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Bed bugs are proving a nightmare
2:50pm Monday 12th March 2012 in News
BEDBUGS, the scourge of the 19th century, are still disturbing the sleep of residents in Swindon.
Since April, Swindon Council has provided a treatment service to eradicate 47 infestations of the insect, which sucks the blood of sleeping humans.
Private pest controller, Prokill Thames West, has also received about a call a week to treat bedbugs in the Swindon area, mostly in homes, but also hotels.
Justin Holloway, managing director, said the problem is gradually increasing, mainly because of people travelling more and sleeping in hotel beds, but also because bedbugs in some areas have become resistant to conventional treatments.
He said: “I have certainly seen an upward trend with the treatments we do as a company over the past four years. I wouldn’t say it’s getting to epidemic levels, I’m suggesting there’s a linear growth.
“But we do see more and more instances.
“There’s no one class of people particularly affected, it’s just anyone who happens to come into contact with them.
“For example, you could send your child for a sleepover with a friend, they pick up bugs on their overnight bag, they take it home, and off they go again.”
Mr Holloway said people normally pick up bugs by staying at hotels and leaving their luggage under an infested bed, allowing bugs to hide in the suitcase and have a ride home.
He said people should place their suitcases on top of the hotel wardrobe to reduce this risk, and also to check the bed frame for dark spotting – the excreted blood of the bugs’ past victims.
Mr Holloway said the tiny bugs hide in crevices in the bed frame, as well as in bedside cabinets, clock radios, plug sockets, cracks in the wall and other crevices.
They are attracted out at night by the heat and carbon dioxide produced by a sleeping person.
He said the cost of treatment can be anything from about £100 upwards, and advised people to seek professional advice as soon as they suspect an infestation.
Mr Holloway said: “We have had houses that have been so badly infested.
“Short of setting them on fire, it’s going to take multiple attempts to get them under control.”
But luckily, Mr Holloway does not think bedbugs can spread disease like some other pests.
He said: “There’s no suggestion their mouth parts, which they bite you with, might cause infection. It is more likely to be as a result of you scratching the swelling, giving rise to it being properly open to the environment and giving you infection.”