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Bedbugs: Everything you wanted to know about bedbugs and more

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2017 saw further increase of bedbug reports worldwide, including Australia. They are not only spreading faster but also developing immunity against insecticides.

New research from the University of Sydney suggests that bed bugs have developed a thicker cuticle that’s enabling them to survive extremely high doses of common insecticides. Today, approximately 90% of bed bugs own a genetic mutation which makes them resilient to chemicals.

The best we can all do is to take prevention measures against bedbugs; hence the reason Alphaclean has compiled this buyer’s guide to clear all misconceptions.

Symptoms of a bedbug bite

Bed bug symptomsBed bugs are small insects that feed on your blood, often causing itchy bites.

A bite is typically a red, swollen area with a dark red center. Bites are in a line or grouped together in a small area, anywhere on the body. They are most commonly found on areas of skin that are exposed while sleeping, such as the face, arms, legs, and hands. A scratched bite may cause an infection that leads to swelling. In some people, bedbug bites cause severe allergic reactions.

Bedbugs are nocturnal, and do not feed every single night. They are unlikely to wake a victim as they inject an anesthetic when drawing blood from the host.

What do bed bugs look like?

what do bed bugs look likeBed bugs range from only 1mm long with an adult growing to only 7mm, and like to reside in constricted spaces. Since they can’t fly or jump, bedbugs crawl onto a victim each time they feed.

An adult bed bug is oval in shape, and brown or dark red in color. The younger are much lighter in colour. The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, can drink up to 7 times its own weight in blood at one feeding. Blood stains are often left on beds and mattress if they are crushed during sleep.

Common hiding spots for bedbugs

These are the most common hiding spots of bedbugs.

  1. Beds and mattresses.
  2. Baseboards and carpet edges.
  3. Night stands and dressers.
  4. Couches and chairs
  5. Walls and ceilings.
  6. Clothes
  7. Electric appliances


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How to inspect premises for bedbugs

How to inspect premises for bedbugsNow that you know common hiding places, what equipment do you need to find bedbugs? A little flashlight can be ideal in the scan for bedbugs. This is not totally important, but rather it can help in the assessment procedure. Bedbugs will always be hiding in tight spaces that are usually dark and hard to reach, making a flashlight very useful in the investigation.

Start by flipping over the mattress and inspecting the interior of the ruffles in the mattresses. Remember that dark red or brown stains are the sign of bed bugs too.

After you have inspected the bed and mattress, move on to any type of furniture that is in the room. Bedbugs like hiding in furniture that has upholstery too.

Finally, check carpet edges.

Look at the list above of common hiding spots and do not forget to inspect adjacent rooms to identify if the bedbugs have spread. They easily spread not just around the room, but across any building.

Causes of bedbug infestation

How to spot bed bugsRegardless of sanitation, they have been reported in various locations from homes to any accommodation facilities. Bedbugs are not drawn to decay. Moreover, these insects are not too sensitive to starvation. Adult bed bugs live for about five months without food (blood).

They spread easily because they hide in such movable pieces like furniture, boxes, luggage, pillows, blankets, clothes and stuffed animals. Very often people bring bed bugs to workplaces, and motels, with luggage.

The recent resurgence in infestations of bedbugs worldwide is thought to be related to several different factors, including the rise in international tourism, compact living conditions, and insecticide resistance.

Early detection is the best solution, as larger infestations are much harder, or sometimes nearly impossible, to get rid of.

Which industries suffer most from bed bugs infestations?

Hospitality, and any business that is located in an office building are at high risk of experiencing bedbug infestations.

Bedbugs are one headache of the hospitality industry worldwide. Nowadays when travelers share their experiences online, it is very easy to lose accommodation business and profit just because of bedbugs. Numbers speak for themselves. Based on the survey, 86% of Australians said they won’t stay at premises if an online review on a travel website mentions bedbugs.

Office buildings, and more importantly, the accommodation industry, are victims of bedbugs too. Why office buildings? Even though they are called bedbugs, these insects do not necessarily need a bed to survive. High traffic areas have many opportunities for bedbugs to arrive with people’s belongings and luggage.

There are abundant cracks and hidden locations in any office. Friendly temperatures and humidity levels add to an already satisfactory dwelling.

Colleges and university buildings very often suffer from bedbug infestations.


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What are the best prevention methods for bedbugs?

Bedbugs are hard to kill, therefore, the best prevention methods must be applied in order to avoid the worst scenario.

There are many precautionary methods that can be used to protect premises from bedbugs.

  1. First of all, bedbugs react to heat. Therefore, cleaning with a steam cleaner is the most secure choice. Experts suggest using a steam cleaner on cracks and mattresses weekly, especially if you suspect bedbugs. Put other items in sealed plastic bags. Wash any fabric you can in very hot water.
  2. Avoid purchasing used furniture. A lot of people sell furniture unaware that they have insects living deep inside. Warning: Furniture might look clean from the outside, while bedbugs can hide in upholstery or wood cracks.
  3. Encase your mattresses and box springs. This will eliminate most hiding places on your bed and make sure that your mattress doesn’t become infested.
  4. To reduce bedbug hiding spots, seal all the joints with silicone or another sealant.


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This is not an exhaustive list of prevention against bedbugs. Staff education about insects’ threats and understanding the need of urgent report if bedbugs marks are noticed could save your business.

Managers should be responsible for educating staff and motivating everybody to be aware of bedbugs ability to spread fast if action is not taken instantly.

What to do if I find bed bugs in my office or hotel?

One of the non-chemical methods for killing bed bugs is to apply high temperatures to them.  Otherwise, clean infested areas with steamers. If done properly this can be a “total extermination” process because it can kill not only the adult bedbugs but also the eggs.

As not all areas can be effectively steamed, experts recommend that steam cleaning be used in conjunction with other methods.


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What determines success when eradicating bedbugs with steam?

Once you have the most effective cleaning equipment against bedbugs, follow instructions carefully. Here is the best advice how to ensure the best use of a steamer.

  1. One key characteristic is steam temperature. Only hotter than 94 degrees Celsius temperature kills both bugs and their eggs.
  2. Choose wide nozzles to save time and for more effective eradication.
  3. Speed should be an inch per second.
  4. The proper order of cleaning procedure helps too. Vacuuming and steaming followed by chemicals are required steps to achieve complete eradication.



Bedbugs mainly affect hospitality and office buildings, however, with current worldwide spread no motel, business, or home, is protected against instant infestation. Therefore, commercial steamers with the right tools have become an even more popular choice as cleaning equipment.

Experts can help you choose the best cleaning equipment and teach you how to prevent bedbugs from spreading in your building.

Also see article on steam cleaning – The Power Of Steam

Alphaclean has prepared business guides about allergies and preventing germs from spreading, where you can read further benefits and usage of steam cleaners. Always make an informed choice depending on your industry standards, regulations and current business needs.

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