Britain plagued by sharp rise in bed bugs as tourism recovers from pandemic slump

Travellers can carry the critters in their clothing and luggage and when a mating pair sets up home in a bed, they can breed thousands of eggs within weeks. It is also thought the pests are becoming resistant to insecticides, making it much harder to get rid of an infestation.

Infestations can have serious economic consequences for accommodation providers. Prof Logan added: “A hotel can be spending upwards of £20,000 to get rid of bed bugs. It’s hundreds of pounds just to get someone to come out and have a look during an infestation and it can be very costly because the treatments might not work the first time.”

One couple staying at the Cumbria Grand hotel in the Lake District in May were offered £1,500 compensation after they wrote to The Telegraph’s consumer champion Katie Morley, complaining about having suffered “hugely irritated bite marks”.

Chris Rickard, of Strathmore Hotel Group, which operates the venue, said “despite the best intentions and efforts of hotel owners and operators” incidents of bed bugs were “increasing at an exponential rate”.

He said: “High hotel occupancy levels coupled with climate change, is the ‘perfect storm’ with regards to these highly evasive pests.”

Butlins has also faced complaints from customers over the insects.

One, 21-year-old mother booked a £700 four-night stay at Butlin’s Minehead resort in Somerset for her son’s second birthday. During her stay in July, she said she was bitten more than 150 times and was forced to visit a GP after suffering an allergic reaction, according to reports.

Butlins apologised to the woman and ordered an investigation. It suggested there “was no evidence whatsoever to the existence of bed bugs in the accommodation”, although later confirmed it had fumigated the room.

American holiday lets have also struggled with the bloodsucking critters.

In a viral Tiktok video, one social media user shared images of the infected bites she suffered even after she carefully checked her room for the bugs, while on holiday in Colorado. In the video, large welts can be seen up and down her arms and neck as the potter explains that her friends had discovered the bugs under the buttons on the bed frame.

Previously the bugs have even ruined holidays before travellers make it to their hotels, grounding Air India flights in 2018 when they were discovered in plane seats. The airline apologised at the time and ordered an investigation.

A recent report by the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) found that 11pc of all French households had faced an outbreak of bed bugs between 2017- 2022, costing €1.4bn (£1.2bn) to exterminate.

The report found that one of the main reasons for the surge in the number of infestations was an increase in tourism but that there is no link between household income and bug outbreaks.

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