Bed bugs, which have already caused mild hysteria in cities across the US, are steadily making their presence felt in France, according to media reports on Monday.

 

"/> Bed bugs, which have already caused mild hysteria in cities across the US, are steadily making their presence felt in France, according to media reports on Monday.

 

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Expert sounds alert on bed bug invasion

 

Bed bugs, which have already caused mild hysteria in cities across the US, are steadily making their presence felt in France, according to media reports on Monday.

 

Pascal Delaunay, an expert in insects and parasites and who is leading a large study on the topic warned that the bugs were multiplying, fast.

“For five years companies that deal with insects have seen a five to fifteen-fold increase in the number of incidents,” he told the Le Parisien daily.

Delauney called for action to tackle the problem.

“We are at the start of the contamination and in the expansion phase. The situation is not yet critical but we must take action,”

The tiny brown parasitic insects are known as “punaises de lit” in French (literally, bed drawing pins). They measure around 5 millimetres and like to live indoors, particularly in beds and curtains close to where people sleep. They feast on human blood, usually at night when they are not noticed, and leave small marks similar to mosquito bites.

In New York, official bed bug reports by the health department increased from 82 in 2004 to 4,084 in 2009. The issue became headline news across the United States in 2010 as the number of cases increased nationwide. The bugs have infested some of New Yorks’ most luxurious hotels as well as cinemas and store changing rooms.

A report in online magazine the Daily Beast found that the worst cities in the US were Cincinatti, Columbus and Chicago. 

Other cities to have been infected include Sydney, Montreal and, more recently, London.

The insects can spread by travelling unnoticed in suitcases or clothes, finding a new home to settle in when they get to a new destination.

Treatment can be expensive and is not always effective.

“Getting rid of them can cost from €150 to €400 ($200 to $550),” says Pascal Delaunay.

“Certain treatments will even make the situation worse. Public authorities must take note of this problem before it explodes.”

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TRAVEL NEWS

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro

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