Bed bugs are small blood-sucking parasites that are most commonly associated with infesting beds and bedrooms. However, despite their name, they are not limited to these areas and can thrive in just about any crack and crevice, including unusual locations such as airplanes and even the Houses of Parliament. They are attracted to the warmth and carbon dioxide that sleeping humans generate and are nocturnal, emerging at night to feed.
A bed bug infestation is not necessarily a sign of poor hygiene. These pests were virtually absent in Kenya years ago, but their numbers have been on the rise in recent times, possibly due to the increase in international travel. Bed bugs can be unknowingly brought into Kenya and easily spread by those who travel frequently.
There are four tell-tale signs of a bed bug infestation. First, they leave dark, black stains on a mattress or other surfaces, caused by their excreta. Second, there may be small, dark spots on furnishings known as ‘faecal pellets’. Third, live insects may be visible, particularly after feeding when they swell to almost double their normal size. However, they can be difficult to spot as they move quickly. Finally, an unpleasant, sweet, sickly scent may be noticeable in the infested area.
Bed bug bites are similar in appearance to other insect bites, appearing as small red lumps or swellings on the skin. When bed bugs bite, they inject an anti-coagulant to prevent blood from clotting, making it easier for them to feed, and an anaesthetic to numb the bite area. Sensitivity to the anti-coagulant determines the size of the bites and their itchiness. It can be challenging to identify bed bug bites from other insect bites.
There are many natural remedies and ‘old wives’ tales’ to reduce inflammation and itching associated with bed bug bites. After washing the bites with soap and water and drying, try applying calamine lotion, baking soda and water paste, toothpaste, witch hazel, aloe vera, or lemon juice. If bites continue to bother, taking antihistamine tablets or consulting a GP may be advisable, as skin infections can develop.
To prevent a bed bug infestation, follow these five tips when traveling:
- Check sites like TripAdvisor for customer reviews before you travel. If your hotel has had a bed bug problem in the past, there’s a fair chance guests will have shared their experience to warn others.
- Check your case and hotel room when you arrive. Look for live insects or blood spotting around the bed frame, mattress, or headboard. Bed bugs are usually found on the bed but can hide behind skirting boards, under loose wallpaper, pictures, mirrors, and furniture.
- Don’t put your case on the bed when you arrive. Instead, place it in an empty bath or shower to reduce the risk of ‘bed bug hitchhikers’ crawling onto your clothing.
- Ask to change rooms if you suspect bed bugs are present. Request a room on a different floor, which is not directly above or below the suspected room, as bed bugs can travel between rooms.
- Search and wash your belongings as soon as you return home. Check your case for any signs of bugs and wash any clothing you took with you on a 60-degree wash to kill any live bugs or eggs.
By following these tips and being aware of the signs of a bed bug infestation, you can help protect yourself from these unwelcome pests.
To place an order, call us on +254737898884, +254759292158, +254775145267, +254103055943, +254794265503, +254756432285, +254757668223, +254789231328, +254742448334, or drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org today.