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Experts warn bed bug infestation has already hit the UK

Experts warn bed bug infestation has already hit the UK

A bed bug infestation has been sweeping Paris, but we needn't worry about them getting here, because they already are

An expert claims that the bed bug epidemic that many have worried could spread from Paris into the UK is already here.

It’s a nightmare for many people, given how sacred most of us keep our beds.

After all, we sleep there, often not wearing very much – we need a calm and safe space, not somewhere that is causing us stress.

And we certainly don’t need the idea that it could be crawling with horrible wee bugs creeping into our heads just as we try to doze off.

However, now might be the time to be extra vigilant about these sorts of things, as a bed bug epidemic is currently sweeping across the capital of France, and at least one expert reckons it has already made it across the English Channel and into Britain.

That’s not to say that it’s the cause of the French, just that France isn’t the only place in the world that has a problem with bed bugs, and – in truth – it’s likely that London has as bad of a problem.

Speaking to Sky News, microbiologist and founder of Bed Bugs Ltd David Cain said: "I think there's probably a similar level of issue in London as there is in Paris at present.

"They're already on buses, trains, tubes, cinemas, doctor's surgeries, public spaces, hospitals."

He claims that the difference is simply that the Parisians are raising the issue, whereas in the UK people are ‘trying to keep the whole thing quiet’.

Bed bugs are already well established in the UK, according to experts.
Getty Images/Stock Photo

That’s the sort of conditions that allows the whole problem to grow and advance, he said.

Emmanuel Gregoire, the deputy mayor of Paris, recently called the bed bug problem a ‘scourge’ and a ‘public health problem’, asking for Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne to do something about it.

Whilst this is far from a new problem, it’s definitely getting worse at the moment.

According to the French health and safety agency ANSES, one in 10 households in France has had a bedbug infestation between 2017 and 2022.

During that time, there has been an emergency hotline established in Paris for advice on what to do, as well as other services to attempt to curb the problem.

Over here in the UK, there’s been a 65 percent increase in bed bugs from 2022 to 2023, according to pest-control company Rentokil.

These results are hardly too surprising, given recent factors.

Natalie Bungay, from the British Pest Control Association, said: "Reports of bed bug activity tend to increase in the summer as people travel more.

"The lack of travel during COVID-19 lockdowns meant bed bug issues were few and far between, so it's not surprising we're now seeing a rapid rise in call outs."

Worryingly, bed bugs are being reported at the moment by people who haven’t been on holiday, as well as by those who don’t have cars, suggesting that the bed bugs are well established on the public transport system.

As for whether the pests could be hopping over from France, Eurostar has said it is preparing ‘preventative treatment’ to mitigate the spreading of the bugs.

The problem has increased in recent years.
Getty Images/Stock Photo

In a statement to Sky News, a spokesperson said finding bed bugs on trains was ‘extremely rare’, adding: "The textile surfaces on all of our trains are cleaned thoroughly on a regular basis and this involves hot-water injection and extraction cleaning, which has proven highly effective in eliminating bugs."

Trains will be disinfected ‘on request or as soon as there is the slightest doubt’ bed bugs could be present, the company added.

However, Cain said that, in order to stop the spread, they’d need to treat trains on a ‘one journey, one clean’ basis.

He explained: "Otherwise you're using the same train to go backwards and forwards - and every time a new set of customers get on, then they potentially pick up the problems left by the previous one."

Still, he maintains that any infestation won’t be because of bed bugs hopping on their holidays, as ‘they are already here’.

That’s a jolly thought, isn’t it?

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images

Topics: UK News, World News, Animals, Weird, Health