France’s capital city has been inundated with crime and civil unrest in recent years due to the nation’s permissive immigration policies. Ahead of the upcoming Paris Olympics, however, it is another type of invasion that is sparking concerns among officials.
Reports from across the city signal a troubling infestation of bedbugs, with social media posts showing the critters causing chaos aboard public transit and in other areas of the city.
Bedbugs are notoriously difficult to eradicate and thrive in crowded areas, which adds up to a serious issue for those tasked with getting rid of them before athletes and fans from around the world arrive in about nine months.
Bedbugs go where you go, and they have become a nightmare haunting France for weeks.
That's led to increasing anxiety in a nation that will host the Olympic Games in just over nine months — a prime venue for infestations. https://t.co/tnPJVqgmQ8
— The Associated Press (@AP) October 5, 2023
Following a meeting of various agencies led by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne last week, Transport Minister Clement Beaune initiated a strategy that involves disinfecting surfaces citywide and monitoring the situation for signs of local outbreaks.
Despite taking actions ostensibly designed to address a bedbug infestation, however, Beaune seemed to imply that evidence of a widespread problem have been overblown.
“There is no resurgence of cases,” he insisted in recent remarks to reporters.
Instead of posing an objective threat to residents and visitors, Beaune claimed that “bedbugs have infested the media.”
Nevertheless, the biting insects have long plagued France, where roughly 10% of all households had a bedbug infestation between 2017 and 2022. Now that there is a renewed focus on the subject, companies that specialize in treating such outbreaks say they have seen a spike in business.
“Now, as soon as they spot a bite, they don’t ask themselves whether it really comes from bedbugs or not,” explained one pest exterminator.
Another industry insider said that his company has received “dozens and dozens” of phone calls recently, describing the trend as unusual since most French citizens had previously taken the presence of bedbugs in stride.
Since these bugs can withstand the effects of many insecticides, are able to live for as long as a year without eating, and are known to spread through travel, there are plenty of reasons for those planning to attend the 2024 Summer Olympics to heed expert advice.
“Most people do not realize they are transporting stow-away bed bugs as they travel from location to location, infecting areas as they travel,” explained the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.