A hotel wing in Athens was closed due to bed bugs

bed bugs athens hotel

"Unfortunately, we have an appearance of bedbugs," the president of Food and Tourism Workers Giorgos Hotzoglou, referring to a hotel on the Athens Riviera.

As he said on Open TV, "A hotel in a seaside suburb of Attica was forced to close a wing to proceed with disinfestation".

Referring to the bed bug epidemic in France and England, he said: "It is obvious that some of our guests, mainly from France, carried the insects, and unfortunately, they also got stuck in the hotel."

"I don't know how effective this is, but among other problems, there has been this," Hotzoglou emphasised.

"There is a big problem with mattresses in hotels. In the army, we burned them, but I don't know how a hotel with such a problem can handle it. They have seeped into the mattresses, and changing a mattress in a room is a cost,” he added.

As Hotzoglou notes, "Large hotels periodically replace their mattresses. So far, it's a hotel that has a problem."

For the blissfully unaware, bedbugs are small wingless insects that bite humans and feast on our blood, often at night. They find us by sensing the carbon dioxide in our breath and our body heat. While bedbugs can carry a large number of pathogens, they don’t seem to transmit diseases to humans, though they do produce itchy welts.

In recent weeks, viral videos showing insects that look like bedbugs on the Paris metro and trains, and sightings of bedbugs in movie theaters and at the airport, have fueled fears of a widespread outbreak across the city. People have been panicking.

“These little insects are spreading despair in our country,” a French politician told Parliament earlier this month, urging the prime minister to act. (She brought a vial of bed bugs with her into the chamber, presumably in an effort to strengthen her point.)

Elevating these concerns is the looming Summer Olympics, which will take place in Paris just 10 months from now. Millions of people will descend on Paris for the Games. And you know what likes millions of people? Bedbugs.

The extent of the current “outbreak” isn’t clear, and most of the sightings have not been confirmed. Videos, news reports, and memes have almost certainly made the problem seem far bigger than it really is (go figure!).

But this isn’t exactly good news. Paris certainly does have bed bugs. So does Chicago, New York, and every other major city in the world. These bloodsuckers are, unfortunately, everywhere.

It gets worse: Over the last two decades, there’s been a “global resurgence” in bedbugs, according to a recent scientific review, following lows in the mid-20th century. “The resurgence has been widespread, affecting virtually every sector of society,” the authors wrote.

The main reason why it’s boom time for bedbugs, according to the review, is that they’ve evolved resistance to many pesticides, our main line of defense. Indeed, these critters are now resistant to “most of the major classes of insecticides,” the review states, including pyrethroids, which is still one of the most commonly used insecticides.

They’ve also developed resistance to DDT, which attacks insects in a similar way to pyrethroids.

“Insecticides, especially the use of pyrethroids, are useless,” said Chow-Yang Lee, a professor of urban entomology at the University of California Riverside and a co-author of the recent review. “That will never get rid of bedbugs.”

There’s also some evidence that powders like diatomaceous earth — which is designed to kill the bugs by drying them out — no longer work either. At least some of the insects have evolved resistance to desiccation, Lee said.

That doesn’t mean bedbugs are impossible to destroy. High temperatures, around 113 degrees Fahrenheit and above, kill the insects, and research suggests that they aren’t likely to evolve heat tolerance. So do extremely cold temperatures.

Fumigation using highly toxic chemicals and insecticide combinations can work too, Lee said, especially when they’re used repeatedly.


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