Paris can’t catch a break: widespread protests, garbage men strike, race riots and looting, and now a bedbug infestation.
A mere 10 months before the opening of the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, the French capital is battling an invasion of bedbugs.
French authorities want to make sure the bedbugs don’t bite during the games and have started a drive to exterminate the pests.
Footage of the insects crawling around in high-speed trains and the Paris metro are widespread in social media, and many news articles reveal bedbugs in cinemas and even Charles de Gaulle airport.
The alarm has reached the highest levels of government.
The tiny, but visible to the naked eye pest is everywhere. Hiding in the cloth of mattresses and curtains, but also under the floorboards and behind wallpaper.
Like minuscule vampires, they come out at night to feed on human blood.
“‘The state urgently needs to put an action plan in place against this scourge as France is preparing to welcome the Olympic and Paralympic games in 2024’, the capital’s deputy mayor, Emmanuel Gregoire, said in a letter to Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne this week.
Transport Minister Clement Beaune said on Friday he will discuss the issue with transport operators next week.”
To come into Paris from Nice has turned into a nightmare for French citizen Sophie Ruscica. She told Reuters she inspected her seat closely for any signs of the insects.
“‘It stressed me out. I had to take the train and I wondered whether I would find bedbugs. But then again, one can find them in cinemas and just about everywhere’, she said.
[…] ‘Everyone is panicking’, pest control store manager Sacha Krief said. ‘People can really get depressed, even paranoid over it’.”
A report from July by health agency Anses alerted that between the years of 2017 and 2022, bedbugs had infested more than one in ten French households.
CBS News reported:
“The tiny pests were first reported in hotels and vacation rental apartments across the city during the summer. Then there were sightings in movie theaters and, in recent days, there have even been reports of bedbugs crawling around on seats in both national high-speed trains and the Paris Metro system.
[…] Horrified train passengers have shared videos of the insects on social media, prompting many travelers to pay extra attention before they sit down or drop fabric bags or coats on the floor at their feet. One person told followers that passengers were ‘panicking’ when they realized there were bedbugs in the train carriage, and they couldn’t get off until the next station.”
Pest control companies in Paris companies have been overwhelmed in recent weeks. It costs Parisians an average of $500 to have their homes treated.
Paris authorities are very worried about the risk for visitors to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2024.
“Exterminators say it’s vital to act quickly if you spot bedbugs. All clothes and bedlinens that could be infected should be placed in garbage bags and closed tight, and then it should all be laundered on a high temperature setting.
Experts stress that hygiene has nothing to do with the spread of bedbugs — rather their high fertility rate means that once they find somewhere to eat and reproduce, they spread rapidly.”
Health authorities say that an increase in tourism, and greater resistance of the bugs to insecticides are the causes for the present infestation.