“They were running at us in broad daylight” | EUROtoday

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Plore than the bodily after-effects (bites and itching), individuals who have suffered a bedbug infestation in their condominium first report psychological harm. Lurking in the field spring and the seams of the mattress, blood-sucking bugs come out at night time to sting their sufferer a number of occasions in order to get their dose of blood.

The bed room, a spot of relaxation usually synonymous with safety, turns into, as soon as the sunshine is turned off, a spot of hysteria which might flip right into a nightmare. Lack of sleep, emotions of being bitten, social isolation… Simon* admits, he has considered bedbugs each day since 2021. It began with bites, unattainable to differentiate from these of mosquitoes. But a doubt assails him. “I lifted my mattress and they were there,” breathes the thirty-year-old.

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The begin of a everlasting battle that may final six lengthy months. “I called an exterminator, but without having the reflex to empty my apartment. » He first throws his bed and sleeps on an inflatable mattress, in his 18 m² room. Two vain interventions later, Simon trashed all his furniture, and sent bags of clothes to his parents, more precisely in their freezer, for several days. “I had two outfits, no coats, in a completely empty apartment, all that was missing was hunger for it to be Oliver Twist », manages to quip Simon, whose life is then divided between work and the laundromat.

The scenario is the same for Éva*. The first bites date from November 2022, in his apartment in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. “I said to myself that it was weird to have mosquitoes at that time,” the younger girl remembers. His colleagues then inform him about bedbugs. “I did some research and then, in the evening, I lifted the sheet. There was one. » Head to the sofa to go to sleep, while the clothes and bed linen are all put in the machine at 60°C. “I warned my landlord who sent me a can of insecticide. » But after the treatment, a new bite appears.

Serve as bait for bedbugs

The two young Parisians do not know each other, but describe the same experience, the same helplessness while waiting for the treatments to work. “You do everything in your power, but it doesn’t work,” Simon despairs. Between two insecticide remedies, tenants should sleep on their mattress once more to function “bait” for bedbugs. “The product is placed on the floor which should not be washed for several weeks,” explains Éva, “it is when they come out at night to feed that a large majority of the bedbugs will be eliminated. »

If Simon has no longer had a bedbug infestation, Éva suffered a new one in July 2023. In the seams of the mattress and in the headboard, bedbugs are swarming: “I started shaking. » This time, her entire apartment is infested, even the sofa where she managed to find some rest and tranquility. “They were running at us in broad daylight, on our arms and legs. » Three passes of insecticides, spaced every 15 days and costing 180 euros each, are necessary to find peace in this month of September.

“I’m on the alert”

Bedbug infestation, in addition to its monetary affect in eliminating them, is dear psychologically and socially. Before going to mattress, Simon can now spend a number of hours inspecting his sheets and his mattress. “I’m on the alert,” he explains, “we’re losing a form of carelessness. » The nights are short, restless. A light touch, a fleeting impression of contact with something becomes a source of anxiety. Quickly turn on the light, inspect the skin, the bed, the sheets, turn it off. This pattern lasts on average two months in infested homes, before being completely rid of bedbugs.

Social life also takes a hit. During the summer holidays, Éva did not go out, or did not invite anyone to her house, for fear of “contaminating” family members or changing into contaminated once more. “I have only gone to the cinema once since 2021, I no longer sit in the metro”, lists Simon, affected by a type of melancholy. Although he’s higher right now, the bedbugs have had a profound affect on him. “At work, if I sit at someone else’s desk, someone who is stronger than me, I will inspect the chair, from the cushion to the armrests. » “I can’t say that I had post-traumatic syndrome, but it wasn’t far off,” analyzes Éva, sufferer of uncontrolled crying assaults through the day. “I’ll probably try hypnosis,” Simon thinks.

* First names have been modified