Paris is battling an infestation of bloodsucking bedbugs on trains and in movie theaters as the city gets ready to host the 2024 Olympics

Bed bugs are in plastic tubes for training purposes for dogs.
Bed bugs placed in plastic tubes for training purposes for dogs. Frank Molter/Picture Alliance via Getty Image
  • Paris is battling a citywide bedbug infestation.

  • The pests have been spotted on public transport and in movie theaters in the French capital.

  • The bedbug invasion comes just months before Paris is due to host the 2024 Olympics.

Paris is battling a major bedbug infestation, with reports of the bloodsucking pests being spotted in the French capital's movie theaters, trains, and at Charles-de-Gaulle Airport.

Videos posted on social media appear to show the tiny insects crawling over seats on a commuter train and on the Paris metro.

Last month, a cinema-goer posted images on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, of the angry-looking bites she said she suffered after attending a Paris movie theater.

UGC Cinemas posted a letter earlier this month apologizing to customers and outlined planned emergency procedures, which included high-temperature steam treatment and inspections carried out by specially trained dogs.

French authorities are under pressure to tackle the problem ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics, which is due to take place next summer. The Games are expected to attract 15 million spectators.

Bedbugs feed on the blood of humans and animals

"Faced with the scourge of bedbugs, we must act," Paris Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Grégoire wrote on X earlier this week. "I ask the Prime Minister @Elisabeth_Borne to organize a conference on the fight against invasive species. This is a public health problem where all stakeholders must be brought to the table."

The French transport minister Clement Beaune said Friday he would assemble transport operators next week to discuss the actions  to "reassure and protect" passengers.

The doors to the 2024 Paris Olympics headquarters, with a sign reading "Paris 2024."
The 2024 Paris Olympics headquarters.Stephanie Lecocq/Reuters

Bedbugs are small wingless insects, around 5 to 7 millimeters in length, that feed on the blood of humans and animals. Often found in bedding and furniture, they can easily travel on clothing and luggage. While they are not necessarily considered dangerous or spreaders of disease, their bites can cause itchy spots.

More than one in 10 French households was infested by bed bugs between 2017 and 2022, according to Anses, the French Agency for Food, Environmental, and Occupational Health and Safety. Anses said the recent uptick in bedbug infestations was due to the rise in travel and bedbugs' increasing resistance to insecticides.

Anses calculated that the cost of bedbug infestations to the nation's health was 83 million euros, or $87.8 million, in 2019. That comprised 79 million euros associated with a decline in quality of life, sleep disorders, and the impact to mental health, one million euros connected with time taken off work, and three million euros toward the cost of physical care.

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