Bed bug feeding on human skin.
A new study concluded this week that bed bugs were such a problem in France that they now pose a national health hazard.
The creatures have been on the rise globally but in the past decade, bed bugs have proliferatedthey are now found in every U.S. state and countries across Europe have seen huge infestations, notably Paris (which is the number one visited capital in the world).
At the beginning of 2020, the French Union for Pest Control stated that, Frances bed bug problem has seen the number of cases go from 180,000 to 400,000 in just two years.
The French government website states that they arrived in France in the 1950s with the advent of international travel and have proliferated because of their increasing resistance to insecticide. It says that bedrooms and living rooms are predominantly more affected.
A New York Times article suggested that 1 in 5 Americans have been plagued by bed bugs or know someone who has. Washington DC, Baltimore, Chicago and Los Angeles were the most plagued.
Christian Cadieux (R), owner of Bed Bugs Bite fumigates a mattress as part of their process to get ... [+] rid of bed bugs.
Bed bugs are incredibly difficult to remove. They hitch a ride on suitcases and clothes. They can live for many months without having a drink of human blood. To kill them, you need temperatures of minus four degrees Fahrenheit. They reproduce quickly and are immune to common insecticides. They are not fussy about cleanliness or dirtthey are a great leveller in that sense. They can lay two to five eggs each day and you just need one pregnant female to start a brood. They are also incredibly difficult to find.
Quoted from the New York Times, a report by French doctors,writing in The New England Journal of Medicinein June, stated that between blood meals, bedbugs hide in dark places, such as household cracks and crevices, walls, luggage, bedclothes, mattresses, bedsprings, bed frames, spaces under baseboards, loose or peeling wallpaper, electrical switch plates and conduits for electrical cables.
Bed bugs feast mostly at night, crawling from human host to host, leaving bites, but it is the psychological damage which can be most affecting. Bed bugs do not carry infectious diseases.
A bed bug in a flat in Hong Kong on May 26, 2017.
The study analysed 72,000 consultations with doctors across France from April 2019 to March 2020 who reported issues with bed bugsamounting to 110 out of every 100,000 inhabitants in France. 98% of reported cases had suffered from skin lesions (itchy bites), 37% said they had suffered from insomnia as a result and 37% claimed the presence of bed bugs had had a negative impact on their professional, family and social life.
As reported byrfi, they increase in numbers in warmer weather with the two worst affected regions in France being the Auvergne-Rhne-Alpes region and Provence-Alpes-Cte dAzur, the coastal region on the Mediterranean. There were very few reported cases in Paris, but because the data comes from GPs, it is unlikely to include tourists, who would probably visit their own doctors upon their return, as The Local points out.
France launched a prevention campaign in February, which formed the basis of the campaign for one of the candidates for Paris mayor, where people can receive advice on prevention and cure. There is a website (Stop-punaises.gouv.fr) and a hotline (0806 706 806).
It remains to be seen what impact Covid-19 and the slowdown of global travel will have on the bed bug population.
To search for bed bugs, check the seams of the mattress, where they love to congregate and then blast it with a hairdryer as the warm air should encourage them into the open.
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Bed Bugs On The Rise, Despite Covid-19, New Study Suggests - Forbes