Bed bug problem growing in Paris
Exterminators report growing number of phone calls from homes and hotels about the small, blood-eating creatures
PEST control experts in Paris have warned there is a growing problem of bed bugs affecting homes and hotels in the capital.
The Mairie de Paris hygiene body Smash (Service Municipal d'Actions de Salubrité et d'Hygiène) says it has been called out 600 times this year to deal with infestations.
Private exterminators say they, too, are receiving a growing number of calls from Parisians.
France Info says a number of hotels in Paris have reported a bed bug infestation, and at least one in the fifth arrondissement has gone as far as to replace all of its carpets, mattresses and furniture following complaints from guests.
The creatures, about the size of a grain of rice, have benefited from the boom in international travel and a ban on certain insecticides, such as DDT, to spread recently.
Holidaymakers and business travellers unwittingly bring them back home with them in their suitcase.
The insects are attracted to the warmth of mattresses and sheets, and feed on human blood. They present no serious health risk, but can disrupt sleep and cause skin complaints.
They live for up to 10 months, but reproduce rapidly. They can be treated with a special spray on the mattress and bedframe. Specially trained dogs can also detect them quickly.
Bed bugs infested New York earlier this year, affecting homes, shops, schools and hospitals.