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A guide to bedbug busting

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With the recent outbreak of bedbugs in Paris, it seems like there’s a news story about bedbugs every day. Although this issue is still minor on this side of the channel, it’s important to understand how to deal with the critters if needed. So, to help, we’ve created this handy guide to bedbugs.  

From how to avoid an infestation to treating bites and how to remove them, we’ll cover everything you need to know about bedbugs in this blog.  

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How to prevent getting bedbugs?

They say prevention is better than a cure, which is true when discussing bedbug infestations. Luckily, you can take a few simple steps to prevent these critters from making your home theirs.  

Be cautious of second hand furniture

2Nd Hand Furniture

Second hand furniture has many benefits. It can give an item a new lease of life and can be better for the environment. However, if you’re purchasing or inheriting any second hand goods such as beds, sofas, or even bedroom drawers, be sure to check for any signs of bedbugs before you bring them inside your home. 

Declutter your space

De Clutter

It seems like common sense, but the more cluttered your home is, the more places bedbugs have to hide. To reduce your risk of an infestation, keep your clutter to a minimum.  

Vacuum frequently

Vacuum Regularly

Regularly vacuuming your home should remove any unwanted guests from your home. Just remember to empty your vacuum cleaner when you’re done. Vacuuming bedbugs won’t kill them, so they could make their way back into your home if you don’t thoroughly clean your vacuum. 

Be careful when using shared laundry facilities

Communal Laundry

If you regularly use shared laundry facilities such as laundrettes or dedicated laundry rooms, it’s vital to stay aware. A dryer on a high temperature setting can kill bedbugs, but be sure to transfer your clean laundry straight into a bag and save the task of folding it in a place you have more control over. 

If you live in a multi residence home or a terraced home, isolate your space

Seal Cracks In Skirting

Adding door sweeps to the bottom of your doors will discourage movement from communal areas into your personal space, preventing a potential outbreak. Sealing any cracks or gaps in the skirting boards, lights, and plug sockets will help prevent bedbugs from moving from one home to another. 

Be Careful when travelling


Whether at a hotel or a holiday apartment, keep your suitcase standing up rather than lying on the floor. When you return from your travels, wash all of your clothing, whether it’s been worn or not.

Check for bed bugs whenever you stay somewhere new

Check For Bed Bugs

Hotels, hostels, and guest rooms of family members and friends can all potentially expose you to bedbugs. Always check for signs of infestations. 

Clean and care for your mattress

Care For Mattress 2

Keeping on top of your bed hygiene is vital. Regularly cleaning your mattress won’t actually prevent bedbugs. But it may help you to notice signs of their existence more easily so you can deal with the problem before it becomes an infestation. 

Clean your bedding regularly

Clean Bedding

Changing and washing your bedsheets at least once a week can also help to reduce the risk of bedbug infestations.

Signs of a bedbug infestation

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like

Bedbugs can hide in various places, including bed frames, mattresses, clothing, and furniture. If you suspect you have bedbugs in your home, here are a few signs to look out for:  

  • Bites – often on skin that is exposed while sleeping, like the face, neck, and arms
  • Spots of blood on your bedding – from bites or the squashing of bugs during the night
  • Small brown spots on bedding or furniture – this could be bug droppings. 

What do bedbug bites look like?

What Bed Bug Bites Look Like

On Caucasian skin, bedbug bites usually look red, while bites on deeper skin tones may look purple and be harder to see.

Some people react to these bites. They can be itchy, and painful swelling may accompany the bites.

A severe allergic reaction is possible but rare.

If you are worried about a suspected bedbug bite or are experiencing an allergic reaction, seek medical advice immediately. 

How to treat bedbug bites

Treating Bed Bugs

Bedbug bites usually clear up on their own in a week or so. However, there are a few things you can do to ease the process, including:

  • Putting something cool, like a cream or a damp cloth on the affected area
  • Keeping the affected area clean
  • Not scratching the bites to avoid infection

If you feel your bites need additional help to clean up, you can ask your pharmacist about treatments that can help. These include:  

  • Mild steroid creams like hydrocortisone cream to ease bedbug bites. Children under ten and pregnant women should seek advice from a doctor before using this treatment
  • Antihistamines may help if the bites are very itchy, and you are unable to sleep.

See your GP if:  

  • Your bedbug bites are still very painful, swollen, or itchy after trying treatments from the pharmacist
  • The pain or swelling around the bites is spreading. You may have an infection and need antibiotic treatment. 

How to get rid of bedbugs

How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs

If you think you have bedbugs, you should contact your local council, housing provider, or pest control service. For Places for People Customers, you can contact our friendly Customer Advisors on 01772 667002 in England and Wales or 0131 657 0600 in Scotland.

It’s very difficult to get rid of bedbugs yourself as they are hard to find and may be resistant to some insecticides.

However, there are some things you can try yourself to minimize the spread of bedbugs. These methods are unlikely to get rid of an infestation completely but can help to control it.  


  • Wash affected bedding and clothing on a hot wash (60C) and tumble dry on a hot setting for at least 30 minutes.
  • Put affected clothing and bedding in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer for 3 or 4 days.
  • Clean and vacuum regularly – bedbugs are found in both clean and dirty places, but regular cleaning will help you spot them early.


  • Keep clutter around your bed.
  • Bring second hand furniture indoors without carefully checking it first. 
  • Take luggage or clothing indoors without checking it carefully if you have come from somewhere where you know there were bedbugs.