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Bed bugs are tiny, wingless insects that live in soft furnishings.
They are cautious creatures that are largely nocturnal – so by the time you notice them, it’s likely that you might already be suffering from an extensive infestation!
But how do you get bed bugs where did they come from? And how can you prevent future visits from these blood-sucking nuisances?
It’s generally acknowledged that travel is the leading cause of bed bugs spreading between homes. Hotels, and especially budget options like youth hostels are a prime source of infestations. These sneaky pests can hide well, inside mattresses, or hidden deep into crevices in the woodwork. Because they tend to feed on their hosts (us!) at night, beds are the most commonplace that they are found – but they may also lurk in sofas, chairs and thick rugs.
Reduce your chances of bringing unwanted guests back from your holidays
Even hotels and resorts that have high standards of cleanliness can fall victim to unexpected infestations. If a previous guest has brought bed bugs with them, it’s down the thoroughness of cleaning as to whether they are noticed and properly treated. It’s a good idea when you arrive to make sure that you check the bed. Pull back the sheets and look at the mattress, to check for any signs of bed bugs. You probably won’t spot living bugs, which tend to hide away when they are disturbed, but you might spot dead bugs which look like small black seeds – or notice trails of faeces.
Shopping from charity and thrift stores is commendable – however, you should always exercise proper precautions if you are bringing home second-hand furniture.
Clothes are generally cleaned thoroughly by charity shops prior to being sold on, however, the same treatment is not necessarily afforded to soft furnishings.
If you are buying sofas, chairs, curtains or cushions – make sure that you do a thorough visual check. If you have time and the space to do so, you may consider it worthwhile quarantining any second-hand furniture in a garage for a few weeks, checking it regularly.
Bedbugs can live for weeks, or even months, without a meal – so this isn’t a flawless solution, but it may give you the chance to spot any unwelcome guests before you bring the furniture into your home.
Whilst charity shops may not be able to totally guarantee that they are bed bug-free, there will at least be some precautions in place. The same unfortunately cannot be said for furniture that is abandoned, put in skips, or dumped at the tip.
Bear in mind that people are not necessarily going to make it clear if they are throwing out something because it has bed bugs – so it is a very risky option to take it! If you do find that you’ve unwittingly allowed these annoying insects into your home, professional treatment is normally the only reliable way to get rid of them, and claim your soft furnishings back!
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