Bedbugs in Paris

London --
The French government launched a campaign Thursday, complete with an emergency number, to combat an influx of unwelcome visitors that have left Parisians in despair: bedbugs that have settled in homes and hotels to feed, uninvited, on human blood.

After disappearing from France in the 1950s, the insects have made a resurgence, according to the ministry of housing, which cited international travel and growing resistance to insecticide as the main causes.

“We can all be affected,” the government warned on a webpage dedicated to the problem, complete with advice on how to prevent and treat an infestation, and a number to call for expert help.

The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, is found in temperate climates in the United States and parts of Europe.

The six-legged pest posed only a minor nuisance after the second world war because of the widespread use of insecticides such as DDT. But the banning of such potent poisons, because they were too dangerous, hailed a bed bug revival.

By the late 1990s, they were thriving in New York and a 2010 outbreak saw them invade high-end apartment buildings, hotels, even clothing stores like the lingerie outlet Victoria’s Secret.

There has also been an explosion of bed bugs in Paris.

The insects cost billions of dollars annually to exterminate by businesses and homeowners.

(c) AP 02/20/2020

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