These nasty, blood-sucking creatures are more widespread than they used to be, mainly due to a rise in international travel, the trading of second-hand furniture and the fact not many people know a lot about them. They can also survive for many months without a blood meal, so they are extremely resilient.

Bed bugs are small (the size and shape of an apple seed) and like hiding in obscure places, so they are very easy to carry from one place to another – in luggage, furniture, bedding and clothing. All it takes is one night in a motel or hostel where they’re present, bringing home an infested second-hand sofa or mattress, or moving furniture in a truck where they’ve been, and next thing you know they’re in your house. Once there, they can live more than 300 days and females can lay between 200-500 eggs in a lifetime.

Although they’re not known to spread disease, bed bug bites can be very unpleasant, causing itching, burning and redness through to blisters, welts and lumps, and if you don’t keep the bites clean or if you scratch them, secondary infections can develop. The bites can also cause asthmatic reactions.

Bed bugs are more active at night, which is why they get at you while you sleep. They pierce your skin to draw blood and can spend up to 10 minutes on each bite. It’s like sleeping with little vampires! They can also cause misery for your pets.

How to reduce the risk of infestation

Bed bugs can be very difficult to control without the help of a pest specialist, so get Pure Services on the case fast if you’ve got these unwelcome visitors in your home. Catching them early is half the battle. Once eradicated, here’s how to keep them from returning: