Many people head off on holiday each year – either abroad or as a staycation. However, while many of us feel dejected at the thought of going home, few of us would ever imagine we’d bring some interlopers back with us.

We’re talking about bedbugs – tiny little bugs that can infest various parts of the home. They’re so tiny you may not easily see them – but you’re likely to see and feel the bites they cause. Bedbugs may only be around 1mm long, although they can grow up to 7mm long, making them slightly easier to see.

If you come up in a rash, usually confined to one area or occurring in lines or groups, it could be bedbugs. They are very likely to be itchy, although they shouldn’t cause any serious issues.

Your main aim should be to get rid of the bugs though. Prevention is always better than cure. The best way to minimise the chances of bedbugs hitching a ride home from your holiday accommodation is to wash your clothing thoroughly before leaving. Sounds odd? Bedbugs prefer dirty clothes to clean ones, so while this method isn’t foolproof, it vastly reduces the odds that you’ll be affected.

But what should you do if it is already too late and they’ve come home to live somewhere new – with you? Well, washing all your bed linen and other linen at a high temperature (at least 60 degrees Celsius) will kill off any bugs present in those areas. Check and clean out whatever suitcases or carry-on bags you took with you too, as there could be bugs in those. Steam cleaning can be a good idea if the bags can take it, as the bugs don’t fend off high temperatures well.

Be sure to clean your bed frame and watch out for signs of bugs in other areas too. Small stains could either be blood or poo, and either could be from the bedbugs themselves. Alternatively, if you scratch your bites, you could leave blood stains from those.

If you still experience issues, you may have a significant infestation that would require professional treatment. While there are DIY methods you can try, these aren’t as effective as those used by pest controllers. Calling the experts could prevent a mild infestation from getting far worse, too. No one wants to cope with bedbugs for any longer than necessary.