Bed Bug - Fact File

BedbugsSize: 4-7mm overall body length.
Markings: Light beige, but dark mahogany in colour once fed.
Location: In construction/furniture, beds, headboards etc.
Detection: Visual sightings of adults. Blood (Faecal matter) spotting, Complaints of bites around neck and waist.

Unlike other species of bugs, the bed bug is wingless. It is thought that the species came from Asia, but they are now cosmopolitan, being found in all four corners of the world. They were well known in ancient times in the Mediterranean area, but as they require a warm and dryish climate, they did not spread further north until the advent of heating in buildings. When this happened, their spread became relentless.


Contrary to popular belief, mating takes place off the host in a dark harbourage. The female will lay upto 200+ eggs in small batches of about half a dozen a day, attaching them to the surface as she moves along. This species requires a minimum temperature of at least 11°C to hatch successfully. Bed bugs show an incomplete lifecycle; that is when the egg hatches, a small nymphal form of the bed bug emerges, rather than a larval stage. The nymph will go through five or six moults, becoming larger each time, until it reaches the mature adult. The full maturation process takes from 6 to 18 months depending on the temperature and the abundance of food.

Bed bugs are blood feeders, and have a sharpened proboscis to enable them to take a blood meal from the host. They do not feed exclusively on man, but will also feed on dogs, cats and even rodents. They will take up to seven times their own body weight in blood at any one sitting, but this may have to last them for some time. A feed takes about ten minutes. Bed bugs can go for many months without food.

They can crawl appreciable distances, but their senses are not capable of guiding them to a host until they come within 20cm (8" or so) of their chosen host. The urban myth that they hang from the ceiling is not true - they can walk upside down but will fall accidentally on the person below.

Reasons for Control:

Bedbugs are not thought to be frequent carriers of disease, but some pathogens may be transmitted during the biting action. The main reason for their control is their bites - they release an anti-clotting agent which causes a severe itchiness. The very presence of the insects is unpleasant, and they also have a pungent and distasteful odour.

Added to this is the social stigma of neighbours and others knowing that you have an infestation. This is often associated with uncleanliness, but bedbugs are not fussy, and will just as happily feed off clean skin.


Treatment is usually fairly straightforward, but thoroughness is the key. Ensure the problem is indeed bedbugs and not another biting insect such as the Martin Bug (Oeciacus hirundinis) that is associated with House Martins.

Search all areas where bites are reported and also adjacent areas. The use of crawling insect monitors will assist you in locating pockets of activity. Check the whole bed, including the mattress, the drawers, the under-carriage and the headboard. Examine the bed side tables and adjacent furniture. Look at the wall paper joints and the wall / floor junctions. The use of a flushing pyrethroid aerosol may help. Ideally, and infested furniture should be disposed of.

Use a suitable residual insecticide via a crack and crevice application to all affected areas. Modern Carbamates and Synthetic Pyrethroids work well, but Organophosphorous compounds will give better results on stubborn infestations.

Seal as many of the likely harbourages as possible to minimise access for possible re-infestation.

If you need a fast, effective and reliable pest controller in the Bishops Stortford area
contact Cross Pest Control on:
Hertfordshire: 01920 822897
Mobile: 0777 5673088 or 0777 5673089