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Should Vancouver travellers worry about the Paris bedbug situation? An expert weighs in

"They can be dormant for weeks and months without feeding."
Is the Paris bedbug situation something that Vancouver travellers need to consider before they book a trip?

Is there a widespread bedbug infestation in Paris? 

According to recent headlines, the City of Lights is apparently now a metropolis teeming with petite bloodsuckers -- but not everyone believes the hype. 

Westside Pest Control Owner Mike Londry is one of those people. Having dealt with pests for decades, the Vancouver-based expert says it is highly unlikely the critters descended on the city for Paris Fashion Week.

"Any time you have more people coming into a city you are more likely to have a greater chance of having a spread," he tells V.I.A., clarifying that he means an "increase in numbers" rather than a biblical infestation.

"There is not a big difference between now and six months ago and five years ago," he added.

There will be an uptick any time Taylor Swift, Beyonce or Coldplay comes to town, or when there is a big sporting event like the Olympics or the Indie 500. But that doesn't mean chaos will ensue. 

Instead, an increase in people may help bed bugs emerge rather than bringing in new ones. "Not only are people moving about but bedbugs will lay dormant," Londry explains, adding that they require blood to grow and breed.  

"They can be dormant for weeks and months without feeding. The more they feed the more they can procreate." 

If there is a plentiful food supply, the pests will multiply in greater numbers. Other animals, such as rats, experience similar population growth trends. 

Can I bring Paris bedbugs home with me?

Since bedbugs are alarming pests, many travellers fear that they will bring them back home with them after a trip. However, this is a very rare occurrence and would only happen in the case of a severe infestation.

"It's very unlikely -- unless it's extreme -- that they will jump on your suitcase. They are dormant during the day and active for only a couple of hours at night," Londry notes.

When you get into your room, put your luggage on the luggage rack and then check the bed. Pull back the sheets and sheets and look for evidence of adults. 

Bed bugs are attracted to warmth and CO2 and will generally congregate on the upper half of the bed near the bed board and in the mattress seems. They are about the size of a watermelon seed and tend to be brown or dark yellow, depending how how much they've been feeding. 

If you don't see evidence of adult bodies, you may see droppings, that "look like someone has taken a fine tip sharpie and dapped it in multiple locations," Londry highlights.

But the pest control expert says you shouldn't worry too much about the risk of bringing the pests home. 

"Keep travelling. It's fun, it's wonderful and it's good for our mental health," he says. 

"Just do that quick two-minute check before you put your suitcase on the bed and then enjoy yourself."