Public transport firms in France must publish cases of bedbug sightings every three months, France’s transport minister has announced, in response to increasing reports of bedbugs on seats.
Clément Beaune told France Televisions on October 4 that this would relate to “reported and proven cases of bedbugs” after meeting with the principle operators and user associations.
While the minister said there is “no increase” in the presence of these insects in public transport, he said that “transparency is key” in dealing with the situation.
Mr Beaune said this transparency is equally important in regards to treatment protocols, which will also be published “so that everyone knows what is being done to prevent the risk.”
Bedbugs do not carry diseases, therefore while bites from these insects can be itchy they are just a pain rather than dangerous.
Read more: Bedbugs also in Paris metro, says driver
Are bedbugs back?
The transport minister emphasised that while reports have increased about bedbugs on public transport, proven cases had not and it is important “not to sink into anxiety” about the situation.
“There is no increase but we must respond to what is a real concern,” he said.
“At SNCF, there have been 37 cases reported in the trains in the last few days, all verified and zero cases proven.”
Despite having been eradicated from everyday life in the 1950s, bedbugs have been making a comeback in Europe over the last few decades.
In France bedbugs have infested more than one in ten households in recent years, according to a report by the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES).
Who to contact for help
A list of 480 professional exterminators has been released by the Ministry of Ecology.
French Health Minister Aurélien Rousseau says the companies are specially “qualified and trained to deal with bedbug infestations.”
The companies concerned must sign a “charter of good practice for the control of bedbugs” meaning as well as having dedicated training, they only use practices which respect both the environment and humans.
These specialists must also only charge fair rates for their services, which on average would be around €200–250 for a 25m² apartment.
How to get rid of bedbugs yourself
No bigger than an apple seed, bedbugs are brown or red in colour and they feed in the night, mainly on human blood.
The presence of bedbugs does not mean a lack of cleanliness and anyone can be a victim of a bedbug infestation in their home.
They tend to hide in material such as mattresses, sofas, and clothes, so if you believe you have an infestation the first step is to meticulously vacuum all surfaces in order to capture the parasites and their eggs.
Clean all laundry in a machine at a minimum temperature of 55°C. If you do not have a washing machine, you can put your clothes in a freezer at -17°C for at least 72 hours.
If possible, obtain a high-temperature dry steam appliance (at least 120°C) to clean all the nooks and crannies of your home