Bed bugs have once again become a major pest problem affecting cities throughout the United States. But American homeowners aren’t the only ones coming to grips with an ongoing invasion of these blood-sucking parasites. European cities are facing their own bed bug invasions, and one of the hottest of the international hot spots is the City of Lights itself – Paris.
Bed Bugs Return to the City of Lights
The common bed bug, Cimex lecturarius, had been virtually eradicated from the developed world by the middle of the 20th century. The widespread use of DDT and other potent insecticides had greatly reduced bed bug populations and incidents of infestation were rare – particularly in major cities. But with the banning of these potent pesticides, and the growth of international travel, the bed bug has been free to make a vigorous resurgence.
By the late 1950s bed bugs had all but disappeared from France. But as a new century rolled around these loathsome pests were just waiting to make an unwelcome return to the country. Paris, one of Europe’s crowned jewels, has been especially hard hit with recent infestations becoming so bad that they’ve prompted robust action from the French government.
In February the French Ministry of Housing launched a campaign to address the rising bed bug problem throughout the country. The campaign, complete with informative website and emergency contact numbers, aims to reduce (if not eliminate completely) bed bugs from the life and livelihoods of the France’s populace.
A Growing Bed Bug Epidemic
France, and Paris in particular, has seen a dramatic increase in bed bug infestations over the last several years. The most recent data available to researchers shows that upwards of 400,000 addresses (including hotels, houses and individual apartments) have been treated for bed bugs in 2018 alone. This represents a 33% rise over the previous year.
The growing bed bug epidemic in France has captured the attention of the public at large, and has galvanized local governments. So much so that the subject has become a major topic in the 2020 Paris mayoral campaign, with candidates hoping to win support through promises of attacking the bed bug problem with renewed vigor.
Bed Bug Infestations on an International Scale
The fast paced world of international travel has given bed bugs unprecedented opportunities to spread from country to country. Major cities around the globe are all seeing spikes in bed bug infestations. From New York to Hong Kong, London to Singapore, homeowners and businesses are spending billions of dollars every year on bed bug treatments.
Paris is just the latest in international bed bug hot spots. Trends in bed bug infestations suggest it will not be the last. The resurgence in bed bug activity, in the US and around the world, suggests that bed bugs are bound to be with us for some time to come – both in the news and in our homes and workplaces.