Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

Bed Bugs

October 2012

Bed Bugs

Bed bug: cimex lectulariusHorrible isn’t it? To go to bed at night and realise you are being bitten. Bed bugs have been with us for thousands of years. In the 1940s strong action was taken to eradicate them, but recently bed bugs and related conditions seem to be on the increase.

The term bed bugs is of course a generalisation but normally it relates to any species of cimex. The usual bugs found by humans are common cimex lectularius. This little insect feeds on human blood.

The bugs are a bit a like a lentil, a light to reddish brown and in a flattened overall shape. They have front wings and tiny hairs and can grow up to 4 to 5 mm long. These little insects can live in a huge range of temperatures and conditions and once introduced into a home, can quickly spread from room to room. They do not fly or jump but crawl speedily over a range of areas.

They are attracted by human heat as well as carbon dioxide, and because they eat our blood, it doesn’t take them long to find that bedding offers the perfect location, warm and with a good uncomplaining supply of food from us when we go to bed at night - people are usually unaware they are being bitten.

Their flat shape also means they can hide in the smallest gaps such as in a mattress seam or in the joints of a bed frame which means they are very difficult to find.

Even worse, females can lay hundreds of eggs in just a month or two. Their eggs are tiny white specks that stick to surfaces and can be almost impossible to spot. It takes them six to eight weeks to grow into an adult.

Awaking in the morning finding you have been bitten is not a pleasant experience. The bites can cause minor irritations, or cause skin reactions that can develop into nasty rashes that can last a week or more. An interesting way to identify a bed bug bite is to look at the bites; most insects bite in a random fashion; bed bugs bite in a straight line down the skin.

Getting rid of bed bugs can be very difficult indeed. You only need to miss one or two and the cycle will start all over again.

If you think you have bed bugs, initially of course it is important to inspect the area carefully. Washing all the bedding at temperatures of higher than 60 degrees can work. Dismantling the bed and furniture and inspecting the whole area is necessary as well, looking into every crevice with a bright torch and using a vacuum cleaner to check any areas where you think bed bugs could be hiding.

You can buy insecticide sprays specifically to use for bed bugs, but these vary and you need to check whether they are for use on bedding or hard surfaces. Normal insect repellent doesn’t usually work for bed bugs.

If you still have concerns, then contact a pest control company. Don’t be embarrassed, bed bugs are not a result of poor hygiene and pest control companies are used to treating the problem. Rentokil for instance offer a specific 'chemical free' heat treatment for bedbugs called Entotherm.
There is lots of help at hand, but it is important to tackle the problem quickly before these little pests spread even further.

Back to Health Section



    Keep in touch with everything happening in Laterlife Today!

    Subscribe to our free monthly email newsletters for the latest articles, offers and events. You can unsubscribe at any time should you want to.



Bookmark This Share on Facebook Receive more like this

Tell us your hospital experience

Tell us your health experiences

Want to comment on this article or ask other laterlife visitors a question?

Then visit the comment section of the Later Lifestyle Network, click on the 'Discussion Tab' (you can't see this until you are logged in) and create a new topic or add your views to an existing one. 

feeling Good

Feeling Good

The above article is part of the features section of called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

It includes both one off articles and also associated regular columns of a more specialist nature such as Healthwise, Gardener's Diary, our regular IT question and answer section called YoucandoIT and there's also 'It could be you' by Maggi Stamp laterlife's counsellor on human relationships. 

Looking to the future

Looking to the future

Tell us about what you would like to see here on in the future or any changes you would like to see. Just email

Latest articles

To view the latest articles click on laterlife interest index. To search for articles about a certain topic, use the site search feature at the top right of the page.
Back to Laterlife Today

Visit our Pre-retirement Courses section here on laterlife or our dedicated Retirement Courses site


Advertise on

LaterLife Travel Insurance in Association with Avanti