Ahead of Paris Olympics, a Pesky Issue: 'No One Is Safe'

Bedbugs are overrunning France, with the Games less than 10 months away
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2023 7:46 AM CDT
Ahead of Paris Olympics, a Pesky Issue: 'No One Is Safe'
Stock photo of a pest control worker.   (Getty Images/Liudmila Chernetska)

The Summer Olympics kick off in Paris in a little under 10 months, but France is now contending with a pesky issue it hopes it can contain before then. NPR reports on a nationwide "resurgence of bloodsucking bedbugs," six-legged insects about the size of an apple seed that hide out in mattresses, clothing, and furniture, then emerge at night to feast on human hosts. "No one is safe," warned Emmanuel Gregoire, Paris' first deputy mayor, on X, the former Twitter.

France 24 notes that bedbugs have been spotted scurrying around everywhere from the Charles de Gaulle Airport to high-speed trains and the Paris subway. ANSES, France's food and environmental agency points to a spike in travel (bedbugs travel in luggage), as well as their increasing resistance to insecticides, as driving the recent insurgence, per NPR. The agency notes that, between 2017 and 2022, more than 10% of French households reported having a bedbug problem. Bites from the pests often result in rashes and blisters and can cause itching or allergic reactions.

"We must act!" Gregoire posted in a second tweet, noting that he'd asked Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne to set up a conference to deal with the "scourge." "This is a public health problem where all stakeholders must be brought to the table," he wrote. At the same time, Gregoire waved off concerns that the Games would be marred next summer by the issue. "There is no threat to the Olympic Games," he told French station LCI on Friday, per CNN, adding: "Bedbugs existed before and they will exist afterward." Clement Beaune, France's transport minister, noted that he plans to bring transit operators together this week to talk about how to solve the problem, and to "reassure and protect." (Read more bedbugs stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.