French Bedbug Plague Hits Spain

Europe On Alert Following French Bedbug Plague

Stock image of bedbug. Credit: 7th Son Studio/

The outbreak of bed bugs that is currently plaguing France has already put many European countries on alert and according to reports has already spread to Spain.

Recent images of bedbugs infesting public transport, cinemas, and hospitals in Paris have gone viral. Emmanuel Gregoire, Paris’s deputy mayor, highlighted the severity on national TV, stating, ‘no one is safe from this insect, you can catch it anywhere and take it home, not detect it until it has multiplied and expanded.’ In response, sniffer dogs are now patrolling French trains and the Paris metro.

Growing European Concern

While Paris grapples with this issue, the ripple effects are felt further afield. According to a report from ABC, Spain is already experiencing the invasion.

The National Association of Environmental Health Companies recently announced the escalating problem. ‘They have been with us for several years, the problem is that there are more and more and they are not going to stop increasing,’ says Oscar Soriano, a leading scientist at the CSIC.

He notes that while initial infestations were found in prisons, the bugs are now infiltrating homes.

A Historical Resurgence

Environmental Health specialists have raised alarms, suggesting the current infestation levels are unparalleled since pre-World War II. The rising number of cases is now a public health concern, affecting countless individuals.

Often likened to vampires, bedbugs are nocturnal pests feeding on human blood. Roughly the size of a fruit seed, they’re most commonly found on bed linens. ‘As they are usually white, you can see small brown spots, which are the faeces of the bedbug, which defecates while sucking blood.

If you see these samples, it means that the insect is just another roommate,’ warns the scientist. While their bites can be irritating, causing itchiness and discolouration, they aren’t linked to any severe diseases.

Factors Fuelling The Spread

Several reasons contribute to the bedbug explosion. Globalisation and increased tourism post-pandemic have played significant roles. ‘They stick to our clothes or even suitcases, and are planted anywhere in the world within 24 hours.

There is no longer any barrier that prevents its dispersion,’ explains Soriano. Warm temperatures, ideal for bedbug survival, and their growing resistance to pesticides further exacerbate the problem.

The Return Of A Past Adversary

Historically, DDT, a potent insecticide, was effective against bedbugs. However, due to its long-lasting environmental impact, its use was discontinued. ‘Now the residual effect of DDT has disappeared and many species that were previously controlled by the chemical are returning to our countries.’ Soriano emphasises the need for environmentally-friendly insecticides to combat the resurgence of pests like bedbugs.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.