How sniffing and ‘glass-catching’ dogs in France help fight bedbugs

Bedbugs nearly disappeared from France in the 1950s due to the use of powerful pesticides that are now banned, but they have made an unwelcome comeback.

A survey by French health and safety agency Anses found that more than one in 10 French households will be affected between 2017 and 2022.

Emmanuel Grégoire, a deputy mayor of Paris, has suggested adding bedbug risk to standard home insurance policies. Separate policies already exist.

He also called for a pest control conference to be held to control what he called a “major surge”.

Read more: Insure your French home against bedbug misery for €2 a month

Why are bedbugs a problem?

The brown creatures are about the size of an apple seed and can live for more than a year. A female lays 5 to 15 eggs per day.

Although bedbugs are not disease carriers like mosquitoes, they feed on human and animal blood.

The itching caused by bites, which, unlike mosquitoes, often come together, can be excruciating.

They can be carried in clothing and luggage when traveling or buying second-hand bedding, furniture, books and clothing.

Bedbugs can also live behind picture frames, in wallpaper or flooring joints, and in piles of clutter.

Signs of infestation include bites on your skin, a musty, unpleasant odor and visible eggs or feces on soft furnishings.

Bed leg trap catches insects

Louis Gerondeau, 33, based in Angers, is the co-founder of BugSafe, a company that sells bedbug traps that screw into beds and can also be used as supports.

The trap contains a container with a textured exterior so bedbugs can climb up, but the interior is too smooth to climb out.

“It took me a long time to figure out what was causing the bites I had with my partner,” he said.

“When I figured it out, I made the same mistakes many people make: doing things myself or calling in professionals who weren’t serious.”

Photo: Louis Gerondeau, 33, is co-founder of BugSafe; Credit: Bugsafew

He said BugSafe, which costs €99 for a package of four bedded ‘catcher’ legs, should be seen as a preventive measure.

“There is no single treatment that works for bedbugs.”

Non-chemical ways to deter them include putting double-sided adhesive tape on the feet of beds to prevent the bugs from climbing up, or using strong-smelling essential oils like peppermint to repel them.

Sniffing dogs can detect even a single bedbug

Trained detection dogs are increasingly used to identify infestations.

A list of accredited dog detection companies can be found here Here.

Among them dogscan.frHe said his dogs sniff out pests similar to the way police use to detect explosives or drugs.

“Our dogs are trained to detect a single bedbug,” said co-founder Julie Gaultier.

“If you bring just one bedbug when you return from vacation, he may find plenty of bedbugs.”

Dogscan.fr prices start from €240 including taxes.

Like other dog detection services, the cost depends on the size of your property.

hotel and guest rooms Owners are charged based on the number of rooms.

Read more: How much does it cost to get rid of a bedbug infestation in France?

Government advice on bedbugs

If you detect an infestation, the Department of Health recommends removing all bedding and placing it in a sealed bag and transferring it to the washing machine.

Wash at above 60°C before tumble drying for at least 30 minutes.

Store clean bed linens in a new plastic bag until needed.

Scrub your bedding with a stiff brush to remove live insects and eggs, then vacuum all surfaces near the area thoroughly, paying attention to crevices and cracks.

You can also use steam (at least 120°C) to clean the corners and crevices of beds and furniture.

Deep cold can help: Items that cannot be easily washed at high temperatures can be frozen at -20°C for 72 hours.

There are many insecticide-based products available online, from plates to fumigator sprays. Prices start from around €7.

Anses considers insecticides to be a last resort and recommends that people not use such products themselves but instead seek medical attention. approved bed bug exterminator (accredited bedbug exterminator).

They charge on a per square meter basis, but the larger the property to be covered, the lower the price per m2.

This connection can help you find an exterminator near you.

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