THE FRENCH capital Paris is suffering from a plague of bed bugs affecting thousands of homes, hotels and businesses and the pest is also spreading in Spain.
The tiny insects, which feed on human and animal blood, have multiplied in recent years across Europe due to increased tourism, climate change and insecticide resistance.
According to data from pest control company Anticimex, reports of bedbugs in Spain have increased by 71% between January and September 2023 compared to the same period last year.
The most affected areas include cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, as well as inland regions of Catalunya, Aragon, the Valencian Community and the Balearic Islands.
Malaga’s Civil Hospital suffered a bed bug plague in August, which generated a health alert and a complaint from the UGT union.
Bed bugs are mainly spread by transporting people and infested objects, such as suitcases, clothes or furniture.
The situation has got so bad in parts of France that the government has announced a €4 million action plan.
It includes measures such as the creation of a free green number to advise citizens, the development of a national protocol for disinfection, the reinforcement of health controls and the training of professionals in the sector.
To prevent the spread of bed bugs, it is recommended to follow some basic guidelines, such as checking luggage and clothes when returning from a foreign trip, washing fabrics with hot water or even freezing them if they are suspected to be contaminated.
Mattresses and bed sheets should be inspected for stains or insects, and a professional pest control expert should be contacted if an infestation is detected.
To eliminate bedbugs requires specialist work, which could cost between €300 and €1,500 euros per room, depending on the degree of infestation and the method used.
Among the most effective techniques are heat, cold, steam or chemicals.
Many people around Spain have complained about a lack of resources and coordination to deal with bed bugs.
Some say that municipal services do not respond to their calls or that they are charged abusive fees.
Others claim that hotel and rental accommodation managers do not take responsibility for the problem, or even don’t mention that rooms have bed bugs.