“Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite…” was a cute rhyme my grandmother used to say to me when she tucked me into bed as a seven year old. At the time I thought bed bugs were some type of mythical creature or at worst something last heard of in the middle ages.
It was more than twenty years later that I eventually realised they were very real, blood sucking critters, with the ability to make your life a living hell.
I think it all started when someone dropped off a rather dusty box of mine that had been lying in storage for a while, which I stupidly carried into my bedroom and left there for several weeks, without unpacking…
Or it could have been one of my English friend’s suitcases that had been halfway round the world before they were deposited in my spare room, while she stayed with me for a few weeks. Or perhaps instead it could have come in one of the coats of many visitors who popped by the house.
Whichever it was, they got in somehow and then eventually made it into the mattress of my bed, where they must have gone undiscovered for several days or weeks, until one morning….
Miss awoke having had a bad dose of the flu for a couple of days, and stumbled into the bathroom, rather groggy, scratching herself unthinkingly. She had spent more time than normal in bed over the last couple of days and was looking forward to a couple more of days off work to recuperate. Popping in the shower, she noticed a couple of mozzie bites round her middle and had another good scratch.
Getting out of the shower, she noticed a couple of itchy marks on her leg, and pondered how strange it was she hadn’t noticed the mosquitos in the middle of the night. “Mosquitos normally wake me up with their annoying buzzing, funny they didn’t this time?”, she thought. “Oh well.”
Munching her breakfast, she thought, “Come to think of it, how did a mosquito manage to bite me inside my pyjamas? That’s weird, I must’ve trapped a mozzie under the blankets when I went to sleep. Never done that before.”
Then came the itching.
At first she didn’t notice how much she was scratching, but after a little while she noticed that the ‘mozzie bites’ were a bit larger than normal and were more like welts than mosquito bites. When she looked properly at all of them , she noticed she had about ten bites on her lower body. Puzzling for a moment, she had a moment of awful realisation…
bites + bed + sleep + scratching = BED BUGS!!
Immediately, she grabbed her laptop, googling “How can you tell you have bed bugs?”, and came up with a list of horrifying pictures….
So how can you tell you have bed bugs?
Apart from the sudden onset of a silent, nocturnal attack, you should be able to see them, if you look hard enough. Look into your blankets and bedding…. If they’re there, your blankets will be a’jumpin’ and the seams and creases of your mattress should yield at least a couple of bedbugs. If you need proof, get some sticky tape, and squash one to keep as evidence.
How do I Get Rid of them ? That’s for the next instalment….