Have you ever had bed bugs? Perhaps you think you've never had one of the critters near you - but you could have an infestation in your bed right now without even realising.
They're one of those pests we always hear about when people tell us we're meant to wash our bedding way more often than we actually do.
If you do happen to have them stowing away near your mattress, you'll definitely want to get rid.
Bedbugs are blood-sucking insects that live in the cracks and crevices around your bed.
At night, they crawl out and find any skin you have exposed before biting down on it to feed on your blood.
They're not dangerous, but you might get itchy red bumps on your skin where they have bitten you.
In more serious cases, bites can cause a rash or fluid-filled blisters can develop.
Signs you've got bedbugs
According to the NHS, there are six giveaway signs that you've got a bed bug infestation - and they're not pretty.
Check your bed for any of these and, if you think you've got them, read on for details on how to get rid of them.
- 1. Small bugs or tiny white eggs in the crevices and joints of your mattress and furniture – use a bright torch to check for these.
- 2. Bites on your skin.
- 3. Tiny black spots on your mattress – this could be their dried poo.
- 4. Mottled bedbug shells – bedbugs shed their skin as they grow.
- 5. Blood spots on your sheets – these can occur if you squash a bug after it has fed.
- 6. An unpleasant, musty scent in your bedroom.
If you have bites and they are incredibly itchy, mild steroid cream or antihistamine tablets can relieve them.
Scratching can lead to bacteria entering the bite which can cause infections. See your GP if you're worried you have infected bedbug bites.
How to get rid of bedbugs
Bedbugs are reportedly very difficult to get rid of.
If you suspect you have an infestation, professional help is your best bet - the NHS advises.
Contact your local council or a pest control firm who will help use treatments like insecticides to get rid of the bedbugs.
Things you can do:
- Wash infested bedding and clothes on a hot wash (60C) or put them in a dryer on a hot setting for 30mins.
- Use a vacuum cleaner to suck up any bugs you can see - then throw away the contents in a sealed bag.
- If you have a heavy infestation, consider throwing away your mattress.
- Use a plastic mattress cover to stop bedbugs getting in or out.