The bedbug is said to originate from Asia and the bloodsucking tick has followed humans as long as we have existed.
It came to Denmark in the 17th century, when the Danes acquired well-heated houses that could offer a climate that was sufficiently warm and dry for the bed bug to thrive.
They had more or less become extinct in this country, until the increase in social interaction and travel activities, made the tick a common pest once more in this country.
Bedbugs can, for example, be brought home from overnight stays at hotels, hostels or from travelling abroad. Similarly, you also run the risk of risk bringing the bedbug into your home if you buy second-hand furniture or other items that have been stored in a property that has bedbugs.
Five quick questions about bedbugs
The body is usually swollen, red and about 5 mm in diameter.
Eggs from bedbugs are about 1 mm in size. The shape is elliptical, and the colour is whitish.
Look for pinhead-sized, black droppings. They are most visible under your bed, on the bed frame, and on your mattress. They sit closely together, individually, and are circular.
The symptoms can often be mistaken for lice or fleas. However, bites you get during the night will often be concentrated around neck, wrists, groin and ankles. Spraying them with flea repellent will not be sufficient.
Usually, you will be infected by bedbugs from having brought them home with you after travelling. They could also be introduced by overnight guests. Alternatively, they can also crawl into your home via piping and cables between connected flats, often in older properties.
Biology and damages
The bedbug (Cimex lectularius) is a wingless tick that has a proboscis which it uses to extract blood. It can grow to be up to 6 mm long and its body is as thin as paper, unless it is filled with blood.
The regular bedbug is reddish brown and prefers human blood. However, it can also draw blood from other things such as birds, rats, mice and rabbits, if no humans are present. Bedbugs only seek out a source of blood when they are hungry. Thus, it is a bloodsucker that leaves an itchy bite.
Some species of bedbug live off of sap, while others draw blood from birds and other animals. Bedbugs live in the places we sleep and only appear at night. The bedbug shies away from light, and hides in cracks and crevices such as under the bed and along skirting boards during the daytime. Here, they digest their food, breed and lay eggs. When it gets dark, they hunt down their prey, which they find by searching for heat.
The female bedbug lays around 200 eggs in its lifetime, distributed over 4-5 eggs per day. The eggs are laid in suitable hiding places where the base is sufficiently sticky to allow the eggs to adhere to the surface. If the temperature drops to below 10°C, no eggs will be laid. Thus, the number of eggs laid depends a lot on the temperature and other outer conditions. An egg measures about 1 mm and it evolves via five nymph stages. The nymphs basically resemble small adult bedbugs. In order to evolve, the tick needs blood at every single stage, and it can take between two months to a whole year to evolve from egg to fully grown bedbug.
How to know if you have bedbugs
It can be difficult to detect a new infestation of bedbugs, as the lice hide inside crevices and cracks, for example underneath the bed. However, if you have had bedbugs for a longer period, you might be able to spot small black dots on the woodwork under your bed.
Bedbugs live near beds and places where we spend a lot of time – so if you suspect a bedbug infestation, it is important to examine mattresses and beds thoroughly.
You also need to control the back of cupboards, photos and other hiding places such as loose wallpaper, or in cracks as well as along skirting boards and lists.
You´ll know if you have bedbugs, as they leave behind distinct, black, blood-filled droppings. If you find small black dots, try wetting the tip of your finger with a bit of saliva, and drag it across the dots. If it turns into a black line, you definitely have bedbugs.
They don´t care what your social status is
The bedbug was previously regarded as a pest that only infested the poor and those of a lower social status in society, or those who had poor personal hygiene. However, this is not correct. Bedbugs don´t care about the level of cleanliness and you cannot get rid of the problem just by cleaning.
In Denmark, there are two known species that draw human blood: The regular bedbug (Cimex lectularius) and the tropical bedbug (Cimex hemioterus).
They hide in crevices, furniture and cupboards.
As seen in the photo, bedbugs leave distinct droppings near bed frame joints.
Bedbugs often hide in cracks in floors, walls and ceilings, but they can also hide in furniture and cupboards. If you realise there is an infestation, you must get it under control quickly.
Bedbugs migrate through blocks of flats that are poorly insulated, right across storeys, and are typically transmitted through things such as clothes, furniture, bags or other personal belongings that have been exposed.
That´s why it´s so easy to bring them home with you if you have visited someone whose home is infested.
You need to let your guests know if you have bedbugs in your home, as they can be very difficult to get rid of.
If you start treating a bedbug infestation without knowing what you are doing, you risk spreading them further instead of getting rid of them, thus making things even worse.
Unfortunately, it´s a problem on the rise
This small, blood-sucking tick has become a large problem in this country in places such as hotels, halls of residence, hostels and housing estates.
They are spread via clothes, luggage and furniture usually brought into the home after an overnight stay in a bedbug-infested environment. Or perhaps you have bought second-hand furniture from a home that was infested with bedbugs.
Bedbug infestation in rental property
It is not easy to fight bedbugs, but it is possible.
If you live in a rented property, you are obligated to disclose any bedbug infestation. It is then the duty of the landlord to deal with bedbug control.
If you are unsure whether you are effectively dealing with bedbugs, contact Absolut Skadedyr. We have more than 35 years of experience in pest control, including bedbugs.
In Denmark, there is no proof that bedbugs can spread diseases. However, some people experience intense allergic reactions to bedbug bites and considerable swelling where they have been bitten. Others don´t seem to experience much or any discomfort at all.
Close to 30% have no reaction whatsoever to bedbug bites.
It does not hurt to be bitten, but the itchiness afterwards can be quite uncomfortable. Often, it leaves several itchy bite marks, typically on exposed areas of the skin, such as arms, hands, neck and feet.
Bites from bedbugs
People rarely notice being bitten; and actually it is not actually a bite, but a sting.
The bedbug has a proboscis that it stings into your skin to extract your blood. After the insect has stung, it retreats back into cracks or crevices where it digests the blood it has just drawn from its victim. This means that a bedbug that has just bitten a human, will seek a quiet environment.
If you have bedbugs and visit your holiday home, you can be certain that they will follow you there. A bedbug takes a couple of days to digest its stomach contents. Therefore, it will often only actively search for a new meal once there has been a change in the holiday home occupants. If you notice bedbug bites, it is important that you do transfer the bedbugs to your surroundings. It is not dangerous to get bitten, but people can react differently. The sign of bedbug bites can be anything from tiny marks to larger swollen areas.
Guided by the preys’ heat radiation
Bedbugs are nearly blind, but within 5-10 cm from their prey, they are guided by the heat it radiates. It can drink 7 times its own weight in just 10 minutes, after which it creeps back into hiding for up to 2 months, where it digests, breeds and lays eggs – about 200 – before it gets hungry again.
Bedbug control with insecticides
Absolut Skadedyrsservice is the bedbug control specialist. Contact us for free guidance or a price quotation on pest control. Our products are approved by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency and are also odourless, so you can enter your home 10 minutes after the treatment has been carried out.
Alternative methods of treatment
Other treatments for fighting bedbugs worth mentioning include freezing your clothes, bags and other items, or washing your clothes which is also effective.
Alternatively, you can apply insect lacquer with a brush. This remedy forms a coating that the bedbugs need only pass a few times before it succumbs.
The lacquer lasts for a few months, and is a very practical supplementary form of pest control near pipes and along skirting boards.
You can also request the assistance of an experienced pest controller and let them take care of it. Someone who is familiar with the habits of the insects can quickly and efficiently solve your problem.
Bedbugs are sensitive to heat and cold, and can be killed by keeping them at 50 degrees Celsius, storing them in the freezer for a couple of days. You should be aware that the bedbugs can hide in insulating material where they can survive. As a general rule, more treatment will be needed to get rid of your bedbugs.
In addition, you can find alternative forms of treatment to soothe the itchiness.
Bedbugs during the winter
Bedbugs can easily survive through the winter, re-emerging to cause fresh infestations when spring arrives again.
Talk to Danish people returning from holiday and you´ll hear plenty of horror stories about entire families being affected by bedbugs. You should be particularly careful in the autumn, when more activities take place indoors. Many people from Denmark enjoy travelling abroad, but that´s when you catch bedbugs. You can avoid bringing them back home to Denmark, by following a few simple pieces of advice.Tommy Hansen, owner of Absolut Skadedyrsservice A/S
Get a bedbug certificate
As a new service, we provide bedbug-free certificates. This means that we create a certificate which confirms that your home has no bedbug infestation. This certificate can be used when moving in or out, and it means that you have proof that your home is bedbug-free.
Facts about bedbugs
• Bedbugs are hard to get rid of
• A bedbug stings – it does not bite
• Frost kills bedbugs
• Bedbugs can survive the winter in your holiday home
Contact Absolut Skadedyrsservice
Absolut Skadedyr is an authorised supplier of pest control, including bedbugs. Our solutions use environmentally-friendly, mild insecticides and we have a range of professional remedies for bedbugs. We have been supplying bedbug eradication services since 1985 and, today, the company employs 15 specialists, all qualified to perform bedbug control in Copenhagen and the surrounding areas.