Paris Overrun With Bedbugs As Olympic Kickoff Nears

The French government has stepped in to put a stop to a major problem the city has been facing: an epidemic of bedbugs. Yes, you read that right. Paris is reportedly crawling with them, or so the internet says.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne addressed her fellow ministers on Friday and pitched her plan for how they can all work together to mitigate the bedbug crisis in Paris before the Olympic games start in July 2024.

French Transport Minister Clement Beaune came together with the transportation industry to map out ways they can screen for bedbugs and remedy the issue when infestations are found.

Bedbugs are hardly a new invasive species, but recent videos that have gone viral online have highlighted the issue to unsuspecting French citizens, as well as travelers from the world around. In short, the public is a bit freaked out.

But is the public perception blowing the actual issue out of proportion? Beaune told reporters there was “No resurgence of cases,” noting the 37 cases that had been reported in the bus, train and Metro system turned up nothing upon further investigation.

Nevertheless, France does have an issue with bedbugs and has for decades. These invasive bugs are no bigger than an apple seed, and they are rather clever at hiding from we mere mortals. Bedbugs frequently blend in with furniture and tend to burrow into cracks and crevices near to where people sleep. Hence the name.

While bedbugs can’t fly, they aren’t relegated to traveling by foot either. Instead, they travel with us — in the seams of our suitcases and pillows, and even attach themselves to our dirty clothing when we exit a hotel room or other infested building.

The truly harrowing part of this story is that the average bedbug doesn’t need to feed regularly. In fact, they can survive without feeding for more than a year. This explains why infestations are so difficult to exterminate. Many bedbugs may lie dormant and away from areas that are treated, meaning they’ll survive most novice attempts to get rid of them.

Experts say steam treatments are best at snuffing out the bugs that might be hiding in areas no spray or trap would ever reach.

France isn’t neglecting the issue, but they’re not going to co-sign the media’s attempt at clickbait and garnering reactions either. Still, they do aim to educate people on bedbugs, noting the species tends to make people think a facility is dirty or low-brow. Quite the contrary, bedbugs don’t discriminate based on class, cleanliness, or wealth.

As far as bedbugs are concerned, blood is blood.

Still, pest control companies are in line for a banner year in France as media hysteria fuels locals’ desires to make sure their homes and businesses are untouched by these invasive bugs. For now, France wonders: Will this panic lead to people pushing pause on their Olympic-sized travel plans?