The effort to eradicate the bedbug infestation before the Olympics is underway.
The transportation minister announced on Wednesday that sniffer dogs will be used to check French trains and the Paris metro for bedbugs, following numerous reports of infestations. However, no bedbugs have been found yet.
As the Paris Olympics approach in less than a year, authorities in France are taking measures to prevent bedbugs from causing any disruptions during the games. They have initiated a campaign to eliminate these pests.
People on social media have recently been sharing videos of bugs moving around on fast-moving trains and the Paris subway. There have also been numerous articles online about bedbugs being found in movie theaters and even at Charles de Gaulle airport.
The reports have been received by top government officials.
In a recent letter to Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire of the capital city emphasized the urgent need for a strategic plan to combat this issue, especially with France’s upcoming hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic games in 2024.
The Minister of Transportation, Clement Beaune, stated that there have been approximately 10 complaints from travelers about bedbugs on Paris public transportation run by RATP and 37 complaints at the rail operator SNCF in the past few weeks.
After discussing with transport companies and travel organizations, Mr. Beaune stated that any issues that arise are addressed and not ignored. He also clarified that there is no widespread presence of bedbugs in public transportation.
Mr. Beaune announced that all public transportation companies in France will enhance their health protocols, specifically targeting the prevention of bedbug infestations. This will include the use of canine detection teams, which are considered the most efficient method for detecting bedbugs.
He stated that a report on bedbug sightings and confirmed infestations will be released every quarter.
He stated that complete openness will lead to complete trust, and that there is no reason for irrational behavior or anxiety.
Mr. Beaune has scheduled meetings with pest control companies and intends to host a conference by the end of the month to discuss potential solutions for any issues that may arise.
Last week, travelers at the Paris Gare de Lyon train station expressed skepticism about the authorities’ ability to effectively address the issue.
Laura Mmadi, a sales worker traveling to the south of France, expressed her concern about bedbugs. She plans to keep her luggage closed in order to prevent them from entering her home. When she returns, she will need to wash all of her clothes.
Sophie Ruscica checked her seat carefully for any indications of blood-sucking insects that can survive in various environments, including beds, while traveling from Nice to Paris.
She expressed feeling anxious because she had to take the train and was worried about encountering bedbugs. However, she acknowledged that bedbugs can be found in various places, including cinemas.
According to a report released in July by the health agency Anses, approximately 10% of French households were affected by bedbug infestations from 2017 to 2022.
“The current situation has created a state of panic,” stated Sacha Krief, manager of a pest control store. “It can have a negative impact on individuals, causing them to feel depressed and even paranoid.”
The deputy mayor, Mr. Gregoire, urged insurance companies to add coverage for bedbugs in their home insurance policies. This is important because those with low incomes often cannot afford to hire pest control companies.