Bed Bugs Infested Paris Last Year and Now the Problem Has Spread Elsewhere

By: Beth Moreton | Published: Feb 14, 2024

After the bed bug infestation that occurred in Paris in October 2023, there was a sense of worry around neighboring cities and countries that the problem might spread, according to Time Magazine

However, whilst this was only a worry at the time, there is now more concern that the problem may have indeed spread to other areas.

“No one is safe”, Says Paris Deputy Mayor

The Deputy Mayor of Paris has stated that “no one is safe”, in a statement made in early October 2023 when the problem first arose, as reported in Phys Org.

A hotel bed. A woman is lying her head on the bed. The bed has white sheets, a wooden headboard, and there is a lamp to the left of the bed.

Source: Bruno van der Kraan/Unsplash

The Prime Minister has also made a promise that they will try to eradicate the problem by June 2024, which is when the Paris Olympic Games are scheduled to begin.

The Outbreak Is Nothing New

While this problem seemingly came out of nowhere, an entomologist from Texas A&M has stated that this outbreak of bed bugs is nothing new and is actually quite common.

An image of a bed bug on the skin.

Source: Harvard University/Wikimedia Commons

Robert Puckett, who is an associate professor and extension entomologist at Texas A&M University, has said there has been a rise in bed bugs worldwide and it has been an ongoing issue for years. 

Modern Factors have Caused a Resurgence in Bed Bugs

With this bed bug infestation, many are asking why now. Well, it is due to several factors, some of which are due to our modern way of living, according to Vox

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As many people are living in cities, having warm bodies packed together is a bed bug’s dream. Unless temperatures are extremely hot or extremely cold, bed bugs are going to thrive. 

Travel Is One of the Main Contributing Factors

As reported at the time of the outbreak, one issue with controlling the bed bug outbreak is that many people were traveling in and out of Paris from all over the world, potentially taking the bed bugs with them.

A busy airport terminal. Many people are queuing waiting to get their bags checked in.

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This means bed bugs have the opportunity to get into people’s belongings and can end up anywhere in the world, leading to further spread.

Bed Bugs Are Highly Resistant to Insecticides

Another major issue with controlling the bed bug spread is that they have been found to be resistant to some of the main insecticides.

A person in a white hazmat suit with a green tank on their back. They’re in a building ready to spray what is in the green tank.

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The most commonly used insecticides are pyrethroid and neonicotinoid, and because of this, it is making it harder for the problem to be diminished before getting too out of control.


Bed Bugs Are Difficult to Spot

Due to their size and coloring, being able to notice bed bugs is difficult. They are the size of an apple seed and dark in color unless they’re newly hatched. 

A zoomed in image of a bed bug against a ruler.

Source: Louis-Marie Poissant/Wikimedia Commons

Newly hatched bed bugs are light colored and too small to see. Even though the adults are dark in color, due to their flat nature, they can easily be hidden from view.


You Cannot Feel Bed Bugs on Your Skin

While you might think you know a bed bug is on you from an itch on your skin or feeling them crawling on your body, a chemical the bed bug releases prevents you from feeling anything.

A person scratching their arm that appears to have a few bites on it.

Source: Orrling and Tomer S/Wikimedia Commons

The only way you will know that a bed bug has been on you in the night is if you wake up the next morning to find a mosquito-looking bite on your skin, or even a little blood on the sheets.


Bed Bugs Aren’t Dangerous to Your Health

What many may be worried about is how bed bugs could impact their health, but bed bugs are unlikely to cause any damage to your overall health.

A doctor sat at a table talking to a young patient. The doctor is wearing a white lab coat and has a red stethoscope around her neck. She is writing in her notebook and has her laptop open on the table.

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However, scratching the bite to the point where the skin breaks can cause infection. Furthermore, those allergic to insect bites could break out in hives, blisters, or intense itching. In these cases, it’s recommended to see a doctor. 


Put Your Luggage in the Bathtub

One recommended way of avoiding bed bugs is to put your luggage in the bathtub or on a countertop when you first enter your hotel room.

A view of a hotel room. There is a bathtub in the bedroom and there is a wooden ladder to the right of the bathtub.

Source: John Cameron/Unsplash

Because bed bugs are bad at climbing, they will not be able to climb up the side of the bathtub, so you won’t have to worry about them getting into your luggage and coming home with you.


Check the Bed for Telltale Bed Bug Signs

It is also important you check your bed for any signs of bed bugs, as this is where they are most likely to be lurking.

A woman checking a bed that has white sheets on it.

Source: Freepik/Freepik

Pull back all the bed sheets. You might be able to see the bed bugs themselves, or potentially some blood stains on the mattress. You should also check any furniture that is next to the bed.


Put Your Clothes Straight in the Wash

Once you are home from your trip, it is important to put all of the clothes you wore on your trip, especially those that were on the bed, straight into the washing machine.

A woman taking some clothes out of the washing machine.

Source: Freepik/Freepik

This should prevent you from bringing the bed bugs back into your home. Be sure to include the clothes you are wearing, too.


Bringing Bed Bugs Home Is Unlikely

However, while it might be a big worry that going on a trip somewhere, even if just for a night, could have you bring home unwanted travelers, there’s good news. Experts have said it is unlikely they will end up in your home.

A young woman returning home. She has a camera around her neck and has opened the front door.

Source: Jessica Ticozzelli/Pexels

Despite this, it’s still good to take precautions and do any relevant checks just to as a way to remain safe and itch-free.