Parisian bedbug infestation ‘real concern’ for London Sadiq Khan says, after ‘first critter spotted on tube’

10 October 2023, 08:39 | Updated: 11 October 2023, 09:59

The Mayor of London has addressed concerns over the Parisian bedbug invasion.
The Mayor of London has addressed concerns over the Parisian bedbug invasion. Picture: Alamy/X

By Jenny Medlicott

The threat of bedbugs infecting London transport is a “real source of concern” Sadiq Khan has said, after there was an alleged sighting in the underground.

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Bedbug panic hit London after reports emerged that Paris has been inundated with the creepy critters, leaving many in the capital concerned the creatures could cross waters.

Now Sadiq Khan has addressed Londoners’ fears amid two new alleged sightings of bedbugs in London and Manchester.

“This is a real source of concern. People are worried about these bugs in Paris causing a problem in London,” the Mayor of London told PoliticsJoe.

It comes after a video shared on TikTok on Sunday appeared to show one of the critters crawling on a passenger's leg on the London Underground.

Travelling on the Victoria Line, the TikTok user filmed a so-called bedbug crawling on their leg, accompanied by the caption: "It’s true, they’re thriving".

Meanwhile a commuter in Manchester also claimed to have spotted one of the critters on a bus on Monday. The bus company replied: "This is really concerning to see, and we do apologise for this."

Recent claims that the critters have developed a resistance to insecticides have only escalated panic in Paris and London.

Read more: Parisian bedbugs take on TfL: First sighting of critter crawling on London tube commuter's leg

Read more: French government hold emergency meeting as bedbug infestation fears spread to Algeria

But Mr Khan has reassured Londoners that he’s been in regular contact with TfL about the situation, ensuring public transport is regularly disinfected to thwart any potential infestations.

He continued: “I want to reassure those listening that TfL has the best regimes to clean our assets on a nightly basis.

“We are speaking to our friends in Paris to see if there are any lessons to be learnt but for a variety of reasons we don't think those issues will arise in London; but there is no complacency from TfL.”

And in other reassuring news for Londoners concerned about the alleged sighting, Adam Juson at the pest control company Merlin Environmental, has suggested the video 'showing a bedbug' could be misleading.

“It does look sort of like a bedbug but the video is not really good enough to ID from,” he told The Telegraph. “The bug is not mobile so this could be a remnant from a treatment or one that has got caught on the person’s clothes.

“We have found bedbugs on trains in the past so it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility but this looks wrong.”

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.

A TikTok appeared to show a bedbug on the tube.
A TikTok appeared to show a bedbug on the tube. Picture: TikTok
A photo shared on X claimed to show a bedbug on a Manchester bus.
A photo shared on X claimed to show a bedbug on a Manchester bus. Picture: X

A TfL spokesman said in a statement last week: “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.”

How to spot if you have bedbugs

You can often spot bedbugs by checking your skin for bites, as well as red or brown spots on bedding 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 bedbugs have defecated, according to NHS guidelines.

How to treat bedbug bites

Bedbug bites 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 and itching and it is crucial to avoid scratching any bites to prevent potential infections.