Bed bug outbreak hits British cities

The United Kingdom is dealing with a bed bug outbreak.

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The United Kingdom is dealing with an exponential increase in bed bug infestations this summer due to the brutal heat, according to experts.

At higher temperatures, the reproductive cycle of the bugs reduced from 18-21 days to eight or nine days, a bed bug exterminator told the Guardian.

“The problem is spread world wide since the late 1990s, and there is literally no country on the face of the planet that hasn’t had a bed bug problem,” David Cain of Bed Bugs Limited, told the British newspaper.

The reluctance to seek help because of the social stigma attached to bed bugs contributes to the problem, because many people do not have a physical reaction, they may not realize there is a contamination, according to the paper.

Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on blood and tend to be most active at night. Bed bug bites can cause skin rashes and allergic symptoms and have a psychological effect.


Tony Lewis, head of policy at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, said the ongoing bed bug presence in the united kingdom was worse in the summer with higher temperatures and people coming back from vacation with bed bugs in their luggage. “It doesn’t matter whether she has been staying in a five star hotel or a dingy B&B, the chance to be there bedbugs are equal,” he said.

Although bed bugs were common in the United Kingdom 100 years ago, they were mostly eradicated by the use of insecticides. Now, bed bugs have developed resistance to some chemical treatments.

“This insect has developed into the most efficient and adaptive hunter of human beings that we’ve probably ever had,” said Cain. “If the people are afraid of sharks, the answer is to stay out of the water. When it comes to bedbugs, the answer is always on the alert.”

A London woman had scratches on her arms and legs for about a month before she sought professional help, according to the paper.

Bed bugs can cause irritating bites.

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“I was waking up every morning with bites which I thought were from mosquitoes, though no one else was suffering. My boyfriend mentioned bedbugs, but I totally rejected. In my mind, bedbugs found in crusty backpackers hostels in other countries—I don’t think it could happen for us,” she told the telegraph.


When she finally lifted her mattress and found a handful of insects crawling, she broke down and wept. “I was completely repulsed and in a panic,” she said.

She is now in the middle of a 14-day program of the eradication and the monitoring, which consists of the washing of linen and clothes at 60 degrees, and a deep clean of the bedroom. Its partner office has been identified as a possible source.

Cain said: “Bed bugs can happen to anyone. … Many people think that a bed bugs with dirt, but the dirt has nothing to do with it.”

The insects are to be found in hotels around the world, but also in high-end locations such as the Waldorf Astoria in new york. Air India had to ground two of its aircraft in July, after the passengers reported to be covered in horrific bed bug bites after their flights.


Christopher Carbone is a reporter and news editor covering science and technology for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @christocarbone.

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