Paris has a giant headache to deal with as it prepares for the Olympic Games, and for once it’s not the nation’s crippling illegal migrant crisis. The city is suffering a massive infestation of bedbugs just over nine months before the world comes for an extended visit.
The area is besieged by the insects, which attack sleepers and may travel easily from person to person.
Government officials are panicking, and Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne called for an emergency meeting of ministers this week to confront the crisis.
Clement Beaune, France’s transportation minister, convened a meeting with transportation companies in recent days concerning monitoring and disinfecting.
Meanwhile, some officials accuse the media of fanning the flames of a nationwide crisis.
Paris is overrun with bed bugs.
Hysteria is spreading across the French capital after a massive surge in bedbugs inside hotel rooms, cinemas and even public transportation—social media footage shows.
Emmanuel Grégoire, the deputy mayor of Paris, said the problem is… pic.twitter.com/QxwVirWgGt
— DailyVibez (@MyDailyVibez) October 3, 2023
Beaune claimed there is not a resurgence in national cases. He blew off viral videos of the aggressive bugs burrowing into seats of trains and reports of dozens of new infestations.
Bedbugs are resilient creatures. They may survive for as long as a year without a meal and are alarmingly resistant to pesticides. They latch onto hosts and travel from place to place despite not being capable of jumping or flying.
The Paris Olympics are set for July, and little could be more horrifying for visitors than staying in rooms infested by bedbugs.
A report by the National Agency for Health and Food Safety confirmed that over 10% of French households were infested by bedbugs between 2017 and 2022.
Some experts believe this number is low because many fear the stigma of admitting to having such a problem in their home.
Panic set in among Parisiennes roughly a month ago when reports began to circulate of bedbugs appearing in a city movie theater. This was followed by numerous videos which went viral on social media showing more of the pests on buses and trains.
Political leaders are now moving to address the crisis before the world gathers in the city next year. President Emmanual Macron and several leading lawmakers are behind bills to fight the creatures.
A figure in France’s far-left circles, Mathilde Panot, surprised Parliament recently when she produced a vial of bedbugs during its session. She asked her colleagues what they planned to do about the infestation and criticized them for allowing the bugs to spread.