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French Transport Minister Clément Beaune urged calm this week amid widespread reports of bedbug infestations across the country, an issue that comes as France prepares itself to host next year’s Olympic Games, CNBC reported.
In recent weeks, videos on social media have been showing the presence of bedbug infestations affecting many areas across France, including homes, hospitals, high-speed trains, and Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport.
The environment ministry said there has been a resurgence of the pests since they disappeared in the 1950s, due to international travel and increased resistance to pesticides.
The issue has caused such a furor that the government stepped in to calm an increasingly anxious nation set to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games – a prime venue for infestations of the crowd-loving insects.
Beaune said authorities and cleaning companies are holding talks to address the situation, but denied that there was a resurgence, cautioning that “we must not fall into madness.”
Bedbug infestations have affected more than one in ten households in France between 2017 and 2022, according to the Associated Press.
Analysts said the parasitic insects make no distinction regarding hygiene or social class. They can live without a meal (of human blood) for up to a year, making them resilient pests. The pests can also easily travel with humans, making them a challenge for densely populated areas such as Paris.
Companies specializing in bedbug extermination are seeing a surge in business as people become more vigilant. To eradicate the insects, these firms use heat, especially steam.