Bed bugs: Have you smelt this odour before? It could be a warning of an infestation

Bed bugs are parasites easily picked up on trains, planes and in hotels, spreading into one’s home. Generally it takes at least seven weeks for a bed bug to grow from an egg to an adult. If many adult bugs are present one can reasonably assume that the infestation has been there for more than seven weeks. Smelling a certain odour emanating from the bedroom could mean you’re at risk. David Cain of extermination company Bed Bugs Limited said: “The problem of bed bugs has been spreading globally since the late 1990s, and there is literally no country on the face of the planet that hasn’t had a bed bug problem. 


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In the UK there has been a year-on-year increase since 2006, with no signs of plateauing.” A bed bug bite is itchy and frustrating and looks unsightly.

There is a also a major social stigma around bed bugs and this could lead to many not seeking help.

Bed bugs are small insects that feed exclusively on human blood. They can easily spread and lead secretive lives making them difficult to spot. Relatively few bed bugs start an infestation. In fact, if a male bed bug is the only hitchhiker, no infestation will develop. Only female bed bugs are able to lay eggs. A mated female can lay around three eggs a day if feeding is available, laying more than 300 eggs in her lifetime.

Colonial Pest Control said: “Small white eggs are cemented to discrete surfaces, near a host, and hatch in about 10 days.

“Nymphs resemble adults but are much smaller. In order to grow, most nymphs must acquire a blood meal.

“Depending on the temperature, it takes nymphs about 100 days for the five molts to occur before mating can take place.

“Roughly 1.5 to two months are required for a complete cycle from egg to mated adult bed bug.

“Adult bed bugs live about 10 months, although without a host, bed bugs may live over a year.”

What smell do bed bugs emanate?

Noticing a new and unusual smell coming from your room is one of the signs of bed bugs.

Terminix said on their website: “Like many species of bugs, bed bugs release odours called alarm pheromones.

“When a group of bed bugs gets disturbed, you may be able to smell that odour. Odours may result from bed bug faecal material.

“Other smells could be a coriander smell, or a sweet, musty odour.

“Bed bugs are gregarious, and can be found living side by side.

“Great numbers of nymphs and adults can be found together. As these sites become more active, females will migrate to areas of less activity to lay eggs.

“Male bed bugs want to mate constantly with females, driving them away.

“This behaviour is believed to be what makes bed bugs ‘spread out’ into new areas,” added Colonial Pest Control.

In order to get rid of bed bugs it’s advised to clean all bedding, linens, curtains and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting.

Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams to remove bed bugs and their eggs before vacuuming.

Vacuum the bed and surrounding area frequently, repair any cracks in the plaster around the bed where they can easily hide and get rid of all the clutter around the bed.

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