News of the World: New Bedbug Horror Facing England

by nobugsonme on September 30, 2007 · 7 comments

in bed bug epidemic, bed bugs, england, journalists, northern ireland, scotland, spread of bed bugs, united kingdom

News of the World covered bed bugs this week. The article comes under the banner “New Bedbug Horror Facing England,” and below a photo of a Titanic-like bed bug floating through a sea of white carpeting fibers:

bed bug

(Photo by News of the World)

It is entitled, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers!”

NOTW journalist Sophy Ridge quotes David Cain (who has participated in our Forums) as saying that his calls for bed bugs are up 500% compared with last year’s calls.


Rentokil boss Savvas Othon said: “Outbreaks are on the rise. The number of people travelling and the current warm UK temperatures are helping the bugs to spread and thrive.

“You can easily pick them up on buses, in airport lounges and from other people’s dry cleaning. Even car boot sales make it worse as people buy furniture which may already be infested.”

Experts advise vacuuming mattresses and cleaning regularly to keep the bugs at bay. But if you’ve got them, there’s only one thing for it.

Who you gonna call? …pest busters.

(Car boot sales are “flea markets” in the US.)

This article is bound to reach even more people who have not heard of bed bugs. Unfortunately, NOTW is, as those not familiar with it can see, a fairly sensationalist tabloid. I hope that people in the UK will nevertheless seriously consider the facts contained in this story, and will consider being more cautious about used items, and also consider pressuring their government to take this issue seriously.

There is certainly no need to panic: I still use dry cleaners and sit on subway trains (gasp!) though the NYC epidemic is surely as bad as that in London. However, bed bugs are surely being spread in all these ways and more. Most people don’t consider this until they have them; those who do fear getting them over and over, since the rest of the world seems completely oblivious.

Articles in the popular press are a good way to spread the word. Hopefully this article will help start more conversations about bed bugs in the UK.

Yes, I said UK: despite the NOTW’s banner referencing “England,” the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish elsewhere in the UK (as well as their neighbors in the Republic of Ireland) are also battling bed bugs.

1 nobugsonme October 1, 2007 at 3:46 am

See also: the Daily Mail

2 lieutenantdan October 1, 2007 at 10:49 am

Journalist should be reporting on bed bugs constantly! We are in a major health crisis and very little is being done about this and this epidemic will become so bad that it will be too late if it is not already too late. If the media bombards us with reporting then our political leaders will be forced into dealing with the situation. The media has a chance to help the public with this. Good God wake up journalists! This country has not had a bed bug problem in fifty years or more. I am sorry but is this not big news? Remeber that as of now entomologists seem to think that bed bugs do not spread disease but would they bet their life savings on that? The way that bed bugs are changing as in their build up of pesticide resistance it may be possible that they may eventually spread disease if they are not already. I have not been able to find an explanation that a regular person can understand as to how bed bugs are not able to spread disease. All that I see is occasional reporting stating the same facts along with the same people interviewed.
I will quote Doctor Miller “Someday we all may be living with bed bugs.”

3 nyjammin October 1, 2007 at 7:14 pm

Lt.Dan: How true you are. But, what do the journalists hafta report on? They see no gain in reporting about this. Most people who are not affected by this do not even care or know what, in fact, a big deal this really is. Nothing will be done unless the landlords, hotels, etc. complain and get together and/or lose money. The bigs guys are gonna hafta be effected for anything to be done. There have been journalists who went through their own bb saga and reported on it. Bedbugs have been in the news as people sue hotels and universities for compensation. But, this is falling on deaf ears. When will America wake up?

4 Andy December 16, 2008 at 12:22 am

Why does all these people affected with this problem not get waterbeds, we got 99% motionless mudbed with a zip of top so we can wash it.
Our local waterbed shop was fitting a waterbed to a truck the day we went in to buy our own,the guy said the range they used in the truck did not require a heater and was only around 10 stone in weight..

5 nobugsonme December 16, 2008 at 1:30 am


The name “bed bug” is really misleading, since this pest can take up residence in mattresses, pillows, bed frames, floors, walls, and furniture, among other places.

Your waterbed frame would surely be susceptible, but bed bugs can live elsewhere in the home and either crawl onto the bed and bite you, or bite you as you sit in a chair.

6 Andy December 16, 2008 at 12:22 pm

Our waterbed does not require a frame, its got foam retaining walls and every thing i lie on as i said can be washed. I myself also use latex foam pillows.
Also with more and more households having wooden floor and leather suites its hard to see what else we can do to combat this.

7 nobugsonme December 16, 2008 at 2:03 pm

Everything you lie on is washable, but I am inclined to think some parts of the contraption between you and the floor are not washable. And those parts could harbor bed bugs.

I am not anti-waterbed, but my point stands. Replacing the type of bed will not mean bed bugs cannot infest your home.

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