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  • Habitat for Humanity Singapore

IN PHOTOS: The Itch Scale

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

Did you know that Project HomeWorks cases with pest infestations are rated on a severity scale of 1 to 10? Can you place this case on the scale?

If you guessed level 8, you’re absolutely right. The ratings for each pest-infested Project HomeWorks case is actually given by our long-time fumigation partner Wipeout Pest Control.

Speaking to WipeOut’s Managing Director for this blog post, he gave us a low-down on tell-tale signs their experienced technicians look out for and the judgement calls they make on-site.

Tell-Tale Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation

  1. Markings on the wall

  2. Markings on the mattresses and bed frames

  3. Markings on the cable trunkings

“The darker the markings, the more intense and active the infestation is.”

Rating cases on the severity scale

  1. Non-visible markings: cases would rank level 3 and below

  2. Visible markings: cases would rank level 4-5

  3. Severe infestations: technicians use their judgement to ranks cases from level 6-10

“We also get feedback from the resident on the bite marks on their skin. If they have more than 5 bite marks, it indicates a high level of infestation. We also look for bloodstains on the bedsheet. More bloodstains also indicate more bites, especially at night.”

Uncle Poh had been living in this rental flat in Bedok with his flat mate for the last 6 or 7 years. Both men, in their mid-70s, are working part-time as cleaners in the nearby estates.

Uncle Poh estimates that the bed bug infestation started about a year ago but he didn’t know who to turn to for help. It was only when a HDB-contracted plumber came in to fix a faulty faucet that put Uncle Poh’s house on the radar for social workers and Habitat Singapore.

“I dont know how it started. It must have crawled onto our clothes and we brought it back accidentally. I didn’t know if HDB or anybody would be able to help. I used to get bitten like crazy. I couldn’t sleep. It was very frustrating. I even tried to buy the bed bug sprays,” lamented Uncle Poh.

Off-the-shelves bed bug sprays can help to kill bed bug when sprayed directly but such ready-to-use formulas are usually diluted, explains Wipeout’s Managing Director.

The particular chemicals used in fumigation services for Project HomeWorks, although odourless, are much stronger in concentration and it leaves behind residue that lingers to kill off hard-to-reach bed bugs.

Paired together with our usual bed bug protocol, Uncle Poh said he could immediately feel the difference after 1 round of fumigation and Project HomeWorks session.

“The fumigation was great, it killed them all. When the volunteers are caulking the electrical casings and painting the walls, the bed bugs won't be able to escape and reproduce anymore,” said Uncle Poh.

“The walls and the house look totally different. I feel so much more comfortable now.”


Despite the challenges brought about by Covid-19, your support powered our teams on the ground to give more than 100 seniors and families a safe refuge this year.

We launch our #HomeThisChristmas campaign this year in preparation of serving the numerous households still depending on our help.

Every dollar raised in this campaign will empower another Singaporean to live in dignity. Donate now & make a difference to someone's life this Christmas:


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