To help diffuse any panic in the presence of a pest, they’re more scared of you than you are of them, as the saying goes. And yet, tiny insects such as bed bugs can be a real nuisance when they invade a home or even entire living spaces. In this article, you will find out what a bed bug is, how to avoid an infestation and the best ways to get rid of them.

What is a bed bug?

Bed bugs look like little apple seeds; they are the size and shape of confetti. These brownish insects that are between 4 and 7 mm long feed on human blood and come out at night. They are particularly fond of beds, which are close to where they feed and are ideal for hiding and resting.
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Bed bugs are nocturnal insects that live an average of 6 to 24 months and develop in 5 stages, each of which involves a blood feed. They therefore require 5 feeds to become an adult. These harmful pests reproduce rapidly and prolifically (up to 500 eggs per female). Highly resistant, they can live without feeding for up to a year and a half or even two years if conditions are favourable (temperature, shelter, etc.).

There are two species of bed bugs, one that lives in temperate zones and the other in tropical zones.

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What is the reason for the increase in bed bugs?

Bed bugs have existed for thousands of years and do not carry diseases. However, a resurgence has been observed since the 1990s in many developed countries (North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, etc.). Infestations of entire buildings are becoming more and more frequent (apartment buildings, hotels, retirement homes, hospitals, etc.), mainly in large cities.

How can this be explained? These insects spread by passive transport. So, if we stay in an infested hotel, we may carry bed bugs in our luggage or on our belongings and infest a new place. The increased mobility of people has favoured their spread all over the world. They can also be carried in second-hand furniture and thus end up in a new home.

Moreover, with the banning of certain insecticides that are harmful to our health in the 1990s, prevention methods have become less drastic and have favoured a more rapid proliferation of bed bugs.

How do you know if you have bed bugs in your home?

One of the main problems with bed bugs is that they hide very well. It is difficult to see them, especially when they are young and light-coloured. They are active mainly at night and hide during the day in their resting place near the bed (on bedside tables, skirting boards, box springs, etc.) to digest, develop and lay eggs.

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The first preventive measure to detect the presence of bed bugs is to check whether the body shows any signs of bites or red patches, which are typical symptoms. Then, it is recommended to observe any trace of presence, whether it's blood on the sheets or small brown stains on the slats of the bed base, in the seams and folds of the mattress, on the frames and feet of beds, headboards and nearby linen, behind pictures and skirting boards, in cracks on the walls, floor and furniture, under mouldings or in electric sockets, wardrobes, bedside tables and curtains. This pest leaves its excrement on the spot, which explains the dark marks. In case of any serious doubts, the advice of a dog expert is required to detect their presence.

Bed bug detection dogs are 95% effective. Thanks to their natural scent, both live bed bugs and their eggs can be detected. Dogs are used either as a preventative measure to inspect regularly, or after a treatment to check there are no more bed bugs and that they have all been eliminated.

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Effects on both physical and psychological health

Bed bug bites are clearly visible on the skin, as there are often many of them. They are mainly found on parts of the body that are left uncovered by the victim while sleeping. The symptoms vary from person to person. Some people do not react at all to the bites, while others may have more severe reactions, such as hives, an intense allergic reaction, or even anaemia in the case of severe infestation.

Although they do not transmit diseases, bed bugs can cause a wide range of potentially serious psychological problems, including phobias and anxiety. Seeing your home invaded by these pests and not being able to get rid of them very easily causes a feeling of disgust that can result in alienation.

How can you avoid bed bugs?

Bed bugs follow their host everywhere and use them to move at high speed and infect new places, all over the world.

  • The first thing to do: when you travel, inspect the room where you are staying: look at the mattress and search for traces of black droppings around the bed frame, mattress seams, skirting boards and electrical sockets.
  • The second thing to do: when you return from your trip, wash any items that can withstand a high temperature at 60°C. Then, steam the rest, especially the suitcase, using Laurastar DMS (Dry Microfine Steam). Pay particular attention to seams.
  • The third thing to do: when buying anything second-hand, examine the furniture or clothing for the presence of these pests. Then use Laurastar DMS all over, in every nook and cranny.

Laurastar DMS eliminates bed bugs in all stages (from eggs to adults) within 5 seconds (results certified by an independent laboratory). It is therefore a simple and chemical-free preventative solution.

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Many hotels, retirement homes and hospitals protect mattresses, bed bases and even pillows with anti-bed bug covers, meaning bed bugs can no longer nest or emerge.

How can you get rid of bed bugs naturally?

Once the infestation has been confirmed by a dog expert and the type of infestation has been determined, various solutions are available. If the infestation is light, natural solutions are possible, but if the infestation is heavy, professionals must be called in.

Various chemical and mechanical solutions against bed bugs exist but are not necessarily 100% effective. In order to maximise their effects and get rid of an ongoing infestation, it is strongly recommended to combine the two.

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Chemical treatment

In the event of a severe infestation, chemical treatment by professional exterminators will certainly be necessary. It should be noted, however, that while insecticides can get rid of bed bugs, they are also toxic to human health. Another disadvantage of chemical methods is that bed bug eggs are resistant to them. It is therefore necessary to repeat the treatment three times at two-week intervals to ensure the eggs have all hatched and the bed bugs have been eliminated.


The most effective mechanical action for both prevention and control is heat. As well as being safe for our health and the environment, it has the enormous advantage of destroying adult bed bugs and their eggs.


Vacuuming is also a good natural way to get rid of eggs, larvae and bed bugs. It is an excellent complement to heat. However, care should be taken to clean the tube and hoover parts after use, as well as to close the bag tightly and dispose of it.


Freezing at -20°C also gives good results, although this isn't easy. It is difficult to freeze large quantities of fabrics and personal items at the same time for three days. There are professionals who rent freezer containers for this purpose.

Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth is free of toxic substances and consists mainly of silica minerals made up of fossilised diatom skeletons and bones. These sharp particles cut into the bodies of all crawling insects and cause them to dehydrate within a few days. Simply sprinkle it at the foot of the bed and other areas in the bedroom where bed bugs are found to see its effect. After 24 hours, the soil can be vacuumed up and disposed of

In conclusion, adopt the right preventative measures and take appropriate action when returning from a trip, moving house or purchasing old furniture; these are essential to win the fight against bed bugs and eliminate them from the list of public health problems.