They are nasty creatures Bed Bugs, and they are not just found in dodgy backpacker hostels – they can also be found in your home. Find out how to get rid of Bed Bugs with a little knowledge and control….

Where are the Bed Bugs?

Bed Bugs are found throughout the world and are becoming more common in New Zealand, particularly where there is a large turnover of visitors; places such as backpackers, hotels and motels, but you are also at risk in your home. Bed Bugs hide in cracks and crevices during the day and come out at night to feed on our blood, attracted to the food source by body heat and carbon dioxide from in our breath. They feed by using their hypodermic like mouth parts to penetrate skin. They then inject you with their ‘saliva’ which contains anaesthetic and anti-coagulant proteins so you don’t detect the bug and to stop your blood clotting. It is these proteins that cause itchy inflammation reactions and reddened marks in many people. The Bed Bug is wingless and therefore likely to be found near to where the host sleeps; in the mattress or bed frame, behind wallpaper, in spaces behind skirting, seams of curtains, electrical sockets, under the edge of carpets and in furniture.

Life Cycle

Because they can ingest up to seven times their body own weight in blood in one feed, they can survive long periods between feeding. After mating takes place, Bed Bugs will lay up to 200 eggs. The nymphs that hatch out are miniature versions of the adult. There is no larval stage. The nymphs will moult several times over a period of 6-18 months before becoming an adult. Bed Bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of because they hide so well and there is evidence that they have become resistant to some insecticides.  However, they can be controlled with thoroughness and persistence.

Control of bed bugs requires a four pronged attack

Control of bed bugs requires very thorough examination and treatment of all the possible places where they might hide.  Check around seams of mattresses, bed base, bed heads, curtains and other furniture.  Also check around the edges of carpets, behind skirting, edges of wallpaper and picture frames and in all other crevices within the room and adjacent rooms, even electrical sockets are common places for bed bugs to infest. Ensure that electrical sockets are only checked when power is switched off at the main power switch board. Also check sub floors and roof voids. Bed Bugs leave tell-tale blackened smears of blood which look like ticks made with a black pen.

Carefully collect all bedding from the room and place in a plastic bag for transport to your washing machine, being careful to make sure no insects are dropped on the way. If possible wash the clothes in a ‘hot wash’. Clothing and bedding that cannot be washed in a hot wash can be bagged and placed in a freezer at -20C for at least 24 hours. Open cupboards and drawers and lean the bed mattress and bed base upright against a wall in the room to improve exposure to the vapour. Release bug bomb fumigators (2 for an average sized room). The fumigant produced will kill adult bed bugs and penetrate into areas that cannot be treated directly. Keep room/s sealed for as long as possible up to 24 hours. Spray all areas where signs of infestation are found and all cracks crevices and seams with a residual spray insecticide containing an insect growth regulator (IGR). The IGR will make females lay sterile eggs and help prevent young bed bugs reaching maturity and continuing the life cycle. As a preventative measure use a residual insecticide regularly, although this product does not contain a growth regulator it will kill adults and nymphs that are brought into the area and can prevent an infestation form beginning.

Note: You cannot be too thorough.  If the Bed Bug infestation has become established it may be necessary to repeat this treatment.

Article Brought To You By Kiwicare  kiwicare

Kiwicare is New Zealand’s own manufacturer and distributor of pest control, garden care and home maintenance products. The Kiwicare website contains advice on the eradication and prevention of all sorts of pests that bother us in New Zealand. Learn how to get rid of rats and mice, flies, spiders, ants, cockroaches, fleas, bed bugs and other creepy crawlies. Protect your plants from aphids, grass grub, caterpillars, weeds and more. Keep biting insects at bay with the Safari range of insect repellents. See the BioGro certified organic range of products to help you stay pest free without chemicals.

How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs, 5.0 out of 5 based on 131 ratings



  1. The Kiwicare website has a great new look and many new features including interactive problem solvers for home pests and garden pests, diseases and health.
    You may find some of the links in this article try and take you to the page that no longer exists. The error page however will tell you go to the home page and you will easily find the new page on the subject you seek.

    VA:F [1.9.17_1161]
    Rating: 4.8/5 (4 votes cast)