Know your enemy

Cimex lectularius – the common bed bug

In the early 1940s bedbugs were nearly eradicated in the developed world, but since 1995 they are seeing a resurgence. This is due to a number of reasons including bed bug resistance to pesticides, bans on effective pesticides and increasing international travel.

They prefer to feed on human blood, although they have been known to feed on other animals as well. Bedbugs are nocturnal so will usually feed at night. Feeding can take from 3 – 12 minutes and takes place every 14 days. If bedbug bites become itchy antihistamines can help, a pharmacist should be able to recommend a treatment.

While it is distressing to find bedbugs they are not known as transmitters of disease. Bedbugs are not attracted to dirt or dirty people. They can be found in any type of home and are expert hitchhikers.

Bedbugs can live up to 12 months. In that time female bedbugs can lay 200-500 eggs. Bedbugs have several life stages: egg, nymph and adult. Bedbug eggs cannot be killed using any home treatment chemical. This means that at least two treatments of your home may be necessary as eggs present when you did the first treatment hatch.


Did You Know

Although called bed bugs, these pests do not live exclusively in beds. Bed bugs will happily travel 5 – 20 feet from where they can feed to their hiding place. This includes mattresses, bed frames, sofas, draws and cupboards, skirting boards and floorboards, cars, luggage and even electrical sockets and devices/appliances.

How to spot Bed Bugs

Early detection and treatment of bedbugs makes eradicating them much easier. The larger an infestation gets the harder and more costly the treatment will become.

The best way to detect bedbugs is to look in areas where they could be hiding. It is a good idea to check for bedbugs at home when changing your sheets and also if you are staying away from home. It is useful to have a bright torch when looking for bedbugs.

What to look out for:

  • Rusty stains on the sheets
  • Bed bug excrement – a small, dark spot
  • Eggs, eggshells and pale yellow nymph skins which are shed by juvenile bedbugs
  • Live bed bugs – adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple pip
bed bug
Bed Bug. By Content Providers(s): CDC/ Harvard University, Dr. Gary Alpert; Dr. Harold Harlan; Richard Pollack. Photo Credit: Piotr Naskrecki [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Where to look:

  • The bed – a good place to start looking is around the bed. Check piping around the mattress edges, seams and labels sewn on to the mattress, the headboard and bed frame.
  • Check draw joints, especially in bedside tables.
  • Walls – check any gaps around the skirting board, under loose wallpaper or wall hangings.
  • Sofas and chairs – check seams, frames and under cushions.
  • Electrical receptacles and appliances

Bedbugs are about the width of a credit card, so they can hide in very small spaces, even in the head of a screw. If you can slide the edge of a credit card into a crack, a bedbug could be hiding there.

Sometimes the first sign of bedbugs is noticing bite marks on the skin. They look a bit like mosquito bites and are found on any skin that is exposed while sleeping. The bites are usually in a straight line. Everyone is effected differently by bedbug bites. While some people show almost no sign of being bitten others come up in painful rashes and blisters (part of an allergic reaction).

bed bug bites
Bed bug bites. By James Heilman, MD (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Treatment of Bed Bugs

Treating bedbugs properly is a long process which needs patience and persistence. Although chemical treatment is effective (such as smoke bombs and sprays),there are also secondary actions that should be taken to aid the process.

Early detection and treatment of bedbugs makes eradicating them much easier. The larger an infestation gets the harder and more costly the treatment will become.


Check for signs of bedbugs in all rooms the house. Infestations can spread from room to room and it is important to treat every room that is affected. Bedbugs will crawl 5 meters to a regular food source, so make sure to check everything within a 5 meter radius of the bed, chairs or areas where the infestation could be centred.



Critterkill Bed Bug Treatments

Critterkill Bed Bug Smoke Bomb

Critterkill bed bug bombs are a great way to control and remove pests from inside your home. The insecticidal smoke from the smoke bombs will kill any insect on contact making them an ideal solution for large or difficult to reach areas.

Previously only for professional use, these bed bug bombs are now available to the public. Ideal for use in the home, storage areas, commercial properties and small animal housing.

Available in three different sizes they are suitable for rooms big and small.

Download and print our handy checklist for reference when you use your smoke bomb

See Guide

Please read all warnings, precautions and directions before using the smoke bomb.

Directions for use

  • Clear people, plants and animals including fish from the area to be treated.
  • Remove all foodstuffs (processed and unprocessed), utensils and food preparation equipment.
  • Seal area to be treated as effectively as possible. Close doors and windows block fireplaces and exclude draughts.
  • Take the required number of smoke generators, refer to the Rates of Application table.
  • Tear off tag and remove container cap.
  • Place each smoke generator on a fireproof base of approximately 300 mm x 300 mm but NOT in a bucket or other enclosed space.
  • When a number of smoke generators are being used, space them throughout the area to be treated, and prepare all for ignition before lighting the first.
  • Light smoke generators in sequence, starting with the furthest from an identified exit.
  • Light the igniter using a match. Do not leave lighted match on generator.
  • Once lit leave the room quickly
  • Leave for as long as possible, at least four hours or one hour per 1.5m ceiling height minimum.
  • After treatment is complete, open windows and doors and ventilate thoroughly.


  • Exclude all persons, animals and plants during treatment.
  • For indoor use only.
  • Ventilate treated areas thoroughly after treatment.
  • Do not contaminate foodstuffs, eating utensils or food contact surfaces.
  • Not for use on grain or in empty grain stores.
  • Cover all water storage tanks before application.
  • Hazardous to bees. Action should be taken to prevent foraging bees gaining access to treated nests, preferably by removing the combs or blocking the nest entrance.
  • Do not disturb bats or their roosts. No treatment should be made without first ascertaining whether bats use the site as a roost. All bats are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) or the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) order (1985). Before treating any structure used by bats, consult English nature, Scottish Natural Heritage, The Countryside Council for Wales or Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland.


  • WASH HANDS AND EXPOSED SKIN before meals and after use.
  • KEEP IN A SAFE PLACE and keep out of reach of children.
  • Avoid contact with skin.
  • Use appropriate containment to avoid environmental contamination.
  • To avoid risks to man and the environment, comply with the instructions for use.
  • Safety data sheet available for professional user on request.
  • This material and its container must be disposed of in a safe way.


Critterkill Bed Bug Spray
Coming Soon!



Secondary actions

  • Clothing and bed linen should not be treated with chemicals. Wash at 60°c or put in the dryer set to hot for 30 minutes
  • Items that cannot be put in the dryer can be put in the freezer. Make sure the freezer is set to -18°C or colder and the items are left in the freezer for at least four days.
  • Vacuuming can help to remove bugs (although you will not get the ones that are hiding). Make sure to vacuum crevices and seams in mattresses/furniture where bedbugs like to hide. Empty the vacuum as soon as you are done into a sealed bag and dispose of immediately.
  • After treatment check for bedbugs at least every seven days.
  • Treatment needs to be repeated at least twice to eradicate bedbugs. This is because the eggs are so resilient; they need to hatch before they can be killed.


Monitoring and Prevention of Bed Bugs

Prevention can be difficult as bed bugs can be easily transported without being noticed. Here are a few tips for reducing the chances of a bed bug infestation:

  • Inspect mattresses regularly for signs of bedbugs, this is the area they are likely to show up in early on.
  • Avoid buying second hand furniture, especially mattresses or beds. Any second hand furniture that is bought should be thoroughly inspected before being brought into the home.
  • If using a shared washing machine/dryer area take clothes there is a plastic bag. Once washed clothes should then be put straight back into the bag to be folded at home. If taking bedbug infested clothes to the laundromat use a different bag to take your clean clothes back home.
  • De-clutter your home. Reducing the hiding places for bugs will make them easier to spot and make any future treatments much easier.

Monitor bed bugs with the Critterkill Sticky Insect Trap


Sticky Insect Trap

Coming Soon!

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