• the bed bug (Climex lectularius) is a nocturnal insect that feeds on human blood
  • adult bed bugs are about 5mm (1/4 inch) long
  • they are reddish brown in colour (becoming purple after feeding) with flat, oval bodies


  • bed bugs generally emerge to feed at night and are most active just before dawn
  • during the day they will hide in the darkness of the mattress or bed frame, behind wallpaper, pictures, skirting boards and furniture
  • bed bugs take 3-10 minutes to engorge and can ingest up to seven times their body weight on one feed. However, they can survive for six months or longer without feeding


Bed bugs feed on human blood by piercing the skin and sucking blood. Bed bugs are not known to transmit disease. The spread of bed bugs is usually due to the movement of furnishings and furniture, personal belongings or luggage which has been transported from an infected area.

Signs of infestation

  • an unpleasant sweet smell
  • blood spots on sheets and mattresses
  • hard, whitish, inflamed and irritation welts on the skin accompanied by severe itching which can last several days
  • black/brown speckling (bed bug faeces)


Bed bug are challenging pests to control. The key is to locate and treat all cracks and crevices where bed bugs may be hiding, which may be some distance from the bed.


A full treatment of the furniture and room by a professional pest control company is advised.

Do not attempt DIY pest control using a surface spray on bed linen or mattresses as this could cause a health and safety danger.

Spelthorne Council does provide a service for the treatment of domestic premises infested with bedbug. Should you require a treatment, please complete the online form or contact Customer Services.