A French train passenger’s video – allegedly showing a bed bug crawling along the armrest of her Ouigo train – has been verified by an expert as real.
The six-second clip was posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday evening by a passenger taking a Ouigo (low-cost, high-speed) service between Paris and Lille and has been viewed more than five million times.
An expert in the species who was shown the video told media group France3 that there was “no doubt” that the video showed a bedbug despite some detractors on social media saying otherwise.
The SNCF has yet to make a comment on the video.
Bedbugs are becoming a rising problem in France – despite almost being eradicated in the 1950s and estimates now are that more than 10% of homes have infestations.
Two bedbug sightings in one week on French trains
You can see the video below, showing the bug crawling along the armrest of the seat in front of the passenger.
The post has thousands of comments with several people saying that bringing bedbugs into their home from public transport was their “phobia.”
It is not the first such video. Last Monday, a different user posted two photos on X showing a bed bug in the middle of a train seat. It attracted more than seven million views.
The posts have led to increased calls by the public on social media for the SNCF to increase their hygiene standards to prevent bedbugs being brought home at unawares by those using its services.
Bringing bedbugs from public transport is one of the most common ways bedbugs find their way into homes, and means even those who keep their property impeccably clean could still face an infestation at some point.
‘No doubt’ the video shows a bedbug
An expert in removing bedbug contaminations confirmed the video showed one of the insects, and not a similar bug, such as a garden cockroach, which can sometimes be mistaken for bedbugs.
Despite the myth that they are invisible to the naked eye (it is indeed a myth) the “dark body and that more translucent head [shows] it is a bed bug,” said Hugues Wiplier.
Another myth he cleaned up was that the presence of one bedbug means a vast colony lurking somewhere nearby:
“It depends on the type and condition” of the bedbug, the expert said.
"We know that they colonise new places by being transported from one place to another [in luggage and clothes]. That may be the case with this one. It may be alone and therefore harmless, especially if it's a male,”
Only females can lay eggs – and thus start a colony – meaning even if you do bring back a singular male bedbug into your home it will not start an infestation.
The critter in the video “may well have been disturbed, and is seeking to return to its hiding place quickly,” added Mr Wiplier, which is why the insect is found crawling around in the bright an open conditions of the train – a rarity for the species, which usually prefers warm and dark places… like mattress springs.
How can I stop bedbugs on public transport?
Although there is no guaranteed way to prevent a bedbug being on any public transport you use, you can try to limit the chances of the insect crawling into your bag or clothes.
Bedbugs “are increasingly resistant,” to chemical repellents, with “many treatments… now ineffective,” said Mr Wiplier.
One tip is to place cloves (girofles) in your bags and suitcases to ward away the bugs.
“They hate the smell. Given the choice, they'll avoid it,” he added. You can use either a fresh clove or an essential oil of the spice.