France launches new campaign against bed bugs

Bed bugs are spreading across France, as a new campaign seeks to stop their spread

The French government has launched a new campaign against bed bugs, to raise awareness and share information on how to prevent them, and get rid of them.

Figures show that more than 400,000 sites in France are likely infested with the bugs, including accommodation centres, hotels, hospitals and cinemas. The bugs also affect private homes.

This figure is only set to grow, and is estimated to have increased by 30-35% last year.

A statement from the Ministry of Territorial Cohesion said: “The phenomenon affects everyone, and is not reserved for those who live in low-quality buildings or less affluent neighbourhoods. All sites are affected, including individual homes, as well as social housing, family apartments, and student halls.”

Now, housing minister Julien Denormandie is spearheading a new government campaign against the bugs, on issues such as the cost of getting rid of them, and who to turn to in the event of an infestation.

A new website (stop-punaises.gouv.fr) and telephone number (0 806 706 806) have been set up to provide information on how to stop the bugs, and to allow individuals to report new infestations.

Mr Denormandie said: “Individuals are often at a disadvantage when it comes to detecting these parasites, getting help to get rid of them, evaluating the cost of intervention, and knowing who is responsible - the owner or the tenant.

“Often, they do not dare to speak of it. Yet, it is not something to be embarrassed about.”

He added: “These channels [website and number] will allow us to refine our statistics on the number of buildings and households affected in France, and in each area.”

Accredited bed bug fighters

The launch has been set up in partnership with pest control union la Chambre Syndicale des Industries de Désinfection, Désinsectisation et Dératisation (CS3D).

As part of the scheme, the housing ministry will work with the CS3D to provide a new certification system for professionals that intervene to the required standard in bed bug-infested places.

From September this year, this system will enable professionals to get access to training schemes with accreditation by the CS3D. The group will then list trained individuals and companies on its website.

New parliamentary report

Mr Denormandie has also placed LREM MP Cathy Racon-Bouzon in charge of the issue, with a view to delivering a parliamentary report within six months.

The report is set to consider more ways to offer financial support to the most disadvantaged households, and also how to change the law to deal with the fight against bed bugs.

In a statement, the ministry acknowledged: “The housing law [currently] puts responsibility on the owner to provide decent accommodation for the tenant, but this isn’t always straightforward."

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