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Now that they’re back and breeding, just about any home can become a bedbug’s buffet. According to Maddocks, a person hardly feels the bite: “When they find a host, they inject an anaesthetic at the same time as delivering the bite. So you only feel it later on when you begin to itch. But there are several insects that deliver itchy bites, so the next step is to look for the culprits.”
Bedbugs like to lurk in dark places, hiding in the seams or beading at the edges of mattresses – but that’s just the start. Once they become well-established, they’ll take over just about any crevice, and since they like a short commute, it will initially be near the bed. The newly hatched insects are very small and hard to spot, but it’s usually possible to see the adults easily enough. However, finding them is just the start.
“There are effective ways to treat bedbugs, but as soon as you begin to hurt them, they raise the alarm using pheromone signals, and the survivors nearby will be quick to move out unless you’ve blocked every possible exit. They’re just biding their time. They’ll be back to catch you napping,” says Lee.
Nevertheless, if someone is in the early stages of a bedbug infestation, they might just be able to nail the bugs themselves. High temperatures will kill them, so applying a steam iron to your mattress could do the trick. Be sure to heat treat bedding too and wash it afterwards to make extra sure. Small items can spend the night in the freezer before washing, and of course, thorough vacuum cleaning can help to get rid of them. Dispose of any waste or discarded items by sealing them in plastic first to prevent escapees from getting out.