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Bed bugs, those invisible pests that could ruin your vacation

Bed bugs, those invisible pests that could ruin your vacation These tiny bloodsuckers are often brought in from hotel rooms, hostels, bungalows or rental houses. Once they have taken up residence at home, getting rid of them is not easy.

Bed bugs are on the rise in Europe, and in France in particular. After nearly disappearing in the 1950s, they are making a comeback due to the increase in the number of international travelers and the appearance of insecticide-resistant bugs.

And as they are tiny (5 mm long maximum), we do not always notice their presence on our vacation spot. So, we bring them back in the suitcase and we infest our house on the way back without realizing it. You can also find some at home at the start of the school year if you have rented your house to vacationers.

Careful inspection required upon arrival

Before unpacking, inspect the rental room scrupulously to check for bed bugs. These flattened brown insects, which look a bit like apple seeds, are not easy to flush out. They can leave small black stains on the sheets but if these have just been changed, it is impossible to spot them upon arrival in the bedding. So you have to look in the box spring, the headboard, the bedspread, the curtains, the rugs, the cushions, the armchairs

Also look around sockets, light switches and door hinges. If you find one or two suspicious insects, notify reception and immediately ask to change rooms or bungalows (avoiding the one located next door). To be on the safe side, leave your clothes in your suitcase as closet drawers and shelves can also harbor bedbugs.

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When returning home, essential precautions

When you return, do not put your suitcase on the bed and wash everything in it at 60 degrees , even the clothes you haven't worn. Bed bugs are indeed destroyed at high temperatures . Fragile textiles can be just ironed or placed in the freezer for 3 days at -20°C. Do not store the suitcase - if possible - in your bedroom, but in the cellar or in the garage.

If you have still brought a family of bedbugs back from vacation, you will know it soon by spotting itchy red bites on your calves, arms or chest in the morning when you wake up. "Bedbugs will not necessarily be visible in the sheets, says Dr. Fabien Squinazi, former director of the hygiene laboratory of the city of Paris. But you can confirm their presence if small black spots (their droppings) or fine streaks of blood are visible".

What to do if your home is infected?

It is better to act without delay, before bedbugs proliferate further. The National Vector Expertise Center (CNEV) recommends carefully vacuuming all parts , not only parquet but also bed bases, sofas, baseboards and the inside of cabinets. So that the little squatters do not come out of the vacuum cleaner, take out the bag, close it well and throw it immediately in an outdoor trash can. Then machine wash all bed linen and pajamas at 60°C.

If these drastic measures are not enough, contact a pest eradication specialist because insecticides sold in supermarkets are not very effective . Plan two successive interventions (by biocide, steam or heat) two weeks apart.

To find a professional near you, visit or

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