t have to feed every night, in fact depending on the temperature and humidity they can, in certain circumstances, go for a year without a blood feed. This allows bed bugs to hitch a ride on holiday luggage between locations, and potentially lie dormant until your next break.

The typical bed bug however will look to feed every five to ten days, consuming only 0.0055 ml per bite.

Paul Blackhurst, Technical Academy Head at Rentokil Pest Control said: “Many of us will never have seen a bed bug, but they are relatively common overseas, and now that international travel has resumed, we’ve seen an increase in commercial enquiries relating to potential bed bug infestations. We work closely with businesses in the hospitality industry to help their employees to recognise the signs of bed bugs, and put measures in place in order to intervene swiftly and prevent them from spreading.

“Contrary to their name, they are not only found in beds and will very often be found in the cracks under skirting boards, behind wallpaper or even in electrical sockets and fittings. When travelling and returning home, holiday makers should avoid unpacking their luggage on beds and instead pop it on a suitcase stand, rack or in the bath while they check the room for any sign of these mini vampires, which are about the size of an apple seed.”

Identifying bed bugs is often not an easy task but signs that the British public can look out for are:

  1. Dark/black stains – on the mattress, headboard or surrounding area, which looks a bit like mildew spotting and is from bed bug excreta.

  2. Sweet scent – An unpleasant, sweet, sickly smell.

  3. Small dark spots – Small dark blood spots known as ‘faecal pellets’ on the sheets or mattress.

  4. Live insects – despite being small (adults are only 4-5mm long) it’s possible to spot live bed bugs and shed skins.

Paul said: “Once you’ve identified an infestation, many will be pleased to hear it doesn’t automatically mean they will need to replace their mattress – as correct and successful treatment is often enough to eliminate them completely. We would always recommend seeking professional advice as experts can use their knowledge and expertise to choose the most effective pest control solution for your infestation, such as the heat pod treatment – a chemical-free heat pod, is a quick and effective treatment, which uses the controlled application of heat.”

For more information on how to prevent and rid your home or business from an infestation, visit:


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