Paris, France —
People in Paris, France are growing concerned about a problem that has worried people for centuries: bedbugs. With more and more reports of bedbugs being found, politicians are starting to worry about getting rid of the insects before Paris holds the 2024 Olympics next summer.
Bedbugs are small, flat insects that live in beds and other places. They eat the blood of animals, especially people. When they bite, bedbugs can make red, itchy bumps.
No one likes bedbugs, but it’s important to remember that bedbugs aren’t a big danger to most people’s health. They can be upsetting and leave itchy bites behind, but they do not spread diseases.
Bedbugs have been around for thousands of years. They have even been found in old Egyptian tombs. After World War II, people began using dangerous chemicals to kill bugs, including bedbugs. These chemicals caused bedbugs and many other pests to become much less common.
But in the past 20 or 30 years, bedbugs have started to make a comeback. And now many bedbugs aren’t affected by most of the chemicals that used to kill them. Some people think that the bedbugs that are left may be ones that the chemicals don’t work on.
Another possible reason for the rise in bedbugs is that people are traveling more these days. Bedbugs exist in all parts of the world. Bedbugs can hide in tiny spaces, including inside suitcases. When people bring their suitcases to new places, bedbugs can spread to new areas – or from those areas back home.
In France, bedbugs are a long-standing problem. As many as one out of every 10 people who rent apartments in France has had a problem with bedbugs in the last five years.
Jean-Michel Berenger, a scientist who studies insects in Marseille, says, “Every late summer we see a big increase in bedbugs.” That’s mainly from people returning after traveling. But Mr. Berenger says that the problem is getting worse every year.
And now, in addition to reports of bedbugs in hotels and apartments, there are also reports of the insects being found in other places. Bedbugs have been spotted on seats at movie theaters, on long-distance trains, on the Paris subway, and at the country’s busiest airport.
But while bedbugs are a serious problem, the fear of them may be worse than the actual problem. The deputy mayor of Paris probably didn’t help the situation when he said, “In reality, no one is safe.”
It’s actually not clear yet whether all the reports are even accurate. But the French government is worried about the problem. Millions of people will be traveling to Paris this summer for the 2024 Olympics. France doesn’t want the country to leave a bad impression by letting its visitors get bitten by bedbugs.
The French government is working to create new rules that will help tackle the bedbug problem. The government wants to make sure that Paris’s apartments, along with hotels and other places where tourists stay, are safe and clean.
Did You Know…?
One other reason there may be more bedbugs now is because there are fewer cockroaches. As unpleasant as cockroaches may seem, they have at least one good side: they eat bedbugs.