【Bed Bug Crisis】How Do We Prevent and Control Bed Bug Infestations?

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  • 【Bed Bug Crisis】How Do We Prevent and Control Bed Bug Infestations?

    November 16, 2023 8 min read


    Table of Contents

    Bed bug crisis hits one of Hong Kong traveller’s favourite destinations, Korea, and it's time to take preventive measures! This article will share with you some tips to prevent and control bed bugs, so you won't be kept awake all night by bed bug bites!

    2023 - Bed Bug Crisis Hits the Globe?!

    The bed bug crisis is making waves worldwide, with bed bug infestation reports emerging from France and the UK since October. Netizens have been sharing sightings of these pesky critters in frequently visited venues including hotels, cinemas, and public transportation. Now, in November, the problem has hitchhiked its way to Korea, a popular tourism destination for Hong Kongers.

    Multiple reports of bed bug infestations have been causing a stir in Korea, cropping up in transportation, saunas, university dorms, and other locations that have left people with growing concern. Many of us back in Hong Kong fear that these unwanted guests might cling onto travellers’ luggage and clothes and infest our city when people travel. However, it's worth noting that bed bug woes have plagued the world for quite some time. This year, though, the situation seems to have intensified, attracting global attention.

    Many believe that the cause of wide-spread bed bug infestation is one of the many consequences of "revenge travel" in the post-pandemic era. On top of that, as we resume our daily commutes, public transport usage has soared, inadvertently giving bed bugs a free ride to new destinations. Combine this with relaxed personal and societal hygiene practices that come after Covid , and you've got the perfect breeding ground for these bothersome bugs.

    Bed Bug Crisis in Hong Kong?

    As mentioned earlier, bed bug problems have long been prevalent in Hong Kong. Bed bugs are not exceptionally rare in small and densely populated living spaces, such as public housing estates and subdivided flats, as they are ideal breeding grounds for these pests. Infestations in community centres and elderly homes are also not unheard of. But as bed bugs have not been commonly found in public transportation and other public places in Hong Kong, there has been a lack of awareness among the unaffected citizens.

    There are quite a number of exterminator companies in Hong Kong that specialise in bed bugs control. However, due to cost concerns, some elderly individuals or residents of subdivided units prefer to tolerate the bed bugs instead of hiring exterminators. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the problem and spreads it to neighbouring units. If you discover bed bugs in your building or community, do seek help from property management or even district councillors. Additionally, do show care to your neighbours and strengthen community ties, which could be a great help when you have to collectively address widespread infestations!

    What’s So Terrifying About Bed Bugs?

    Are you terrified of bed bugs? Many people are, but the truth is, they don't actually pose a significant health threat. Unlike mosquitoes that can spread diseases like dengue fever, bed bugs only cause itchy welts and swelling after biting. So, what exactly makes them so difficult to deal with? As someone who has experienced the nightmare of living with bed bugs, let me share with you the most terrifying things about them.

    1. The Shockingly-Quick Breeding Speed of Bed Bugs

    Does it seem like no matter how many you kill, they still keep appearing in your home? This is because female bed bugs only need to mate once in their lifetime and can lay eggs continuously, producing as many as 5-6 eggs per day. Just imagine how the bed bug population grows exponentially even if there are only a few females in your home!

    1. It’s Difficult to Completely Eliminate All Bed Bugs at Home

    While adult bed bugs are easier to spot, it's the eggs and nymphs that are tricky to get rid of. Bed bug nymphs are tiny with a milky white body, making them hard to notice on bed sheets. The eggs, on the other hand, look just like small white dots that can easily go unnoticed. This is why you may not see any bed bugs with the naked eye, even if they are still roaming freely in your household.

    1. They Could Be Everywhere

    Despite being named bed bugs, they can be found in many more places, instead of just your comfy bed. Fabric and textiles are dream homes of these pests, so you may also find them in sofas, curtains, clothing, and even carpets. They also love to make nests in bamboo and damaged wallpaper. What’s more troublesome is that bed bugs prefer dark and damp places like corners and crevices, which are easy to overlook. By the time you discover them, they may have already infested your entire home, sometimes requiring expensive exterminator visits.

    Bed bugs hiding in crevices
    Bed bugs hiding in crevices

    Prevention Tips to Keep Bed Bugs at Bay:

    After travelling or visiting bed bug hotspots such as hotels, community centres, beauty salons, and gyms. If you feel itchy after visiting these places, you’ll need to take extra caution. Wash your clothes with high heat after returning home and shower before getting on your bed to avoid bed bugs hitching a ride on your bedding, curtains, or clean clothes.

    While second hand furniture may be cheaper and still look well-preserved, it's better to invest in new furniture as a precaution. If you have to buy second-hand items, choose sellers who can guarantee their hygiene condition.

    For clothes, I understand how fashionistas love second-hand vintage clothes. But if you aren’t sure about where they are obtained from, refrain from purchasing them because there could be a chance that there are bed bugs attached to them! You wouldn’t like these unwanted ‘freebies’!

    Bed bug bites
    Bed bug bites

    If you wake up feeling itchy with tiny red bumps, it could be a sign of bed bug bites. Stay alert and thoroughly check your home for any of the following signs of infestation. Also, pay close attention to commonly infested areas like crevices, edges, and corners during your inspection.

    Bed bug droppings
    Bed bug droppings
    Bed bug eggs
    Bed bug eggs
    Bed bug larva
    Bed bug larva
    Full-grown bed bug
    Full-grown bed bug

    Online shopping has revolutionised the way we shop for how convenient and affordable it could be. Many Hong Kong citizens shop on online platforms like Taobao and Amazon to purchase furniture, clothes, and other daily necessities. But with bed bugs so widely spread, don’t you want to make sure these overseas packages are pest-free before they enter your home?

    The hygiene conditions of fulfilment centres dispatching the packages are often unknown. Additionally, many prefer using package consolidation services, which mean that your packages are stored with countless other packages at consolidation warehouses. Again, we never get to know the hygiene conditions of these warehouses, and they could probably be the warm bed for bed bugs to secretly infest and multiply.

    For now, the safest approach is to open packages outdoors. This not only prevents the introduction of bed bugs into your home, but also takes advantage of the sun's high temperatures to kill any bed bugs that may be lurking in dark, damp corners. Opening packages outside eliminates the risk of spreading bed bug infestations in the community.

    If opening packages outdoors is not feasible, make sure to open them as far away from fabric furniture as possible to prevent bed bugs from jumping onto suitable hiding spots. If you happen to find any bed bugs, promptly eliminate them. In the unfortunate event of discovering bed bug eggs on goods, it's advisable to discard the package. Incurring a small loss is far better than risking a full-blown home infestation!

    How to Eliminate and Remove Bed Bugs at Home

    If, unfortunately, your home falls victim to a bed bug invasion, follow these methods to eliminate them. Utilising all of the following 4 methods is crucial for thorough removal and prevention of future infestations. These techniques are highly effective for initial and minor infestations. However, if bed bugs have spread extensively throughout your home and the problem persists, you are advised to seek assistance from professional exterminators.

    Steam Cleaning

    Bed bugs are most fearful of high temperatures, making steam cleaners your best weapon! Steam can be directed at mattresses, edges, and curtains—all the common hotspots for bed bugs—to kill them and disinfect the area. If you don't have a steam cleaner, a steam iron or garment steamer can be used as an alternative.

    Spot On Featured Product: Goodmans Garment Steamer

    Goodmans Garment Steamer
    Goodmans Garment Steamer

    With a cable of over 2m in length, it is convenient to carry Goodmans Garment Steamer around to clean different corners at your place! Fully ready to use in just 25 seconds, it releases steam and kills bedbugs anytime you need it! It is also equipped with a 200ml water tank so that you don’t have to frequently add water to it!


    In addition to killing bed bugs, physical removal is important. Let’s vacuum up all the bed bugs you can find! Dispose of the vacuum debris containing bed bugs in sealed bags and thoroughly clean the vacuum bag, filters, and dust cup to prevent bed bug breeding. This method is simple and direct, but it may not fully eliminate hidden bed bugs and eggs in hard-to-reach areas. Vacuuming can also help to remove dead bugs from steam cleaning.

    Spot On Featured Product: Goodmans Corded 2-in-1 Vacuum Cleaner with Pet Hair Head

    Goodmans Corded 2-in-1 Vacuum Cleaner with Pet Hair Head
    Goodmans Corded 2-in-1 Vacuum Cleaner with Pet Hair Head

    Goodmans Corded 2-in-1 Vacuum Cleaner comes with 3 types of heads, and the smallest one is perfect for vacuuming bed bugs in crevices and cracks! Also works on carpets, this vacuum cleaner helps to clean up all of bed bugs’ favourite spots! There’s no dust bag in this vacuum cleaner, instead it adopts the dust bin design. Just press the button to clear up the bin, meaning that no more contact with bed bugs is required. The bin can be taken out and washed with water to thoroughly remove any removing bed bug eggs.

    Do Your Laundry with High-Temperature

    Bed bugs perish at temperatures over 50 degrees Celsius, that’s why high-temperature washing is an effective solution for infested clothes. However, be mindful that fabric types may not withstand high temperatures, so always refer to care labels. For repeatedly infested clothes that cannot withstand high heat, sun drying can be a viable option to kill bed bugs. If the problem persists, it is best to discard the items to prevent further infestations.

    Dehumidification and Mildew Removal

    Bed bugs thrive in damp environments, particularly in corners and wallpaper with visible mildew. By addressing room dampness and mildew issues, you make your room a much less ideal living environment for bed bugs. Regularly replace dehumidifiers in wardrobes and tackle any mildew in corners.

    Spot On Featured Product: Airscents Interior Dehumidifier

    Airscents Interior Dehumidifier
    Airscents Interior Dehumidifier

    Airscents Interior Dehumidifier is now available on Spot On! Its 3-in-1 function includes moisture absorption, mildew prevention and deodorization, which is all that you want for your wardrobe! 4 in a pack, there are 2 x fresh linen, 1 x cherry and 1 x jasmine, making your clothes drier and driving bed bugs away from them! It starts working once you remove the plastic and the foil wrapper. Underneath is an extra strong water blocking paper that seals the box, so even if the box tumbles, the liquid won’t spill and spoil your clothes!

    In 2023, with bed bug activity on the rise, proper cleaning and hygiene practices are crucial. Start cleaning your homes and improving hygiene practices now. Spot On has a range of home cleaning products available for you to choose from! However, there's no need to get anxious over the matter! Here's some good news: bed bugs tend to thrive most in the summer when breeding and spreading are at their peak. As winter approaches, with colder and drier conditions, bed bug issues should gradually ease!