LONDON, November 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Ground breaking research by has brought new insight and previously unseen detail into the spread of bed bugs across London.

By mapping bed bug infestations on a highly localised level, using postcode sectors*, the company has been able to both confirm certain theories and discount others about how this pest is spreading geographically.

The survey suggests local authorities need to consider new methods to effectively tackle the problem as well as raising questions about why closely neighbouring areas show such markedly different levels of infestations. Including whether the underlying reasons are related to local authorities at all and whether external influences are responsible? Why, for example, does the data show such a spike in 2004? And why do there appear to be distinct 'hotspots' and 'corridors' running through London? managing director David Cain says: This is a real breakthrough in the fight against bed bugs. Mapping on this micro level has given us a hitherto unseen view of exactly how bed bugs are spreading across London.

Most interestingly, the research shows that in certain areas (i.e. postcode sectors) infestations have been effectively tackled, with reported numbers considerably reduced. In other areas the problem has remained roughly the same but in some areas the number of reported infestations has risen alarmingly.

Our research also dispels the myth that bed bugs are a universal problem in London but confirms that in certain areas the problem has reached epidemic proportions and that current control methods are simply not working. The big questions are 'why not?' and 'what can we do to address that?'

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Councils were asked to supply data showing the number of infestations reported to them over the last 5 years, by Postcode Sector*. The majority of Councils were able to comply with the request and the data has now been analysed and mapped.

The results show that, looked at on a macro-level e.g. by council or by postcode area e.g. SW or even by postcode district e.g. SW8 one receives a totally false picture of the problem.

Only when infestations are mapped on a micro-level such as Postcode sector e.g. SW8 5 does one get a clear and accurate picture of the problem. Across the Capital, we have identified numerous sectors showing large increases with many showing 300-400% year-on-year increases.

Cain continues:

Our investment in this research is a very real demonstration of our commitment to the fight against bed bugs and in helping local authorities to do the same. We are grateful for the support of so many councils in this endeavour, both for our willingness to fund this study and equally for our intention to share this information with all participating London councils at a conference on December 15th.

However, as Cain notes, the inability of certain councils to supply data means the picture is as yet incomplete:

It is disappointing that there is no standard method used by councils to record pest infestations. If there were, it would be a very simple matter to analyse and compare data and to show in precise detail those areas which most need addressing. Indeed, if bed bugs were a Notifiable pest then councils would be compelled to record and report infestations accurately and the problem could be tackled much more effectively.

Jonathan Peck of Killgerm Group, one of the two observers from the industry involved in the preparation of the recently published book from the WHO, Public health significance of urban pests, comments:

It is clear that the present infestation of bed bugs throughout Europe and North America are a major cause for concern. Unless we can resolve the problem in our major cities, we will be putting the clock back 100 years. The work carried out by Bed Bugs Limited has added significantly to our scientific evidence base.

Chief Executive Officer of the British Pest Control Association, Oliver Madge, adds:

We very much welcome this research and conference as an opportunity both to raise awareness of this growing problem and to proactively drive the industry forward in developing even more effective treatment methods in the future.


*Postcode Sectors are the first part of a postcode plus the first digit of the second part e.g. SE1 1. Dependent on density, this gives a map resolution of approximately half a mile.

At no stage did request either the last part of any postcodes or any other information which could identify any individual.

Additional Notes to Editors: is the leading bed bug control company in the UK and the only one concentrating solely on this particular pest.

The managing director, David Cain, is a leading authority on bed bugs and has appeared on national and local television and radio and in numerous press articles.

Our website includes more details of our services and our experience. Some of our past media coverage can be found on our Media Appearances page

For further details of the survey or the conference on 15th December, please contact Bed Bugs' Press Officer David New on +44(0)7954-582-588 or email If you would like to arrange an interview with David Cain, please email him at