Bed bugs were once a common public health pest worldwide however, they declined in populations in the mid 20th century. Due to increasing travel through cheap flights, there is an increased incidence in bed bugs again, especially in accommodation services like hostels.
Bed bugs are small insects which feed on human blood by piercing the skin. They are attracted to our body heat and the carbon dioxide we exhale. They do not live on humans and they do not burrow into the skin. Adult bed bugs are 4-6mm in length, oval in shape and a dark reddish brown in colour. Juveniles are 1-5mm in length, depending on the growth stage and are cream, becoming red to blackish after a blood meal. Adult females can lay up to three eggs per day, which hatch up to 10 days later. Bed bugs are most commonly found on mattresses, particularly along the stitched edges where there are folds.
If you think that you have a bed bug infestation, contact a licensed pest manager for treatment. Delay or failure to treat promptly and effectively may cause the infestation to spread, making control more difficult and expensive. Prior to contacting a licensed pest manager, you may wish to consult the further information in the Code of Practice for Control of Bed Bug Infestations in Australia.
After the initial treatment, follow up inspections are required, usually with repeated treatments to completely eradicate this pest.
Advice for accommodation service providers like hostels can be found in the Bed Bug Management Policy & Procedural Guide.
To report a bed bug issue in an accommodation provider, please call Customer Service on 9311 8111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact details and the address of the property of concern. Your request will be allocated to an Environmental Health Officer for follow-up.
For issues in your own property please contact a licensed pest control company.