Southampton City Council has forked out more than £100k over the last two years to tackle a rising number of bed bug infestations.

In total, £103,724 has been spent on clearing the critters between November 1, 2021, and November 1, 2023, when the authority received 473 complaints.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request by show that between November 2021 and 2022, 205 complaints were made to the authority.

But during the same period the following year, 268 reports were made of infestations, a 31 per cent rise.

READ MORE: Southampton grandad wakes up to bed bugs crawling on bed

The council has since said it is working closely with housing officers to “understand the drivers of bedbug infestations locally in Southampton”.

But, Andy French who has been forced to strip his bed each week to try keep the creepy crawlies away said the figures are so high because not enough cleaning is done before council properties are occupied by new tenants.

He has been using bug spray on a weekly basis in an attempt to his Ventnor Court flat clean.

He told the Echo: “When I get my flat it was dirty. The council doesn’t clean up your place for when the next person comes in.

“I’m not a dirty person. They seem to think that it is dirty people that is letting in those bed bugs.

“I’m paranoid now because of these bed bugs. I know that I am not the only block of flats that is infested.

“You need to nip it in the bud before it gets worse.

“I got a letter yesterday saying if you get any more (bed bugs) you have to pay for them yourself.

“It is wrong. It is a council property. They have no choice but to do it properly but for whatever reason they are moving the goalposts.”

Daily Echo: Andy French. Andy French. (Image: Supplied)

But Southampton City Council says it has produced a bedbug information leaflet and an online webpage to ensure residents have access to information and advice.

A spokesperson said: “There are many factors which have led to an increase of Bedbug infestations, which we know are becoming more widely spread through people travelling from city to city.

“We know that Bedbugs cannot fly and must either crawl or be passively transported in clothing, luggage, furniture, books, or other objects where they hide.

“Where residents detect bed bugs in their homes, it’s really important they get advice immediately from either our Pest Control team or an alternative private company as soon as possible.

“Early action will be cheaper and easier to treat. Council tenants should also contact their Local Housing Office.

“We rely on residents to cooperate with the procedure, follow professional instructions, and allow access at the agreed appointment times.”

Advice on what to do if you get bed bugs can be found on the city council’s website.