Bedbugs can hide in many places, including on bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind pictures and under loose wallpaper.
Signs of bedbugs include:
- bites – often on areas exposed while sleeping, like the face, neck and arms
- spots of blood on your bedding – from the bites or from squashing a bedbug
- small brown spots on bedding or furniture (bedbug poo)
Some people have a reaction to the bites. They can be very itchy and there may be painful swelling.
A severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) is also possible but rare.
Bedbug bites usually clear up on their own in a week or so.
Things you can do include:
- putting something cool, like a clean, damp cloth, on the affected area to help with the itching and any swelling
- keeping the affected area clean
- not scratching the bites to avoid getting an infection
See a GP if:
- the bites are still very painful, swollen or itchy after trying treatments from a pharmacist
- the redness around the bites is spreading
You may have an infection and need treatment with antibiotics.
How to get rid of bedbugs
- contact your local council or pest control service – it's unlikely you'll be able to get rid of bedbugs yourself because they can be resistant to some insecticides
- wash affected bedding and clothing – use a hot wash (60C) or tumble dry on a hot setting for at least 30 minutes
- put affected clothing and bedding in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer (-16C) for 4 days (alternative to hot washing)
- clean and vacuum regularly – bedbugs are found in both clean and dirty places, but regular cleaning will help you spot them early
- do not keep clutter around your bed
- do not bring secondhand furniture indoors without carefully checking it first
- do not take luggage or clothing indoors without checking it carefully if you have come from somewhere where you know there were bedbugs