They are small and bite and are difficult to get rid of: bed bugs are suddenly a big topic of conversation in France and are also a concern for the government. It all started during the summer holidays when there was a stir about bedbugs in a Paris cinema. After a visitor told the newspaper “Le Parisien” how she came out of the hall with her back full of bites, the UGC cinema chain felt compelled to apologize. The bugs appear everywhere people are and they are being fought. Hot steam is used and a dog that specializes in insects then inspects the rooms, it said.

Reports on the unpleasant topic, including photos of bed bugs under the magnifying glass, have now apparently turned some of the population into veritable bed bug detectives.

Alleged bugs are reported on social media, including shaky video images. “10 or 15 minutes before arriving in Lille-Flandres, I noticed a small beetle that was running around on the seat,” said passenger Irina, describing her journey on the TGV high-speed train to the broadcaster BFMTV. “I wondered if it was a bed bug . I filmed it and sent it to two friends who confirmed it.” A young passenger also posted a suspected bug from a train from Marseille to Paris.

The bug videos, which have been viewed millions of times, have brought the state railway SNCF onto the scene. There has been no confirmed presence of bed bugs on TGV trains in recent months, it said. “This is a risk where we are particularly vigilant, we take every report seriously and no risks are taken,” said the SNCF. The trains would be consistently disinfected with an eye on insects.

Last Wednesday there was a bug report from the heart chamber of capital life, the Paris metro. A driver on line 8 was sure that he had discovered one of the parasites in the driver’s cab. The RATP transport company reported that the train had been taken out of service, but no bugs had actually been found on the train or other means of transport. But the city administration, the union and politicians had long since become involved.

“The state must urgently bring together all concerned actors to develop an action plan that can deal with this scourge as the whole of France prepares to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024,” wrote the first deputy of the Paris mayor, Emmanuel Grégoire Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. In view of the bugs, you don’t need to fall into psychosis, but you do have to face the problem, said the local politician in a TV interview.

Regarding public transport, Transport Minister Clément Beaune addressed the bug issue on Friday. Beaune said he would discuss the measures taken to serve travelers with the transport companies next week. It’s about reassuring and protecting people.

Bed bugs, which virtually disappeared decades ago, are also an issue again in Germany, partly due to more mobility and a lot of travel. The bugs suck blood and live in inhabited, enclosed spaces. They hide in beds, furniture joints or cracks. For example, they are transported to other places in luggage, but also through worn clothing. Their bite can cause severe itching. Experts recommend checking for bedbugs in hotel beds in advance and shaking out luggage and clothing in the shower when you return home.