France launches bedbug hotline after insects make resurgence

Rory Sullivan
New research shows that bedbugs originated at least 100 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed Earth: Getty

The French government has started an anti-bedbug campaign following a rise in the number of infestations.

The insects were almost wiped out in France in the 1950s, but there has been a resurgence lately because of global travel and their new-found resistance to insecticides.

In response to the problem, the government launched a national campaign on Thursday which includes an information hotline and a website.

The website states that anyone can be affected and that the presence of bedbugs – known scientifically as Cimex lectularius – is not the result of unsanitary conditions.

Bedrooms and living rooms with sofas pose the greatest risk, as the insects like to live in dark areas.

The creatures, which are roughly the size of an apple seed, feed on blood and their bites leave red itchy pimples on the skin.

Although bedbugs can bite up to 90 times over one evening, they can survive for months without feeding.

The government advises that the insects can be best avoided through measures such as washing second-hand clothes at temperatures higher than 60C.

The problem is particularly bad in Paris.

Former mayoral hopeful Benjamin Griveaux, who recently stepped down from the election race after a sex tape scandal, had made bedbugs part of his campaign – pledging to eradicate them from the city in his first 100 days in office.

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