Paris Fashion Week: Bed Bug Hysteria

The unexpected social media sensation of Paris Fashion Week – bed bugs. Influencers spark bed bug panic from Paris. Should people be concerned or is it simply a social media frenzy?

Over the past few weeks the internet and media has been inundated with videos and reports of a bed bug infestation in Paris. This began when TikTok influencers attending Paris fashion week began posting sightings of the bugs on the city’s public transport, at movie theatres and at the Charles de Gaulle airport.

@tinxUmmmmm♬ original sound – Whitney Stone-Steen

After these initial videos went viral, more people in Paris started posting videos of their own experiences discovering bites after waking up in Parisian hotels. Similarly, videos have been posted of Parisian Streets lined with dumped mattresses to be taken away.

@thesun Bedbugs have also been spotted on London tubes resulting in some commuters refusing to sit down : SWNS #france #bedbugs #news #matress #fyp ♬ Tiny Insects – DJ BAI

However, it is unclear whether this is due to actual infestations in Parisian homes, or just a fearful reaction to the social media frenzy. Soon the bug problem had occupied people’s minds internationally and thousands of people were posting their fears about the bugs traveling overseas, specifically to London and New York following the end of Fashion Week. 

There have even been videos posted of potential sightings of the pesky bugs on the London overground and warnings for Londoners not to sit down on their daily commutes.

@kasknt london is fully infested #bedbugs #paris ♬ original sound – lettuceleaf

The social media hype reached the international press, as newspapers and news websites worldwide began posting about the supposed epidemic. The panic is understandable given that bed bugs spread like wildfire and are notoriously hard to get rid of when they have entered your home. 

However, is this a real threat to public health or simply the result of a social media trend that has taken off overnight and caused a massively exaggerated impression of events? The French Health Minister Aurélien Rousseau urged the public to stay calm over bedbugs in Paris. In an interview with France Inter on Tuesday the 3rd of October, he reassured citizens that there is “no reason for a general panic” and that France has not been “invaded by bedbugs.”

Although, the Paris Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Grégoire has asked the French government to take any necessary action ahead of the 2024 Olympics, which are set to take place in the city next summer. 

​​In response to Londoners’ fears, Sadiq Khan has reassured the public that he is in contact with TFL to put measures in place, such as regular cleaning on tubes, buses and the overground to assure an infestation doesn’t break out in London.

Pest experts interviewed in the general media have mostly agreed that bed bugs are an issue that have been around for a long time, and when they end up in the media it is only because people are starting to focus their attention on them. BBC correspondent Hugh Schofield reporting from Paris similarly pointed out that bed bugs increase over the summer every year.


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Overall, it appears that there has been a problem with bed bugs in Paris, but it is nothing new and it is more of a social media craze than a real cause for concern. If you or anyone you know are feeling anxious about the bed bugs, it is probably advisable to take a break from TikTok – like any social media trend this will likely all be forgotten in a few weeks. 

[Feature Image Creds: Mashable]

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