WARNING: risk of bed bugs for returning holidaymakers

WARNING: returning holidaymakers urged to watch out for bed bugs

Holidaymakers might come back with more than they bargained for as the risk of bringing bed bugs, insects which feed on human blood, into your home is high at the moment. 

Rentokil, Ireland’s leading pest control provider, is warning Irish holidaymakers to be on the lookout for the presence of bed bugs as they return from staycations across the country.

A common cause of the spread of bed bugs is the transportation of the pests through clothing and other baggage, so a hotel or rental accommodation’s bed bug problem can easily become an issue in your own home.

These pests feed on human blood, usually when homeowners are asleep, and bed bug bites can become sore and itchy in some cases.

Dublin is the county which has accounted for the most callouts for bed bugs so far this year, with 38% of all callouts to the capital.

Cork (21%), Galway (10%), Kerry (8%) and Monaghan (5%) are the next four counties which accounted for the most callouts for bed bugs from Rentokil.

Richard Faulkner, Advanced Technical Field Consultant for Rentokil said: “Bed bugs lay eggs and multiply at alarming rates, and the size of these pests can make them difficult to spot. As the summer comes to an end and people return from staycations across the country, this unfortunately increases the risk of returning home with unwanted guests.

"We consider hotels, B&Bs and holiday rentals to be areas of high risk due to the volume of guests that pass through them. We recommend that holidaymakers be vigilant in both inspecting their room and luggage for signs of bed bugs. We also recommend that if accommodation owners become aware of a bed bug infestation, they have it taken care of immediately,” he said. 

Top bed bug warning signs include:

The presence of dark stains on the mattress and surrounding area from bed bug excreta.
An unpleasant, sweet, sickly scent in the room.
Small dark blood spots on bedding known as 'fecal spotting'.
Live insects - despite being small (4-5mm long) it’s possible to spot live bed bugs and shed skins. Key areas to check include bed frames and mattresses, bedside cabinets, wardrobes, and skirting boards.

For holidaymakers who do unintentionally bring bed bugs into their home, Rentokil recommends that they check luggage before packing and unpacking, inspect the bed, wash and dry clothes at the highest possible temperatures, eliminate clutter, and vacuum thoroughly.

These steps can greatly reduce the size of the bed bug population but may not eliminate the problem entirely. If the problem persists, it’s advisable to call a professional pest control service.

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