Irish rugby fans warned about threat of bed bugs as Paris grapples with infestation

Irish Rugby Fans Warned About Threat Of Bed Bugs As Paris Grapples With Infestation
Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on human blood, usually when people are asleep. Photo: AFP via Getty
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Tomas Doherty

Irish rugby fans are being warned about the threat of bed bugs following recent reports of significant infestations across the French capital.

Thousands of Ireland fans are expected to descend on Paris this weekend for the team's Rugby World Cup pool game against Scotland at the Stade de France.


Social media users have been publishing footage of the insects crawling around in high-speed trains and the Paris metro, alongside a rash of online articles about bed bugs in cinemas and even Charles de Gaulle airport.

In a report published in July, health agency Anses said that between 2017 and 2022, bedbugs had infested more than one in ten French households.

Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on human blood, usually when people are asleep, and are notorious for their ability to hitchhike and infest new locations.

The parasites are prolific breeders, and once they attach themselves to clothing, luggage or furniture, they can quickly infest rooms and vehicles.


Due to their size, bed bugs can hide in places where they are difficult to spot, such as small cracks and crevices. Bed bugs can often be found in mattresses, behind wallpaper, under skirting boards, luggage, bed frames and headboards.

Pest control company Rentokil has advised travellers to check for the presence of dark stains on mattresses from bed bug excreta often referred to as 'faecal spotting'. It also said visitors to Paris should be cautious of any unpleasant, sweet, sickly scents in a room, to inspect bedding for small dark blood spots as well as checking key areas including bed frames, mattresses and wardrobes for shed exoskeletons, or even live bugs.

The blood-sucking insects have been spotted in the Paris metro, high-speed trains and at Charles de Gaulle Airport, with disgusted travellers posting videos on social media. Photo: AFP via Getty

Colm Moore, area technical manager for Rentokil, emphasised the importance of vigilance when travelling: "Bed bugs can be a nightmare for people travelling. They are elusive and hitchhike their way into new places through luggage, clothing, and other personal items.


"It is crucial for anyone travelling, especially for the Rugby World Cup, to be aware of the signs of bed bug infestations and take preventive measures.

"Prevention is the best defence against bed bugs. By staying vigilant and taking these precautions, travellers can help reduce the risk of bringing these unwanted pests back home with them."

Top tips for avoiding bed bugs

  • Check your room before unpacking but don’t put your luggage on the floor or bed.
  • Use luggage racks or place your luggage in the bath or shower as hard surfaces make it more difficult for bed bugs to nestle in and hide.
  • Hanging your clothes in the wardrobe rather than using drawers.
  • Packing items in sealed plastic bags can provide extra protection.
  • Wash and dry clothing at high temperatures when you return home, as bed bugs cannot survive extreme heat.
  • If you suspect bed bugs are present in your room then contact hotel management immediately.

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