Concerns over bedbugs are more pressing with France in the throes of hosting the Rugby World Cup
Concerns over bedbugs are more pressing with France in the throes of hosting the Rugby World Cup. AFP News

Bedbugs have reportedly begun to make their presence felt in London and Mayor Sadiq Khan thinks it is a real source of concern.

A video showing a bedbug on a passenger's leg on the London Underground's Victoria Line has gone viral on social media with more than 1 million views. Such videos have caused panic among residents of London.

"Minding my own business on the Victoria line, a f*****g bedbug is on my leg," the man wrote in the caption, along with the video of the bedbug latching onto his trousers.

"Said he'd got a great deal on the Eurostar and wondered if I could take him home. No!! Sort it out, Transport for London," he added. Several Londoners responder to the viral video expressing concerns and fears about a possible infestation.

"That's crazy because they're mainly nocturnal and come out at like 3am and anaesthetise you, that one looks like it's feasted 100 times already and is browsing," commented one X user.

Another questioned whether London authorities are doing enough to prevent an infestation. "All jokes aside ... @MayorofLondon so what's going to be done about this 'beg bug pandemic' you knew it was incoming so please explain what procedures have been put in place ?! And how your [sic] going to support the already struggling Londoners," the user asked.

Bedbugs are parasitic insects that feed on blood and are mostly active in the dark at night. Experts warn that the bugs should be taken seriously, even if they are not life-threatening to humans.

Over the last few weeks, they have been reported in schools, trains, hospitals, and cinemas in Paris. In a recent interview with PoliticsJOE, Khan assured that the authorities are taking appropriate steps to keep the city bedbug-free.

Khan said: "I know people are worried the bugs in Paris could cause a problem in London, and I've been in contact with TfL last week and this weekend, taking steps to ensure we don't have that problem.

"Regular cleaning of tubes and buses, and I'm talking to the Eurostar as well, we have one of the best regimes for cleaning our assets... for a variety of reasons, we don't think those issues will arise in London, but there will be no complacency from TfL," he added.

Bedbugs are oval-shaped and very flat. They can be up to 5mm long, and their colour can vary between dark yellow, red, or brown.

Bedbugs had largely disappeared by the 1950s. However, they began to reappear in the last few decades. They spread to other places by attaching themselves to clothes or luggage. Increased trade, travel, tourism, and immigration are some of the factors that have led to the spread of these small insects.

The UK witnessed a 65 per cent increase in bedbug infestations between 2022 and 2023. Experts believe that these bugs are also becoming resistant to insecticides.

A study published in PLOS ONE by scientists from Sydney University in 2016 claimed that bedbugs have been becoming resistant to insecticides. The good news is that bed bugs do not carry any diseases that could harm humans.

How do I know if I have bedbugs?

According to NHS Choices, you can suspect your house is infested if you see the following signs: Unexplained skin rashes or skin bumps

Black spots or blood spots on your sheets. This could be bed bug faeces or blood from the bed bugs that you may have squashed after rolling over in your sleep.

There is an unpleasant, musty scent in the room as adult bedbugs produce this odour when they are disturbed. You will be able to smell it if you have a large infestation. You can also look for mottled shells that bedbugs may have shed.