Bed bug scare at government hub

Pest control experts summoned to Canary Wharf following infestation concerns
10 South Colonnade Photo: Government Property Unit

By Jim Dunton

02 Feb 2024

A government hub in east London that is the base for around 6,000 officials – including the UK Health Security Agency – has become the focus of a bed-bug scare.

Pest control experts were called to the 10 South Colonnade building at Canary Wharf late on Wednesday after concerns were raised about a potential infestation at the 11-storey building, which also hosts officials from the Ministry of Justice and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

The bed-bug alert follows fears that London will follow Paris in being hit by wave of the blood-sucking parasites. Trains, hospitals, schools and cinemas in the French capital have been affected over the past year.

Government Property Agency advisory notices at 10 South Colonnade informed staff that investigations would be concentrated on part of the building’s fourth floor, with responders using a specially-trained dog to identify bed bugs ahead of treatment procedures.

A government spokesperson said investigations were conducted overnight on Wednesday and did not affect the ability of staff to work in the building yesterday.

“A treatment was applied to a small section of the office outside of working hours after concerns were raised,” they said.

“A subsequent inspection found no evidence of infestation. We will continue to monitor the building and take appropriate action.”

The NHS cautions that it is “very difficult” for individuals to get rid of bed bugs from the home because of the difficulty of finding the 5mm-long creatures and their resistance to some insecticides. It advises contacting council pest-control services or other providers.

In October, pest control specialist Rentokil said there had been a 32% rise in enquiries about bed bugs in the UK in the first nine months of the year, following reports of infestations in France.

The government formally opened the 10 South Colonnade hub in 2018 as part of the first wave of the hubs programme.

It has a 15-year lease on the 1990s building, which was previously occupied by Barclays Bank.

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HR Property & Estates
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