"These are small round or oval insects, which do not fly and which move fairly quickly, avoiding daylight." Their name ? Bedbugs. In a few years, these tiny beasts have become part of the daily life of an ever-increasing number of French people - up to 400,000 infected sites in 2018. "Gone are the days when we thought they were only precarious environments ", explains doctor Jimmy Mohamed, columnist of the program Sans Rendez-vous . "There are in hotels, there are in hospitals, there are in people ..." In short, there are bed bugs everywhere, so much so that the government has seized the topic last week. But good news: solutions exist, as well to guard against these insects whose bites often go by ten or fifteen, as to eliminate them in case of invasion.
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Daily bedbug habits
The bed bug is a nomadic insect, transported in particular by textiles and suitcases. Contrary to popular belief, its spread is not linked to a defect in hygiene. In other words: anyone can catch it, almost anywhere. Hence the need to take some simple habits, which can avoid many worries. "For example, you should never put your suitcase on the bed when you arrive in a hotel or holiday accommodation", explains for example the Minister responsible for the City and Housing Julien Denormandie.
Other advice: carefully examine second-hand furniture before installing it at home, watching out for small black spots around the feet, or even wash second-hand clothing, wherever it comes from. From 60 degrees, any bedbugs are eliminated.
Good reflexes to have in case of contamination
If despite these precautions, the insects are there, you must act quickly. "The French, when they undergo these bedbugs, are destitute, they do not know what to do", explains Julien Denormandie. A telephone number, 08 06 70 68 06 , and a dedicated site, stop-punaises.gouv.fr, are now made available by the government to find advice adapted to each situation.
Before embarking on sometimes costly procedures to eradicate insects, is it relevant to make a phone call to your insurer? For the moment, only one company takes care of this problem. But it could evolve. "In the long term, I think one of the solutions is to include the risk of bedbugs in housing insurance contracts," said the minister responsible for housing. "We agreed on a roadmap to be able to move forward on the subject."
Environmentally friendly solutions
To treat infected tissue, very cold or hot temperatures are drastic: more than 72 hours in a freezer, or a washing machine cycle - at least 60 degrees, therefore. There remain the furniture, the plinte, and all the nooks of the dwellings where the insects were able to lodge. And the treatments to make them disappear, in addition to being expensive, are often based on powerful insecticides involving leaving your apartment or house for 24 or 48 hours.
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But things are changing. "There is a new treatment that seems to work, based on eucalyptus oil, painless and harmless", explains doctor Jimmy Mohamed. Several companies offer products of this type, in the form of sprays to be sprayed every 15 days, to keep bedbugs away. They do not kill them but allow them to be kept at bay for several months .... And can therefore also find their use upstream, by spraying one's suitcase before going on vacation, for example.