BEDBUGS OUTBREAK HITS PARIS

PARIS Is Dealing with a Massive Bed Bug Outbreak — and the Pests Have Even Infested Trains and Busses

Paris will welcome the world in nine months as the host of the 2024 Olympics. But right now, the City of Light is dealing with very unwelcome visitors: bed bugs.

The small, blood-sucking insects have been spotted all over the French capitol — on the Metro (Paris’s public transportation system), in hotels and movie theaters and at the Charles de Gaulle airport.

Deputy Mayor of Paris Emmanuel Grégoire reached out to Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, writing, “The state urgently needs to put an action plan in place against this scourge as France is preparing to welcome the Olympic and Paralympic games in 2024,” according to Reuters. The outlet added that Transport Minister Clement Beaune was going to address the infestation on public transportation this week.

Companies that specialize in bed bug treatment — a service that can cost up to $500 — told CBS News that they’ve been inundated with requests in recent weeks.

According to a survey by Anses, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety, “Between 2017 and 2022, more than one in 10 French households were infested by bed bugs.”

The Mayo Clinic says bed bugs aren’t known carriers of disease and don’t present any health risks unless someone is allergic to the bites, but the bugs — small, flat, reddish-brown insects that are the size of an apple seed —  can severely impact someone’s mental health.

Bed bugs generally hide during the day, coming out at night to feed. “The fact that we can actually see them means that there are a lot of them,” a train passenger, Luc Villette, pointed out to CNN.

If one does end up bringing home bed bugs, the Environmental Protection Agency says “don’t panic.”

“It can be difficult to eliminate bed bugs, but it’s not impossible,” the agency says, recommending reducing clutter — where bed bugs like to hide — and taking measures like wrapping your mattress in a protective encasement.

Regular washing and vacuuming can help, but the EPA points out that “hiring an experienced, responsible pest control professional can increase your chance of success in getting rid of bed bugs.”

In the meantime, the city has until the Olympics Opening Ceremony on July 26, 2024 to get the problem under control for visitors.