Bed bugs are a growing concern for landlords across the country. An increase in infestations means that more people are affected by this, and they are not easy to eradicate once an infestation takes a hold.
Bedbugs will lurk in cracks and crevices and they’ve been living on human blood for centuries. Though they aren’t known to transmit disease or pose any serious medical risk, the stubborn parasites usually leave itchy and unsightly bites.
Though bed bugs are not drawn to filth, as many people think, they are able to thrive more in an environment that is cluttered, or where clothing is left on the floor. School children are more likely to have clutter and leave clothing on the floor, and they can carry and pass on these bugs when they go to school.
In fact, if exposed to them, anyone can bring them home and quickly have a problem, as they breed at a phenomenal rate. It is thought that one of the reasons for the increased incidence is travelling and hotel stays. Corridors of infestations radiating out from airports, such as Heathrow and Gatwick, lend support to the theory that bed bugs have been brought back to this country from countries where they have never been eradicated.
The government recognise bed bugs as a serious and increasing problem and is launching a bed bug project to receive funding, among 53 other business ideas.
A new device could revolutionise how bed bugs are tackled, which is one of many new business ideas being supported by Innovate UK’s latest open funding competition.
The Bed Bug Project
The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) has identified a new bed bug aggregation chemical substance known as a “pheromone”, which acts as a powerful lure to the bugs.
One company connected to Vecotech Ltd, has received a grant of £220,034 to help with the commercialisation of a product to detect infestations at an early stage, which would lead to more effective control.
Professor James Logan, of Vecotech and Head of Department of Disease Control at LSHTM, has said:
“Bed bug control remains one of the most lucrative and growing markets in the pest management industry globally and insect numbers are also reported to be increasing rapidly.
“The common bed bug bite can cause reactions ranging from minor irritation to severe allergic hypersensitivity. They are a pest of significant public health importance and a major global economic problem, widely infesting homes, hospitals and dormitories and damaging the hospitality industry through infestation of hotels, cinemas and transport.
“There are a few bed bug detection methods and monitoring devices available, but there are no established products with proven reliability and efficacy for detecting low level infestations quickly.
“The objective of this project is to develop an effective test prototype of this powerful lure, to be used in a bed bug-specific trap, capable of detecting early stage infestations, that is effective, sensitive, long lasting, safe, affordable and discrete.”
Tackling Bed Bug Infestations – Control and Identification
If your tenants find a bug in the property, it is vital to capture it and put it in a plastic bag for identification. Proper identification is key to eradication. If the bug is a bed bug, here are a few things can be done protect your tenants while you await identification.
Advice your tenants to:
- Wash and dry all clothing and bedding on the hottest temperature.
- Thoroughly vacuum crevices, cracks, and stitching on mattresses, box spring, and upholstered furniture.
- Remove as much clutter as possible from the property. Bed bugs will hide in clutter. They are particularly fond of clutter underneath beds.
- Consider investing in mattress and box spring encasements.
- Put bed bug traps under the legs of beds to see if any bed bugs appear.
- While you and your kids sleep, you are the perfect bait to lure bed bugs out of their hiding. While the traps don’t stop an infestation, they will help you determine the magnitude of the problem.
- If you have a full infestation on your hands you need to bring in a pest control professional.
- See: https://www.landlordzone.co.uk/suppliers-directory/pest-control
A variety of low-odour sprays, dusts, and aerosol insecticides are available to control bedbugs. These should be applied to all areas where the bugs are observed as well as hiding places or spaces where they may crawl.
A pest control expert may recommend certain forms of deep-cleaning such as scrubbing infested surfaces with a stiff brush to remove eggs, dismantling bed frames and furniture, filling cracks in floors, walls, and mouldings, and encasing mattresses within special bags.
It is likely that you will hear more and more about bed bugs in the coming years. These pests are on the increase. Fortunately, they are a pest problem that has a solution providing you can educate your tenants to deal with it correctly. Don’t panic, just implement a sensible programme to deal with the problem as quickly as possible.
Bed bugs project among 53 business ideas to receive funding – see here