The council does not provide treatment for bed bugs. However, you may find the following information helpful:

Why are bedbugs a pest?

Bedbugs are not considered a public health pest but they can be an unpleasant and persistent nuisance.

Bedbugs draw blood from their hosts by piercing the skin. The bedbug’s saliva causes redness, swelling and itching. Some people have an allergic reaction which is concerning for people at risk of anaphylaxis (potentially life-threatening allergic reaction).

Unlike mosquitoes and ticks, there are no confirmed cases of bedbugs spreading diseases between humans.


  • Adult bedbugs are roughly apple pip sized and may vary slightly in colour.
  • After a feed they will appear red/purple.
  • Hungry bedbugs will appear opaque.
  • Adults may be found near the food sources, for example in mattress seams, corners and buttons. You may also be able to see bedbugs in sockets, cracks and crevices, on curtains or along skirting boards and carpet edges.
  • Bedbugs are nocturnal and bite at night.
  • Red, slightly swollen, itchy bites may appear on the skin in clusters. Anti-itch cream such as calamine lotion may help.
  • Dark brown stains (bedbug poo) appear on bedding and around the edges of mattresses and bed frames. Heavy infestations produce more staining.

How to prevent an infestation

Bedbug infestations are increasing mainly due to international travel. Transient places such as hotels and hostels tend to have repeat infestations and holidaymakers often infest their homes with bedbugs carried back in suitcases.


  • Store suitcases and bags off the ground and away from your bed when staying in shared accommodation abroad or in the UK.
  • Inspect second-hand furniture carefully before buying. Look for insects within the seams, cracks and crevices.
  • Vacuum mattresses and fabrics in infested areas to reduce the number of insects and eggs. Empty the vacuum cleaner outside into a sealed bag and disposed of in the outside bin. This will not prevent bedbugs but will help control numbers.

How to treat an infestation

The treatment of bedbugs can take a long time. They are difficult insects to eradicate, especially when there is heavy infestation. Methods often have to be tried and varied.

Treatment can take two weeks to three months, sometimes longer if the infestation is severe. New control methods are being developed all the time and include sealed bags around mattresses, new insecticides and even treatments involving temperature changes.

We do not recommend you try and treat an infestation yourself. Treatments are extremely difficult and we recommend you seek professional assistance.

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Contact details

Environmental Health
Britannia House

Phone : 01274 433926

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Council Switchboard : 01274 432111

Council Address : Britannia House, Hall Ings, Bradford BD1 1HX

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