How To Prevent Bedbugs (Especially If You’re Going To Paris)

By Tessa Dunthorne

10 months ago

Bedbugs could be hitching a ride to London via the Eurostar


Paris is being invaded by bedbugs at an alarming rate. Here’s how to avoid them in the first place. 

Paris is rife with bloodsucking insects. Social media is flooding with disturbing videos of critters crawling over metro seats. If you’re worried about bedbugs, you wouldn’t be alone. And, according to Reddit’s r/London community, city dwellers in our capital are noticing an uptick in bedbugs (especially after staying in hotels or Airbnb’s). It’s therefore increasingly important (sensible, even) to be prescient about any potential migratory critters.

How To Prevent And Avoid Bedbugs Getting Into Your Home

Take Precautions When Travelling – Particularly To Paris

Rugby fans beware – your jaunt to the World Cup might bring back more than lovely sporty memories.

If you’re planning a trip to Paris while their bed bug invasion rages on, you should take additional precautions. ‘Bedbugs can be brought into your home from your travels,’ says Kora Habinakova, sleep expert at Sleepseeker, ‘we’d recommend inspecting your hotel room upon arrival and always keeping luggage off the floor.’

If you’re worried about your luggage being the mode through which bedbugs spread between hotel and home, there are precautions you can take to ‘disinfect’. According to Apartment Therapy, spraying down suitcases with high percentage rubbing alcohol will help. ‘In lieu of rubbing alcohol, you can also use a garment hand steamer to steam your luggage, which will kill bedbugs and their eggs,’ says their expert.

Some other ways to avoid picking up bedbugs on your travels might be:

  • Opt to stand on the metro (if you are so able), to avoid picking up any bedbugs that might be lurking on seat fabrics.
  • Wash your outdoor clothes if you have used public transport if this is possible in any rented accommodation – and if not, seal up dirty clothing in a plastic liner in your suitcase, ready to be washed when you first arrive home.
  • Keep a change of clothing specifically for travel back, and keep this separate from the rest of your holiday clothes (and preferably in a closed plastic bag).

Introduce Some Hygiene Rules To Your Home

‘Bedbugs tend to thrive in urban environments,’ says Jeannette Hudson, furniture expert at Online Sofa Shop, ‘and may infect a sofa (or other furniture item) if they are carried in on clothing, bedding, or infested items.’

If bedbugs arrive in number in the UK, it is sensible to adopt the same rules for travel as you might abroad. Change and wash clothing when coming in from a commute (or outing) that requires public transport, and consider avoiding putting your bag on any upholstered or fabric furniture, including your bed. Any creepy crawlies that may have hitched a ride in your coat or on your rucksack will then hopefully not spread.

Regularly Clean Your Mattress

Bedbugs, if introduced, may hide on or in your mattress and around your bed frame, in addition to in creases near to where you sleep, as this provides them easy access to humans in the night.

While cleaning your mattress might slip your radar a bit compared to washing your bed sheets and upholstery, it’s vital to make sure you catch bedbugs early. Nick Small, small appliances expert at AO.com suggests that you should hoover your mattress as the same time as washing your bedding. ‘Cleaning your mattress eliminates mites, dust and other allergens that may be present in your bed,’ says Nick, ‘and you should use a crevice-style tool to hoover the mattress at the seam.’

Or Consider Changing Your Mattress (Or Bed Frame)

Mattress

© Unsplash

If you get bedbugs in your mattress, you may need to swap out your mattress anyway – but your choice of mattress can affect the probability of these pests thriving in your sleep area in the first place. ‘A memory foam mattress has fewer seams, folds and crevices versus other types,’ says Stephany Aubrey, sleep expert at Zinus, ‘and this makes it harder for bedbugs to find hiding spots within the mattress itself.’

In addition to this, a metal framed bed is less conducive to a thriving insect population. ‘The smooth, cool and robust surface of metal doesn’t offer an ideal place for the bugs to manifest, therefore deterring them,’ says Stephany.

Always Inspect Secondhand And Vintage Furniture

The rising popularity of secondhand and vintage furniture is an overwhelmingly positive thing for the planet – according to the EPA, roughly 9 million tons of furniture are tossed every year pointing to a vast problem with waste – but bringing used furniture into your home does bring an added risk of bedbugs. You should not stop buying secondhand, but with increasing numbers of bedbugs, it is more important than ever to inspect furniture thoroughly.

‘Thoroughly inspecting used furniture for signs of bedbugs is a simple step that can prevent the introduction of the mites to your living space in the first instance,’ says Jeannette.

Bedbugs FAQ

Where do bedbugs come from?

Bedbugs often come from infested areas and used furniture.

Can bedbug bites make you ill?

According to Phil Day, Pharmacy2U‘s Superintendent Pharmacist, bedbug bites are not usually dangerous, simply itchy and uncomfortable. ‘You’ll notice them as bites tend to appear in a cluster,’ says Phil, ‘and they typically appear as small, red welts, or raised bumps.’

They also appear differently on those with darker skin. ‘On black or brown skin,’ he continues, ‘they may look purple and may be harder to see.’

This does not, however, rule out the risk of an allergic reaction. If you experience a severe allergic reaction (difficulty breathing, or swelling around the neck and throat), call emergency services and seek medical attention immediately.

How are bedbugs and climate change linked?

Speaking to Vice, professor James Logan (of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) suggests there’s a definite link between climate change and bedbugs. ‘Most insects breed better when it’s warmer,’ he says, ‘so if there are more months of the year that are warmer, then there’s more chance of insects breeding quicker.’

Once I have bedbugs, how do I get rid of them?

It is important that, if you think you have bedbugs, you contact a pest control service near you. Bedbugs are famously a nuisance to remove from your space, so it’s best to bring in the experts.