They've been biting recently, whether you let them or not.
From a botulism outbreak to the heavily documented Zombie controversy, there's been a lot more than rugby making headlines at this year's World Cup. In recent weeks, one of the main topics of conversation has been a bedbug infestation sweeping France, resulting in "unwarranted hysteria" and frenzied warnings that "no one is safe".
This week in the UK, there were sightings in London, Manchester and Luton, sparking fears that the pests could travel to Ireland too via the clothing and suitcases of Irish rugby fans. Pest control specialists have warned that bedbugs are “incredible hitchhikers”, with the insects being described by some as "covid with legs".
Experts have said that the milder temperatures and return in travelling may be contributing to the rapid spread of the critters. If you're in Paris this weekend, or in Ireland and nervous about the concept of the blood-sucking bugs invading your home, here's how to identify and repel them, and get rid of them if it comes to that.
What do they look like?
Bedbugs are reddish-brown wingless insects, about the size of an apple seed with flat, oval-shaped bodies. They're visible to the naked eye, while young bedbugs or "nymphs" are a yellowish, translucent colour and harder to spot. Bedbugs can travel and spread from home to home on clothing or on upholstered furniture.
Signs of bedbugs include little red bites, usually appearing in a zigzag pattern on your body, specks of blood on your bedding, tiny blackish specks, which are a sign of bedbug excrement and exoskeletons; the small outer shell that bedbugs shed and leave behind. The American Academy of Dermatology Association also advise that a sweet or musty smell in your sleeping area could be a sign of an infestation.
Is it possible to repel bedbugs?
According to the pestinformer.com, there are certain scents that can help keep those pesky bugs away. They are as follows:
Using herbs like fresh mint will "instantly disturb them and make them uncomfortable", and also affect their nervous system.
How to get rid of bedbugs
It can be hard to completely get rid of bedbugs by yourself, so you may need to call in a pest control service like Rentokil. However, there are some steps you can take yourself:
- Wash your bedding, curtains, and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting.
- Hoover everywhere, especially under furniture and in corners where the pests could be hiding. Seal the hoover contents in a plastic bag and throw it away, and clean the inside of the hoover thoroughly.
- Foggers, insecticide and killing dust: There are a number of products you can purchase to try and tackle a bedbug infestation - head to the likes of owlpestcontrol.ie for more information.
Header image via Getty