Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for travelling but make sure you don’t bring home an unwanted gift in your luggage. The recent bed bug explosion is largely down to globalisation but with some preventative measures you can help stop the bug spreading.
Since I came to the UK seven months ago I’ve been bitten by the travel bug as well as the nasty bed bug. As per my posts so far, Milan, Rome and Ibiza have been checked off the list… so the question is where’s the perfect place to spend Christmas? Well according to some, France is the obvious choice.
Paris is considered the most romantic city in the world, the atmosphere is superb, the markets are divine, and wait for it… it snows! Hailing from New Zealand, I have only seen snow twice and have never experienced a cold, crisp Christmas. A white Christmas seems like something from a fairytale.
Paris was looking like the ideal location for a young couple at Christmas; it seemed to offer everything we wanted, the romance, the snow, the Eiffel Tower… However it turns out that’s not all that is on offer, they now also have bed bugs, which I guess is inevitable as Paris is the most visited city in Europe.
Headlines in the press scream ‘Paris bitten by New York – style bed bug scare’ and ‘Bed bug problem growing is Paris’ eeeeeek! In France the critters are called ‘Punaises de lit’ which does sound slightly more exciting doesn’t it? However I must not be fooled, they are still the same blood sucking creatures that invaded our apartment in Ibiza. While the issue has been played down until now, it was announced on ‘Radio Info’ that several hotels in Paris were now infested and one had gone as far as throwing out all furniture and carpet as a result of numerous complaints. An unnamed employee at the public health section of the Paris City Hall revealed that more then 600 premises had been treated for bed bugs this year which in a way is good news. If measures are being taken then the infestation is less likely to spread.
Due the surge in bed bugs across the globe I’ll be struggling to find a country free of bed bugs. They have reached the shores of my native New Zealand and after the Sydney Olympics in 2000 the Sydney Morning Herald reported a 5000% increase in treatment for bedbugs. In America NYC is badly affected and as illustrated in a recent blog, the bed bugs quickly hitchhiked to other cities across the States.
Christmas is a busy time of year for travelling so prevent bed bugs from spreading by following these measures:
- Don’t place bags on the bed.
- Check your mattress, headboard and base for tell-tale dark spots. If you see anything suspicious report it immediately and demand another room.
- Keep your suitcase zipped, especially if it is full of dirty laundry.
Remember, bed-bugs don’t discriminate and unlike cockroaches, mice and rats they are not attracted to hotels with poor hygiene standards. It’s just your blood they’re after.
Luckily bed bugs aren’t for life or for Christmas. They can be easily eradicated by a heat treatment or pesticides.