• France's news in English

French cities struggle with bedbug infestations

The Local · 29 Aug 2014, 09:05

Published: 29 Aug 2014 09:05 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

France’s health authorities are overwhelmed by a wave of bedbug infestations throughout the country, at the worst levels it has ever known, according to a report in the Nouvel Obs newspaper.

Dr. Pascal Delaunay, an entomologist at Nice hospital said: "Since the late 1990s, the infestation of large cities by bedbugs has not stopped increasing. Today we in a situation that our generation has never known."

Bedbugs live in the crevices of fabric and other soft materials, and so often stowaway with international travellers in luggage or the folds of their clothing.

In the most severe cases, they can be extremely damaging: earlier this month, one infestation in Ivry-sur-Seine rendered the family’s four-bedroom apartment uninhabitable.

In Alsace, an entire block of fifty-three apartments had to be treated after nine flats became infested, with all of the building’s residents obliged to move their belongings out for the day. 

Over the border in Switzerland, authorities in Geneva are also struggling with the insects. One pest control company had to carry out four "interventions" to deal with bed bugs in 2013 but in 2014, that number has already risen to 1,500.

Amongst other American cities, New York has struggled with a bedbug problem for some years—and the residents of Paris, Nice, Alsace and Marseille have become the insects’ newest victims.

Bedbugs feed on human blood and live in mattresses, and have painful, irritating stings. They breed at remarkable speed, with the female laying around fifteen eggs every day, and can go up to a year without eating.

This, and their resistance to insecticide, goes a certain way to explaining why they are so difficult to get rid of.

Story continues below…

Dr Delaunay from Nice, has created a home inspection service to help ‘extreme cases’, while pest services have sprung up around the country. They use superheated steam, vacuum cleaning and freezing practices to eliminate the bugs.

The pest control service also employ sniffer dogs, specially trained to detect their scent, which can check up to fifty hotel rooms per day.

by Natasha Frost

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France poised to send bulldozers into Calais Jungle
Photo: AFP

As hundreds of migrants leave, the bulldozers are set to tear down the sprawling Calais shanty town on Tuesday.

UK to spend €40 million on securing Calais border
Photo: AFP

Britain spending big on security in Calais.

Millionaire Riviera hotel boss kidnapped in broad daylight
The city of Nice where the millionaire was bundled into a car infront of shocked onlookers. Photo: AFP

The millionaire head of a luxury hotel in the French Riviera resort of Cannes was kidnapped in front of shocked onlookers in the middle of the day on Monday.

Where exactly in France are Calais migrants being sent?
Photo: AFP

Here's where the 8,000 migrants in Calais are heading.

The annoying questions only a half French, half British person can answer
Photo: Beery/Flickr/AFP

Being half French, half British is means you get asked a lot of questions (and some of them can be a little annoying.)

Migrants bussed out of Calais Jungle to all corners of France
All photos: AFP

Hundreds of migrants are being bussed across France on Monday ahead of the demolition of the Jungle camp.

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
A Prophet. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Looking for something to watch?

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part Two
Rust and Bone. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

The newest French films you need to see before you die (or alternatively when you get some spare time).

Election Watch
Presidential hopeful reckons a pain au chocolat is 10 cents

So France happily takes the pastry out of him.

French ministry of defence officials die in plane crash
Screengrab: eddydeg/Twitter

The French Ministry of Defence officials were killed on Monday when a light aircraft went down on the island of Malta.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available