Mother has to sleep in her bath to escape bedbug infestation

  • Tegan Dare, 27, from Southampton says thousands of bed bugs have infested her council house

A mother-of-two has been forced to sleep in the bath because her council house is crawling with bedbugs. 

Tegan Dare, 27, from Southampton, has said the infestation has become so bad over the past three years that her children, Grace, seven, and Olly, four, have been left scarred and bloody from itching the bites.   

The retail worker herself has even resorted to ‘itching with knives’ and says she is at her wits end and ready to ‘set fire’ to the property. 

Ms Dare is furious that Southampton City Council have refused to relocate her, despite her pleas. 

Tegan Dare, 27 from Southampton who is at her wit's end with her bedbug infestation

Ms Dare's children Grace, seven, and Olly, four, who have been left scarred and bloody from all of the bites

Ms Dare's bed bug bites which have scabbed and left scars after she has resorted to 'itching with knives'

Her inflamed children's bedbug bites. The family first moved into the council house in December 2020, but have been plagued by the critters ever since

She first moved into the property in December 2020, but even now three years and multiple pest control treatments later the residence is still being plagued by the critters.  

She has now ripped out wallpaper, carpet, skirting boards and furniture so the bugs have nowhere to hide. 

Ms Dare said: ‘We are sore from head to tail due to so many sleepless nights being eaten by the bedbugs.

‘My children love to go swimming and when I took them to the pool people made comments about all the red marks on their bodies saying things like ‘I hope that’s not contagious’ – it’s horrible.

‘Our bodies are so scarred from all the bites, I don’t think I will be able to wear a dress ever again.

‘Our mental and physical health is in tatters. We have had no support from the council, and it feels like they aren’t concerned with the welfare of my children.

‘We have been staying with family just to get away from that place. I have stayed up night after night killing bedbugs around my children.

‘If it was up to me – I would have the place set on fire.

‘My electric bill is also through the roof as we have to wash our clothes very hot to kill the bugs.’

Olly's arm covered in bites. Ms Dare has said that her children are being ostracized over people's fear that their bites are infectious

Bedbugs that were collected by Ms Dare from around the house

Grace and Olly asleep. Ms Dare has ripped out the wallpaper, carpet, skirting boards and furniture so the bugs have nowhere to hide

Bedbug bites. Ms Dare is furious at Southampton City Council as they have refused to move her despite the continued problems with the creatures

Bedbug bites. Ms Dare said her children have been itching so much that they are being left with scars all over their bodies

Ms Dare wants the council to move her.

‘It’s really bad and they are still making me stay in there’, she said.

‘They have been saying for months ‘just one more treatment’ but it’s never that.

‘I’m just asking for a studio flat, just somewhere with a roof over our head so I can keep my kids safe.

‘I’ve got nowhere else to live.

‘My kids are worried, they are itching and it hurts them so much. They are covered in scars now.

‘I saw the bedbugs the other night and there must have been thousands of them.

‘My daughter came up with a reaction to the bugs as well.’

Ms Dare added: ‘I’ve been itching with knives and forks, that’s how bad it’s been. Once you start itching you can’t stop.

‘It drives me insane.’

Squashed bedbugs on a window sill

Bedbug bites from the 'thousands' Ms Dare claims are in the property

In response to her claims, a council spokesperson said: ‘We sympathise with Ms Dare’s situation, and we have offered considerable support and advice over a long period of time to help tackle the issue at her home.

‘While bed bug treatment plans can vary depending on the severity of the infestation, a sustained and consistent approach, which relies on tenant cooperation and keeping to arranged appointments, is generally the most effective.

‘Following the two most recent treatments, our pest control team reported a significant improvement in the condition of Ms Dare’s home when they last visited on 3 November 2023 and a further, final, treatment is scheduled for this week.

‘We very much hope this resolves this issue, as only after all the treatments are carried out and the effectiveness of the work is determined would we consider alternative housing options.’

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