“No one is safe.” These were the chilling words of Paris’s deputy mayor, Emmanuele Gregoire, as a plague of bed bugs descended upon his city.
In recent weeks and months, there have been numerous sightings of the bugs on Paris’s trains, buses and cinemas, among other public locations. Investigations by the transport authorities have yet to be conclusive, but the deputy mayor acknowledged that infestations have been steadily getting worse over the last few years. While the local government has made an effort to clamp down within the city, the problem – according to Gregoire – is that millions of people pour into Paris each day, and “bedbugs do not stop at the outskirts of the city”.
As well as being itchy and unpleasant, bed bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of. If you speak to someone who’s been blessed by their presence, they say that you basically have to run all of your possessions through a thresher, burn your house to the ground and then hire a team of TikTok witches to perform an elaborate incantation on the ruins.
Already, the news of the French infestation is sending fear and paranoia across the Channel, not helped by the fact that it just held Paris Fashion Week. Do we need to start quarantining attendees, dowsing them with chemical showers upon entry into the UK? Would it be a wise precaution to start avoiding our model, photographer and designer friends? Maybe…
But should Londoners be concerned with a comfortable journey on the fabric seats of the Eurostar just two hours away? Yes is the short answer. Pest control specialists in London told The Independent that with a typical lifespan of 4-6 months and a penchant for hitching rides in dirty suitcases, it is very possible they can make the 2hr 16min trip from the City of Love.
David Cain, founder and MD of Bed Bugs LTD and a qualified microbiologist, told The Independent that bedbugs could be arriving from Paris “without a shadow of a doubt”.
“I have known people go on day trips to Paris, not even staying in hotels or other high-risk activities, and come back with them. Paris has been a popular link for the last six years,” he said.
If you’ve been unfortunate enough to catch bed bugs, Cain advises: “Baking soda and an ice cube, make a paste and apply it to the skin for 30 seconds.”
What’s even more terrifying is that bedbugs are classed as mutants. Scientists have found that the bedbug possesses genes from other organisms, which makes the creatures – which have been around since the age of the dinosaurs – even harder to kill. There are 400 types of bacteria that can be found in and on bedbugs, which appear to help keep them alive by fending off viruses, pesticides, and other harmful substances.
However, there is actually some good news. Bed bugs do not spread from person to person, so keeping other people’s luggage the hell away from you should do the trick.
Still, you should probably get your hazmat suits ready, because it could be only a matter of time before London has been taken over by these prehistoric bugs.