How do you get rid of bedbugs? The best advice as the UK braces for infestation

Is Paris infested with bedbugs? Sightings on trains see officials urge action …
Euronews - Travel / VideoElephant

People are freaking out about an infestation of bedbugs in Paris.

The horrible insects have been spotted on public transport, hotels and thanks to the proximity to London via the Eurostar, people are now concerned they could come to England too - the insects have also quickly become a meme .

They are not dangerous except in very rare cases, but cause itchy bites and sometimes rashes so people aren't thrilled about the prospect of them coming to the UK.

Bedbugs can be present in mattresses but also in clothes and luggage and come out at night to feed on human blood. They also often cause psychological distress, sleeping issues, anxiety and depression. While the pests are not known for carrying diseases, they can cause skin irritation.

So what should you do if bedbugs come for you?

The NHS recommends washing affected bedding and clothes on a 60C wash and tumble drying for at least 30 minutes, or putting it in a plastic bag in the freezer for three or four days and cleaning and hoovering because they hide in clutter and crevices, but even doing so might not get rid of the problem completely.

They say check secondhand furniture and luggage you have brought from affected areas as they can conceal bugs too.

People also recommend calling in specialised experts to deal with the problem by spraying material around your house that will kill the insects.

How likely is an infestation in the UK? One bedbug expert from Bed Bugs Ltd, based in London, says the creatures are already here but could even increase in numbers with the Paris epidemic.

The Independent asked David Cain, founder and MD of Bed Bugs LTD and a qualified microbiologist, whether the bugs could survive the journey.

He said: “Easily, yes, without a shadow of a doubt. I have known people go on daytrips 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.

“Business is already booming I started doing this in 2005 when bedbugs were rare and obscure but not anymore. If everyone had listened to me in 2006 and started a public education campaign this wouldn’t be happening.

“They don’t know and check when you travel you don’t get them. Check your home and you will never take them to the office, the cinema, you don’t take them to doctor’s surgery.”

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