Experts at pest control provider Rentokil have issued a warning to Irish holidaymakers who may have been away over the Easter holidays.
The company has recorded a 40% increase in callouts this year so far compared to the same period in 2021, with one county recording the most.
Rentokil have urged people to keep an eye out for the presence of bed bugs if they have been away during the Easter holidays or since then.
Bed bugs can often be spread through clothing and other baggage, meaning “a hotel or rental accommodation’s bed bug problem can easily become an issue in your own home”.
Bites from bed bugs, which feed on human blood, can become sore and itchy and usually occur when a person is sleeping.
The top warning signs of bed bugs, according to Rentokil, 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 'faecal 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,” a release from the company said.
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.
“With the Easter holiday coming to an end and people returning from all around the world, 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.”
Those who may suspect they have picked up bed bugs should check their luggage before unpacking and packing, 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,” a statement from Rentokil said.
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