Parisian bedbug infestation ‘could come to London' as Paris deputy mayor warns infestation is 'widespread'

4 October 2023, 12:31 | Updated: 11 October 2023, 09:58

A bedbug infestation has swept Paris.
A bedbug infestation has swept Paris. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

An expert has warned that bedbugs could potentially move to London as Transport for London has said it is "monitoring" its transport.

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A bedbug epidemic in Paris has sent waves of panic through the city, with reports claiming the critters have spread far and wide, from Metro seats to AirBnbs.

Deputy Mayor of Paris Emmanuel Gregoire said the infestation was “widespread” as he dressed the issue.

“You have to understand that in reality no one is safe, obviously there are risk factors but in reality, you can catch bedbugs anywhere and bring them home,” Mr Gregoire said.

Official figures suggest that one in 10 flat residents have experienced bedbugs in the last five years.

Despite these figures, a rise in bedbugs is something that tends to occur every late summer - due to people returning from holidays throughout the summer months and picking up the insects on their luggage.

But now fears have emerged the blood-sucking bugs could spread to London, with many worried London transport could invaded.

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An expert has warned the critters could survive the journey from Paris to London.
An expert has warned the critters could survive the journey from Paris to London. Picture: Alamy

The fear has been escalated in part due to the fact the invasion has coincided with Paris fashion week - an event that people all across the world travel to Paris for.

As one wrote on X: “How close does the eurostar get to the Paris metro…I’m on a train and I’m like wondering how long bed bugs live for.”

When asked whether the infestation could survive a journey to London, an expert from Bed Bugs Ltd told The Independent: “Easily, yes, without a shadow of a doubt. I have known people go on day trips to Paris, not even staying in hotels or other high-risk activities, and come back with them. Paris has been a popular link for the last six years.”

The bites can show as red or purple.
The bites can show as red or purple. Picture: Alamy

How long do bedbugs live

Bedbugs are tiny insects that often attach themselves to furniture and beddings.

The critters are renowned for being difficult to eradicate, have an average lifespan of 4-6 months and often attach themselves to luggage.

While the creepy critters aren’t dangerous, except in rare cases, they can cause itchy bites and sometimes rashes.

Bedbugs prefer to remain inside, as cold weather can kill them, but a drop in temperature can cause them to go into hibernation.

How to spot if you have bedbugs

You can often spot bedbugs by checking your skin for bites, as well as red or blown spots on beddings or furniture. Bites may present as red or purple in colour.

Bites will often show on body parts exposed while sleeping, such as the neck, face and arms.

Red spots may be visible on bedding as a result of blood from being bitten or the bugs being squashed. Brown spots may indicate bedbug poo, according to NHS guidelines.

Many have been left concerned the infestation could spread to London.
Many have been left concerned the infestation could spread to London. Picture: Alamy

How to treat bedbug bites

Bedbugs typically clear on their own but may require additional treatment in some cases.

Placing a cool, clean, damp cloth on the affected area can help with swelling an itching and it is crucial to avoid scratching any bites to prevent potential infections.

A TfL spokesman said in a statement to The Independent: “We are not aware of any outbreaks in London, but we will monitor our network and continue our rigorous and thorough cleaning measures which have been proven to keep both the interior and exterior of our trains clean.

“We are committed to providing a clean and safe environment on the Tube for our customers and staff, and we would like to reassure our customers that we continue to maintain our already high standards of cleanliness, so our staff and customers can use the network safely and with confidence.”

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