British Pest Control Association (BPCA) is encouraging householders to consult a pest professional if they are worried about a possible infestation.
The advice follows arrests in France after two men were allegedly scamming elderly people into paying thousands of euros for bed bug treatments they didn’t need.
A rise in bed bug infestations in Paris and across France in recent months has sparked major concerns throughout the country and further afield.
Bed bug fears hit the headlines in the UK during October, with many BPCA member companies subsequently reporting a major surge in call out requests, although the majority did not require any action.
Rentokil reported an increase of 196% for bed bugs in October this year compared to the same month in 2022, with only 65% resulting in confirmed bed bug activity.
Natalie Bungay, technical compliance manager at BPCA, said: “Not every call out for bed bugs will result in a positive identification of the pest and increased media attention can often lead to a high number of false call outs.
“Raising awareness is important, as bed bugs can spread quickly so the more people know about them and how to spot the signs, the faster infestations can be dealt with by a pest professional.
“But unfortunately, excess reporting does seem to have caused an abundance of caution and worry, and that leaves people susceptible to unscrupulous scammers, like those arrested in France.
“Pest control in the UK isn’t licensed or a protected term like it is in other countries. Anyone can call themselves a pest controller.”