Bedbug outbreak is sweeping Britain with cases hitting alarming number

Pest controllers are tackling an “alarming number” of bedbugs amid fears outbreaks in Paris are spreading to Britain.

Luton Borough Council has received a surge in the number of calls to deal with the creepy crawlies. “The pest control service is currently receiving an alarming number of bedbug jobs on a weekly basis,” the council said.

It has issued guidance on what people should do to prepare their homes for “treatment”. However, they warned there weren’t “limitless resources” to tackle the issue.

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The authority said beds must have been stripped, with bed covers placed into sealed bin liners and ideally stored in a bath. Wardrobes, drawers and bookcases should be emptied with contents placed in sealed bin liners.

All furniture should be pulled away from walls, with pictures and posters taken off to allow for inspection. Dee Patel, an entomologist, said lavender deterred bedbugs and advised washing at high temperatures, vacuuming often and freezing sheets, which stops the bugs from breeding.

“Lavender oil masks their scent pattern and they can’t cope with it,” he said.

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Natalie Bungay, from the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), said seasonal increases in numbers as more people travel during the summer months were not unusual.

“There was a dip during Covid-19 due to the lack of global travel taking place,” she said. “So any increase now could just be trends getting back to normal now that everybody is moving freely again.”

Cinemas, trains, hospitals and schools have all been overrun with bedbugs amid national panic over the issue in the French capital. It was revealed last night that the bedbug invasion has already hit as far as Manchester.

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A small insect was seen crawling on a bus window in the city this week, just days after a London Underground passenger spotted one on her leg. The sightings are sparking fears of an infestation in the UK.

A picture of a bug on the bus was uploaded to X with the caption: “Do something about this quickly.” FirstBus, who operates the public transport service, replied: “This is really concerning to see, and we do apologise for this.”

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