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Bed bug bites: How to avoid them and get rid of an infestation – be wary of this smell

Bed bug bites appear as red and itchy bumps on the skin. Some people who have a reaction to the bites may also experience painful swelling. To get rid of an infestation, first you need to make sure it’s bed bugs that are biting you. Are number of visual signs can indicate this.

Bed bugs can have an odour similar to the smell of fresh raspberries

First of all the bites often appear on areas of skin which are exposed during sleep, such as the face, neck and arms.

The health body says you may also notice spots of blood on bedding from either the bites or squashing a bed bug during sleep.

Seeing small brown spots on bedding or furniture could also be bed bug poo.

But not all signs of bed bugs are visual – a certain smell could also indicate you have an infestation.

Bed bugs can have an odour similar to the smell of fresh raspberries, according to Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.

How to get rid of bed bugs

The NHS recommends a number of ways to get rid of bed bugs, as well as things you should avoid.

Things to do:

  • Contact your local council or pest control service – it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get rid of bedbugs yourself because they can be resistant to some insecticides
  • Wash affected bedding and clothing – use a hot wash (60C) or 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 (-16C) for 4 days (alternative to hot washing)
  • Clean and vacuum regularly – bedbugs are found in both clean and dirty places, but regular cleaning will help you spot them early

Things to avoid:

  • Do not keep clutter around your bed
  • Do not bring secondhand furniture indoors without carefully checking it first
  • Do not take luggage or clothing indoors without checking it carefully if you’ve come from somewhere where you know there were bedbugs

Where to find bed bugs

According to UK local council websites, bed bugs hide themselves in mattresses, within bed frames, under bed bases, within bed headboards, behind loose wallpaper, within paintings, wall sockets and telephones.

They can also be found behind wall partitioning, suspended ceilings, skirting boards, on clothing or furnishings, and anywhere with a dark crack, crevice, seam providing harbourage.

What to do if you’re bitten

If you’re bitten by bed bugs, the first step is to wash the affected areas with soap and warm water, according to Rentokil.

They can also be relieved by applying an ice pack to reduce the swelling.

The pest control company also recommends: “If you find the itching extremely uncomfortable then you could also take an antihistamine to fight the irritation.”

Some experts say a bed bug infestation may smell like this. 

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