Bed bugs

You’ve probably heard about the shops in New York that have had to close because they’re infested with bed bugs. With bed bugs on the rise both in the US and the UK too, it’s a real worry now that we could get bed bugs in our houses.

Read on to find out what bed bugs are, how you can spot them and how to get rid of them.

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are very small (about 5mm long), nocturnal, wingless insects. They thrive in warm areas and they feed on blood so they’re often found living in beds.

Bed bugs are easy to spread as they can hide in clothes and bags. They’re hard to get rid of as they’re so small and can live for over a year without feeding. They live for up to 18 months when they are feeding.

They aren’t poisonous and don’t carry disease but they do bite humans in order to get their blood. In some cases, these bites are itchy and sore, but other people don’t even notice the bites. Occasionally they can cause an allergic reaction. The bites can become infected if you scratch them.

Why are we hearing so much about bed bugs at the moment?

As well as the stores that have closed in New York, studies show that bed bugs are increasing everywhere. Some hotels in London have even started using sniffer dogs to hunt out bed bugs in their rooms.

No-one’s certain why they’re on the rise again, but some experts think it’s because they’re becoming resistant to pesticides. Others think it’s because climate change and people travelling more have made it easy for them to thrive and spread.

Where to next?

– Take our quiz: Have I got bed bugs
– More on insect bites
– More on skin problems