Red pimples, intense itching. And, above all, the feeling of being overwhelmed and the urge to run away. While the summer holidays have started well and many French people have rented accommodation or rented their own for this summer period, the deputy La France Insoumise Mathilde Panot again alerted on Wednesday July 19 to the problem posed by bed bugs, these harmful insects which proliferate from bedding to bedding thanks to human movement.

The MP who says she was laughed at when she has already addressed the issue several times, relies on a report published Wednesday by the National Food Safety Agency (Anses). Over 300 pages, the report details the proliferation of an insect the size of an apple seed and hungry for human blood that reappeared in homes in the 1990s, and which in recent years has infested more than one in ten homes in France. Between 2017 and 2022, 11% of French households would have been infested, according to an Ipsos survey on which ANSES relies.

A scourge that persists, to the dismay of residents harassed by bites and forced to pay high costs for various control measures: 866 euros on average per household, for cleaning measures and treatments. Between 2017 and 2022, the overall cost of these measures for French households alone was 1.4 billion euros, or 230 million euros per year on average. While responsiveness is required to avoid the spread of bedbugs at home, the reaction of residents faced with the problem is often delayed, the fault of stigma, which prevents talking about it freely to those around you and thus limits prevention. The report also recognizes the psychological and even psychiatric consequences of bedbug invasions, such as sleep disorders, anxiety, feelings of panic, etc.).

To curb the spread of insects, the Agency calls for the establishment of a mandatory reporting mechanism and support for individuals through financial support, especially for low-income households. It is necessary, according to the organization, to prefer non-chemical methods such as treatment by dry heat or freezing. In the event of persistence of the infestation, it is advisable in the second place to call professional disinsection