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Irish holidaymakers urged to know tell-tale signs of bed bugs this summer

By Roisin Butler

Experts are warning holidaymakers to look out for a key tell-tale sign of bed bugs when they go abroad this summer.

Bed bugs are a parasite that briefly feed off of people’s blood supply and can leave itchy spots on the skin. They are usually found on beds, sofas and other household furniture, as well as carpets and upholstery.

The website MattressNextDay has released advice on how to detect the presence of bed bugs in holiday accommodation.

READ MORE: Irish holidaymakers warned about 'bringing bedbugs home' as one county sees most callouts

While there are several clues that suggest the creepy crawlies may be too close for comfort, one in particular can distinguish a bed bug from other insects: bitemarks.

It said that Irish holidaymakers should be aware that bed bug bites leave a straight line across the body, which differs from a bite formed by a mosquito or fly. Small, scratchy red spots are also typical of the parasite.

Dr Colm Moore, the area manager of Rentokil Pest Control, says the population of bed bugs has increased considerably in Ireland since 2000 and believes that increasing international travel is the culprit.

“Bed bugs spread through people. There was a lot of movement in and out of the country from 2000 onwards. They get stuck in luggage and dirty clothing and are then released into people’s homes,” Moore told Kieran Cuddihy from the Hard Shoulder on Newstalk.

He also says that another way to identify a bed bug is by their size.

“You’re looking for a live or dead insect that’s about as big as an apple pip. They are often flattened,” he added.

MattressNextDay suggests that second hand furnishings used in older hotel should be checked out upon arrival. They say there is a small risk that older fabrics may not have been thoroughly cleaned out.

Other tell tale signs include eggs, blood on the seams of a mattress from a squashed bug, dark spots on the wall and an unpleasant odour. Bed bugs tend to secrete a strong, musty smell. The scent can be more powerful when the bugs are en masse.

A spokesperson for the company advised people to communicate any concerns they have regarding bed bugs with hotel staff.

“It’s important to spot the signs early so that it doesn’t ruin your holiday and ultimately it doesn’t affect your health. If you do spot signs of bed bugs when you arrive at your hotel or apartment then it is best to notify the appropriate staff immediately,” the spokesperson said.

“More often than not you will find that they will be very accommodating as customer care should be their number one priority. We’d advise anyone who is genuinely worried about bed bugs to take a small bug spray with them in their suitcase, just as a precautionary method.”

Read more: Pest controllers note 79% rise in callouts for one insect hidden in the cracks of your home

Read more: Four questions Irish tourists need to ask before holidaying in Spain, Portugal and more after problems

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