Bedbugs are a public health problem, and they must be reported,” Paris authorities requested from the government on Thursday, September 28, to address the issue of bedbugs after a “major comeback” of this parasitic species, with sightings in cinemas, high-speed trains, and the Paris subway.
Many public places in the Paris region have reported the presence of these parasites in recent weeks. Reports have flowed regarding their presence in trains, cinemas, and libraries, as reported by “Le Parisien” newspaper. The Paris City Council has urged the state to take public action, especially before the arrival of millions of tourists for the Olympics next year.
Emmanuel Gregoir, the First Deputy Mayor of Paris, called for urgent meetings among all relevant authorities to devise an action plan to deal with this scourge.
In response to this request, Transport Minister Clement Beaune wrote on the social network X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday, “I will meet with transport operators next week to inform them of the measures taken and to take further measures to reassure and protect passengers.”
This increase in bedbugs in the capital and major cities in France is not new; bedbugs, which resurfaced in the 1990s, have infested more than one in ten homes in France in recent years. Eliminating them has cost French families €230 million annually between 2017 and 2022, according to a recent report from the National Health Security Agency.
Insect specialist Jean-Michel Berenger explains that “the number of infestations by these tiny insects the size of an apple seed decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic because they do not move on their own but use people’s belongings. They travel in suitcases or luggage. With the resumption of travel and tourism, the number of infestations has increased. September and October are the peak months.”
However, he points out that “there is nothing new about what is happening today. In the past, bedbugs were found in trains and cinemas. But social media helps generate buzz and shed light on this phenomenon.”
The specialist notes that “bedbugs prefer dark places. For example, the cinema is an ideal living place for bedbugs because they can bite 24 hours a day.”
Frederic Toreil, the technical director of a specialized pest control company, confirms “it is no longer a matter of cleanliness. Bedbugs can be brought into the home even after spending a night in a hotel or hostel. This is enough to infest an entire house, considering that bedbugs can lay up to 500 eggs per year and can live for up to 12 months without eating if humidity and temperature conditions are good.”
He explains that it is possible to eliminate this parasite “depending on its development stage, density, and spread, and then the appropriate protocol is chosen.”
Regarding the best protection methods, Toreil advises “placing luggage in a plastic bag or using mosquito repellent spray in bags. After the trip, it is possible to wash laundry at 60 degrees Celsius or freeze it for three days.”