Bedbug Infestations Increase in the UK: Expert Explains the Causes and Prevention

Bedbug infestations in the UK have seen a significant rise of 65 percent as unsuspecting individuals bring home items that may be infested with these small insects. Bedbugs can hide in various places, including bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, walls, and wallpaper. Signs of an infestation include bites on the body, blood spots on bedding, and small brown spots on furniture, which are left behind by the bugs.

According to Professor James Logan from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the surge in infestations could be attributed to the purchase of second-hand furniture and the resurgence of travel and hotel stays since the COVID-19 pandemic. He also mentioned that increased tourism, travel, and climate change may have contributed to the dramatic increase in bedbug infestations.

There is growing concern that bedbugs are becoming resistant to insecticides, posing a challenge for accommodation providers. Prof. Logan explained that hotels can incur costs exceeding £20,000 to eliminate bedbug infestations, as pest control experts often need to make multiple visits due to the treatments not always being effective initially.

Instances of bedbug infestations have been reported by holidaymakers in America as well, with a video shared on TikTok showing infected bites while on vacation in Colorado.

When it comes to preventing bedbug infestations, experts recommend being vigilant while traveling and checking for signs of infestations in accommodations. It is important to look out for bites on the skin, blood speckles on bedding, and small brown spots on furniture. Bedbugs are primarily active during nighttime when people are asleep, attracted by the carbon dioxide emitted through breathing.

If an infestation is suspected, swift action is necessary. The most effective way to eliminate bedbugs is through heat treatment, where temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius for about 90 minutes can eradicate the problem. Washing bedding and clothing in hot water and using a hot setting on the dryer can also help eliminate bedbugs. For treating bedbug bites, applying something cool to the affected area can alleviate itching and swelling. It is crucial to keep the area clean and avoid scratching to prevent infection. Mild steroid creams and antihistamines can be used in consultation with a pharmacist to alleviate discomfort caused by bedbug bites.

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