The Common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) in metropolitan France. Survey on the attitudes and practices of private- and public-sector professionals

Abstract

The Common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, had virtually disappeared from France in the 1950s; however, a worldwide resurgence of bed bugs (C. lectularius and C. hemipterus) has been observed since the 1990s. To document modern pest control activities for the management of bed bugs, a survey was conducted in metropolitan France among the two main categories of professionals regularly called upon to deal with the control of infestations: Municipal Health and Safety Services (MHSSs) and private Pest Management Companies (PMCs). These professionals responded to a questionnaire targeting their knowledge, attitude and practices related to the process for diagnosing a bed bug infestation and the processes taken to actually control an infestation. There were 68 responses received from MHSSs and 51 from the PMCs. The responses indicate that every single département (French administrative division) in metropolitan France has witnessed at least one intervention for bed bugs. Among the criteria considered sufficient to confirm a bed bug infestation, direct observation of bugs was the most commonly cited response. Faced with an infestation, most PMCs used a combination of non-chemical and chemical methods, and systematically performed two treatments. This survey is the first of professionals involved in bed bug control in metropolitan France and confirms the growing importance of bed bugs as a public health pest. Establishing a database to monitor this emerging pest would improve the understanding of the distribution of these insects, help guide educational requirements, identify research needs and assist in ensuring that the most appropriate control practices are undertaken.

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