Photo: Piotr Naskrecki/WikiCommons
There were a monstrous 180,000 bedbug infestations throughout France last year, said the CS3D union of pest controllers on Wednesday.
The union made the estimation – the first of its kind for France – by collecting data from all its groups of pest controllers across the country.
“They're in all the places where people might stay for a while,” Stéphane Bras, the union's spokesman, told Le Figaro newspaper.
So this means everything from hotels and hostels to hospitals, not to mention retirement homes, backpackers, and even public transport.
“But they're also in theatres and car rental companies,” Bras added.
The bed bug, a parasitic insect that feeds exclusively on blood, are mostly active in the dark hours of night and often go unnoticed by their host.
It's often not until too late that the victim wakes to find itchy red spots on their skin, and sometimes allergic reactions.
The fact that the insects aren't life threatening to humans mean they are not a priority for the health authorities, although experts warn that bed bugs should be taken seriously.
“I think we're dealing with a major public health issue,” Jean-Michel Bérenger, an entomologist at La Timone hospital in Marseille, told Le Figaro.
“Declaring the number of infected sites should be a mandatory practice to improve care.”