The UK is facing a dramatic increase in the number of bed bug infestations as a result of hot weather.
Here’s how to prevent your house from being overrun by the critters.
What has brought it on?
The record Summer heatwave has caused the bedbug infestation.
The parasites are known to reproduce at a more rapid rate during hotter temperature spells.
While bedbugs normally reproduce in an 18-21 day cycle, the warm weather makes the pests reproduce more rapidly, with a new wave of bedbugs being born every 8-9 days.
And the more bedbugs there are, the more likelihood there is that we come into contact with one.
Where do bedbugs live?
Bedbugs and their tiny size means that they can find their ways into nooks and crannies of fabric as they flourish in the heat.
As their name suggests, bedbugs love loitering in beds because of the high concentration of warmth and carbon dioxide.
Humans, unfortunately, offer this to the creatures in abundance.
And as the general bed-dweller will rest with far more skin on show than they would during their day to day, the bedbugs can access areas of the neck, face and ankles for a feast.
They are known to love mattresses, bed springs, in furniture crevices, under floorboards and seats on public transport.
What can bedbugs do?
There’s no nice way to put this: bedbugs feed on blood.
They normally feast for about 5-10 minutes at a time on a human’s blood to get the nutrients that they need.
Although plenty of bedbugs leave no trace, they can produce red welts on the skin – and allergic reactions.
How to get rid of bedbugs
It’s the holy trinity of heat, carbon dioxide and blood that attract the bugs, rather than the presence of dirt.
So, how do we get rid of them?
Washing bedding at 60 degrees centigrade might not be the most environmentally-friendly option, but it will kill end the life cycle of the bugs. Getting an approved mattress protector to eliminate the bugs will help, too.
Bedbugs are attracted to dirty laundry, with experts suggesting they may be attracted by the remnant scent of humans, so make sure you wash your sheets regularly.
But maintenance is the key to defeat the creatures.
Regularly vacuuming your bed, at least once a month, can significantly decrease the presence of the bugs – but if your vacuum contains a bag, that needs to be thrown away once they’ve been vacuumed up.
More extreme measures include freezing the infested items, or chucking them out altogether.
More information on bedbugs at the NHS website