Travellers warned over bed bug ‘epidemic’

Bed bugs have been around for Millenia, however, the threat to travellers is becoming worse as they are becoming increasing resistant to High Street bought insecticides.

Experts believe that a new strain of bed bugs that are resistant to some of the cheaper, less potent insecticides pose a threat to holidaymakers. “They have been bad for some time here in the US,” said Michael Potter, a professor of entomology – the study of insects and their relationship to humans – at the University of Kentucky. “In Europe and the UK it has been getting progressively worse.”

The debate is still out on how these new bed bugs have spread. One theory, and the most dominant, is that it’s due to the increase travel of a larger proportion of the population that travel. Travellers can not only harbour bed bugs on their bodies but also their luggage- this makes it incredibly easy for bed bugs to travel large distances. Even airline passengers are not immune. In 2017, there was a case of a Canadian family bitten by bed bugs on a British Airways flight from Vancouver to London. The following year a British Airways flight from Heathrow to Ghana was grounded when the crew refused to fly on a heavily infested aircraft.

There are precautions that can be taken by travellers –

  • On arriving at a hotel it is advisable to check the bed thoroughly, lifting up each corner of the mattress, inspecting seams and the bed frame itself.
  • Suitcases should not be thrown onto the bed or floor, because the bugs can climb inside and become unwelcome holiday souvenirs.
  • Wash clothing on a hot wash if an infestation is suspected

Whilst bed bugs are becoming resistant to some, less potent insecticides – there are still some companies producing and selling really effective products against bed bugs. For example Pest Expert have a wide range of bed bug killing products and they are nothing less than highly effective. The treatment kits, containing different products with different delivery methods are particularly effective.

So there is still is hope for consumers to treat bed bugs themselves.

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