A pest prevention service based in Hampshire has offered advice to combat the ongoing bed bug epidemic which has spread across Europe – including in Southampton.

Managing Director of HPC247 Whelan Pest Prevention, Sean Whelan, said that the public health problem is getting worse, and people are becoming worried about a spread of bed bugs in the UK.

Sean said: “Bed bugs have always been around in homes, hotels and businesses so we don’t want to scaremonger the public into thinking every home in the UK is suddenly going to be swamped by bed bugs.

“However, we are trying to educate people on the signs of bed bugs and how to spot them, should there be an outbreak in the UK.

“We also want to reassure people that if they do suspect bed bugs, there are plenty of ways to get rid of them.”

Many in Southampton have been affected by the pests, with one family having to live in a bed bug infested home for three years.

Mother of two, Tegan Dare, said she and her children have scratched themselves until they bleed due to the itching caused by the bugs after moving into an infested maisonette in Midanbury.

Sean continued: “The first sign of bed bugs is usually bites on the body which are itchy, often in places such as the face, neck or hands.

“You might also notice small dark spots or bugs around the seams, crevices and tufts in mattresses because this is where they tend to hide. Bed bugs can latch on to clothes, carpets and furniture.

“Once a pest control firm, such as ours, have completed heat treatment, nothing will be able to survive, meaning it will eradicate all bed bugs or other pests in the home. It is a guaranteed method to remove bed bugs.

“It’s also important to remember that bed bugs are not caused by a dirty home or business. It is a misconception that bed bugs fester in dirty places, anyone could be faced with a bed bug problem.”

The firm's new bed bug busting heaters work by safely heating properties to a temperature that is so hot, nothing is able to survive, putting a stop to all pest infestations, including bed bugs.