France had to close seven schools because of a bedbug problem, as reported by Education Minister Gabriel Attal on Friday.
According to Attal, “Bedbugs were found at various levels in… I believe 17 institutions, and currently, seven institutions are closed for this reason.” He shared this information during an interview with France 5 television.
This situation has prompted the French government to hold a series of meetings this week to address the increasing number of reported bedbug cases. This issue arises at a time when France is hosting the Rugby World Cup and preparing for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Earlier on Friday, the Education Ministry stated to AFP that five schools, with a total of 1,500 students, had to be closed. Earlier this week, authorities had announced the closure of two schools—one in Marseille and the other in Villefranche-sur-Saone outside Lyon in southeastern France—for cleaning.
Attal emphasized the need for an immediate response, stating, “We have almost 60,000 institutions, and we’re only talking about a few dozen here, but it’s true that cases are piling up. An immediate response is needed, so that we can have institutions treated within 24 hours.” To facilitate this, a list of “approved and recognized” companies has been prepared in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and regional health agencies. This list will help school authorities quickly contact pest control services.
In addition to schools, a municipal library in the northern city of Amiens had to be closed for several days due to bedbugs detected in public reading spaces. The city’s mayor, Brigitte Foure, informed AFP that a sniffer dog found no trace of the pests after the library was treated.
Bedbug problems have affected approximately one-tenth of all French households over the past few years, often requiring costly pest control operations that may need to be repeated.
Although bedbugs have been observed in various public places, including the Paris metro, high-speed trains, and Charles De Gaulle Airport, individual cases have not been confirmed by the authorities. RMC TV reported that a probe by Paris transport operator RATP found no bedbugs on its services.