Have you heard the news?
Paris is positively teeming with bedbugs.
Yep, this autumn, the blood-sucking insects have been crawling all over the French capital, taking a bite out of citizens and travelers alike.
In addition to being spotted on beds in hotels and private residences—precisely where you would expect the little critters to be hanging out—there have been bedbug sightings on buses & trains, in airports and even at movie theaters. (Hey, I know Barbenheimer was a big deal, but this is ridiculous.)
How did we find out about this infestation? It's 2023, how else? Videos of supposed bedbug sightings were shared via wobbly social media posts, gaining traction with shocked viewers and amateur exterminators alike.
Predictably, the bedbug content set the algorithm alight, going viral and spawning memes and many a reaction video from influencers who wanted to talk about bedbugs, you know, "because a lot of you are asking".
Then, the story swept into traditional media.
What followed was a slew of news stories about the "invasion", the panic surrounding it and how it all comes a mere 10 months before millions of people from all over the world are set to descend on the City of Light for the Summer Olympics.
People wondered why this was happening now. Was it because of the Rugby World Cup? Paris Fashion Week? Or were bedbugs simply just getting out there and traveling again post-Covid?
The fervor reached such a level that, back in early October, it was reported by Reuters that Emmanuel Gregoire, Paris's deputy mayor, said in a letter to Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne that "The state urgently needs to put an action plan in place against this scourge as France is preparing to welcome the Olympic and Paralympic games in 2024,".
Social media apps on phone (Photo via: Wachiwit / iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus).
Or was it all just a bunch of hot air?
Almost as soon as the "crisis" reared its head, reports also started to surface that the whole thing might just be a bunch of malarkey.
For some strange reason, that information went less viral.
The New Scientist reported that "There is no scientific evidence of any increase in infestation rates this year, despite all the media attention".
They also added that Dr. Arzeki Izri from Sorbonne Paris North University thinks that "rates in 2023 are probably about the same – and are roughly equivalent to rates in other major cities in Europe, Asia, North America and Australia."
In other words, Paris always has some bedbugs hanging around—as does almost every destination.
To add a strange twist to things, there was a report last week that some French intelligence officials suspect that Russia had a role in spreading misinformation.
In short, while bedbugs are a
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