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Why the Bed Bug Plague Invading Paris is Not A Hygiene Issue

When you think about Paris, usually, the first thing that springs to mind is romance, but currently, that’s not the case. The words on everyone’s lips right now are bed bugs.

Yep, these pesky little creatures have invaded the City of Lights with a bigger splash than the models when they hit the catwalk for Paris Fashion Week earlier this month. 

Talk about timing, these fashion-conscious bugs turned up just in time to see the latest in haute couture.

But before you start cancelling your trip to Paris or panicking about the hygiene issue in the city, I want to put your mind at rest.

The bed bug plague invading Paris right now is not down to a hygiene problem. In fact, according to Bed Bug Insider, Bed Bugs are attracted to humans and not dirt.

Why is there a bed bug plague invading Paris?

Let me put this in perspective for you. In the same way, as everyone used to think nits only invaded dirty hair and in reality, it was actually any hair type, well this is the same.

Bed bugs love bodies, any bodies, not just the dirty ones. The more bodies, the better, and as Paris is a tourist hotspot, the bed bugs are having a field day. 

Especially as Paris recently nabbed the number two spot on the World’s 10 Best Cities of 2024 report from Resonance’s annual ranking.

In a recent interview, a spokesperson for Resonance said, “The city remains the most visited on the planet, with 44 million visitors last year.”

With those sorts of stats, Paris is a feeding ground for bed bugs, but it has nothing to do with cleanliness or hygiene.

The rise of the bed bug is not a new phenomenon

According to data from the Parisian Health Department, reports of bed bug cases have risen by 30% in the last two years alone. This is not an isolated incident; historical records indicate periodic surges in bed bug infestations dating back to the early 20th century. 

During the post-war era, the use of potent insecticides like DDT led to a temporary decline in bed bug occurrences. However, with the phasing out of such chemicals due to environmental concerns, the city has witnessed a resurgence.

ANSES, the French health and safety agency, reported that 11% of French households had been infested by bed bugs between 2017 and 2022.

Where are bed bugs generally found?

Think of your average bed bug as a miniature vampire, as they love blood. A good night out for them is finding a nice, comfy mattress with a juicy human blissfully unaware to bite into.

They tend to hang out in bedframes and mattresses but can also hide inside clothes, suitcases, shoes, etc.

They don’t require a passport to travel, preferring instead to be a stowaway, so you’ll need to be vigilant when you travel.

And as they love people and crowds, you’ll find them on buses, trains, and even planes. They hitch a ride in the seams of seats and in luggage compartments.

You can also find them in workspaces and offices. Remember, these bugs aren’t clocking in 9-to-5, and, they love things like office chairs, cubicles, and communal spaces.

And if you’re out shopping, be warned because fitting rooms, upholstered chairs, and even the racks of clothes can be a haven for bed bugs.

Where are there reported incidents of bed bugs in Paris?

In Paris, public transport has been rife, with the Metro having its share of bed bug sightings, particularly on certain lines that go through heavily populated areas.

Museums and theatres have also had isolated reports. These are less common but worth being cautious about.

Several hotels in popular tourist districts have reported infestations, and some travellers have reported bed bug issues in their rented Parisian apartments.

How do I know if I have bed bugs in my room?

One of the most obvious signs of a bed bug infestation is the appearance of red, itchy bites on your skin.

Another telltale sign is the presence of blood spots on your bedding, mattresses, or walls.

Because as bed bugs grow, they shed their skin, leaving behind a translucent shell, which is another indicator that you’ve had a visit from them.

Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed, measuring approximately 5-7 mm long.

They have a reddish-brown colour, which becomes even redder after they’ve had a good feed on some human flesh.

But also be on the lookout for the eggs, which are tiny, white, and roughly the size of a pinhead.

How to avoid an attack of the bed bugs

As with many things, prevention is better than cure, and there are a few things you can do to avoid getting bed bugs.

Before you even pack your bags, it’s crucial to research your accommodation options. Reading recent reviews that specifically mention cleanliness or bed bugs can give you an idea of what to expect. 

When it comes to packing, consider using sealable plastic bags for your clothes. You might also want to pack a small amount of travel-sized detergent, just in case you need to do some emergency laundry during your trip.

Upon Arrival at Your Destination

The first thing you should do when you arrive at your accommodation is to inspect your room. Don’t just check the bed; look beyond it.

Bed bugs can also hide behind picture frames, in the seams of chairs, and even in the folds of curtains. Using a flashlight or torch can help you see in dark corners and seams where bed bugs may be hiding. 

Once you’ve ensured the room is bug-free, it’s time to secure your belongings. Use a luggage rack to keep your bags off the floor. Metal ones are preferable, as bed bugs have a harder time climbing metal surfaces. 

If you’re using the closet or wardrobe, inspect it thoroughly before placing your clothes inside.

During Your Stay

Try to maintain a “clean zone” to minimize the risk of bed bugs. Make it a habit to inspect your bed and luggage each day. If you suspect you’ve been in an area that might be infested, wash your clothes in hot water as soon as possible. 

When using public transport or visiting theatres and museums, keep your bags on your lap or place them in areas less likely to harbour bed bugs. 

Always check your seat before settling in, and keep your belongings close to you.

Before Heading Home

Before you pack up to leave, give your belongings one final inspection for any signs of bed bugs.

If you have any doubts, use plastic bags to seal items, especially those you suspect might be contaminated. It will help prevent any unwanted bed bugs from joining you on your return journey.

Once You’re Back Home

When you get home, it’s advisable to unpack your belongings outside or in the garage to avoid bringing any potential bed bugs into your home.

Wash all your travel clothes in hot water immediately and consider a hot tumble dry for good measure. Before storing your luggage, give it a thorough vacuuming to catch any stragglers.

By taking these precautions, you can significantly reduce the risk of encountering bed bugs during your travels.

It might seem like a lot, but a little vigilance can go a long way in ensuring you bring back only good memories from your trip, not unwanted pests.

What to do if you find bed bugs

First of all, don’t panic. Bed bugs are treatable. Although they don’t transmit disease, they aren’t something you want hanging around in your home.

Start by isolating the infested items to prevent the bugs from spreading to other areas. While there are DIY treatments available, they can often be ineffective. It’s usually best to consult a professional pest control service for treatment.

Here in France, bed bugs have become more and more immune to the various treatments available. And whilst the use of heavy-duty chemicals is effective, it requires calling in the experts, which can be costly.

The best non-chemical way to deal with an infestation is to try either dry heat treatment or freezing.

With the latter, it’s great for small items such as clothes, whereas with the dry heat, you can do a whole room.

Is it safe to travel to Paris during this bed bug infestation?

Yes, it is still safe to travel to Paris during this time. There isn’t any directive from government sources saying it is unsafe to travel.

If you’re worried about bed bugs, the best thing to do is contact your hotel to ask about bed bug prevention measures and if they’ve had any reported issues from guests.

The post Why the Bed Bug Plague Invading Paris is Not A Hygiene Issue appeared first on Life in Rural France.

This post first appeared on Life In Rural France, please read the originial post: here

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Why the Bed Bug Plague Invading Paris is Not A Hygiene Issue


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