Warning: reading the following will make you start scratching. A lot.
Head lice, fleas bed bugs - they're all annoying little critters. Here’s the lowdown on those bugs and how to bust em’…
Bug enemy Number 1: Head lice
• To bust a few myths, these bugs love all hair, even the clean stuff, they don’t necessarily cause itching, so you or your kids might not even know you’ve got them, and the expensive treatments don’t always kill them.
• The best way of getting them, according to the bug busting experts at Community Hygiene Concern is to wash hair - they stay still when they’re wet - condition, to help detangle the hair and then comb through it in sections with a specialist comb, checking and removing them.
• Break the bug life cycle: They can only move between heads six days after hatching, and can lay eggs seven days after hatching, so it’s vital to get them before then to stop them spreading and reproducing.
• More unusual methods of ridding head lice range from tea tree oil, lemon juice, olive oil, hair straighteners and mayonnaise (yes, really).
Bug enemy Number 2: Bed bugs
• About the size of an apple pip, this flattened brown fellow is hungry for blood and will feed for up to 15 minutes while you sleep.
• They like to travel and will often nestle in clothes, luggage and second hand furniture and they spread fast: the female can lay anything from one to 12 eggs a day.
• Once a month, look out for tell-tale blood spots on your bed linen and shed bug skin and faecal traces – black marks.
• The only way to get them out is by calling in the professionals.
Bug enemy Number 3: Fleas
• You’ll be hopping mad if you get them, because unlike bed bugs, fleas normally live outside and are brought into your home on the back of your cat or dog.
• They are reddish brown and about 2mm long. Look out for black specks like ground pepper on your pet’s fur, which could be flea poo.
• Make sure you vacuum carpets, soft furnishings, curtains and cracks in floorboards to get the bugs and their eggs, then empty the vacuum cleaner.
• Groom your pet regularly with a flea comb, wash their bedding and take them to a vet if they’re scratching.
• For major infestations, visit www.rentokil.co.uk.