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Bed bugs now 'effectively impossible to remove' and people forced to live with them - lecturer


Bed bug. Photo: Rentokill Ireland

Bed bug. Photo: Rentokill Ireland

Bed bug. Photo: Rentokill Ireland

Bed bugs are now so resistant to poison that entire communities have given up attempting to eradicate them are learning to live alongside them, experts have warned.

Dr Heather Lynch, a lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University, said she had discovered that residents in Govanhill in Glasgow had chosen to accept the insects after running out of ways to kill them.

Writing in The Conversation, which uses information and research backed by academics, Dr Lynch said some residents had taken the view that the best response is to learn to live ‘side-by -side’ with the insects and adapt.

She said: "The experience of people in Govanhill, is that once these insects become endemic they are effectively impossible to remove."

Dr Lynch said the area reflected the challenges and opportunities of 21st-century Europe.

She added: "Govanhill has become renowned in recent years for poor housing, poverty and crime - as well as for artists and vibrant community activists.

"And it faces major environmental issues, with constant rubbish dumping and infestations of bed bugs."

Dr Lynch said the area has seen ‘a significant rise’ in bed bugs similar to international parts of New York, Australia, China and France.

However, there are few signs of this tackling the problem, because bed bugs can lie dormant for extensive periods.

Dr Lynch described how one resident felt ashamed and horrified by the bugs, but eventually accepted ‘reluctantly’ that they may be the norm.

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She concluded that the residents who have learned to live with the bed bugs may be ahead of the curve as they are adapting to their environments, rather than using environmentally harmful products.

Despite the efforts of Glasgow City Council, the academic said the problem may be too big to solve.

She added: "Having talked to many in the area, I have found this trajectory is common.

"Many people who have come to terms with the fact that you can't beat bugs resign themselves to living with them instead."

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