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Fears of London bedbug infestation with commuters vowing 'never to sit on Tube', as Sadiq Khan says 'concern is real'
10 October 2023, 12:56 | Updated: 11 October 2023, 09:59
Fears are growing of a bedbug infestation in London, as some commuters vowed not to sit down on the Tube after reported sightings on the capital's transport network.
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Bedbugs have been reported across France, with many cases in Paris, sparking concerns that they could make the journey to the UK on the Eurostar.
Several videos posted to social media purported to show bedbugs crawling across seats on the Underground.
One TikTok user filmed a bedbug crawling on his leg and said: "It’s true, they’re thriving".
The jewellery business owner captioned the video, begging Transport for London (TfL) to "sort it out".
Other videos, supposedly of bedbugs, received pushback as commenters said the bugs in question were different species.
One person who posted a video said there would be "no more sitting down" for them on the Tube.
It comes as London mayor Sadiq Khan said the bedbugs were "a real concern" - days after TfL maintained it was not aware of any of the bugs on its network.
He said TfL was "taking steps" to prevent the insects spreading across the city on its services.
He told website PoliticsJoe: "This is a real source of concern. People are worried about these bugs in Paris causing a problem in London.
"I was in contact with TfL last week and this weekend. We're taking steps to make sure we don't have those problems in London, in relation to regular cleaning of the Tube and our buses.
Mr Khan said that he was confident that London would not suffer the same issues as Paris had.
Bedbugs feed on blood by biting people, creating wounds that can be itchy but do not usually cause other health problems.
The insects often live on furniture or bedding and can spread by being on clothes or luggage.
Luton Borough Council issued a statement on its website, saying it "does not have limitless resources to counter this pest".
It added: "This national bedbug problem has not missed Luton.
"The pest control service is currently receiving an alarming number of bedbug jobs on a weekly basis.
"Whilst the bedbug is not known to be a carrier of disease, the council does recognise the bedbug as being an obnoxious pest with which to have to share a home... successful treatment can be a lengthy process and the council does not have limitless resources."