Lapland tourism industry braces for bedbug infestation

A file photo of a bedbug on display at the Hygiene Premium, pest control shop, in Paris. (Miguel Medina/AFP via Getty Images)

Bed bugs were very rare in Lapland 15 years ago, but they are now found a few times a month, says one Lapland pest control worker.

Finnish Lapland is about to enter what is expected to be a record-breaking tourist season for both domestic and international travellers.

Many of the tourists will come from the United Kingdom and France, where there has been international media attention directed towards Paris’ bedbug ‘scourge’, according to The Guardian.

The hysteria around bedbugs has put hotels in the northern Finnish region on high alert.

Pest control business operator Seppo Parviainen from Kemijärvi told Yle that the bedbug problem has grown slowly in Lapland.

“Up until 15 years ago, bedbugs were very rare in Lapland. Now there are at least three cases a month in the region,” Parviainen said.

Parviainen recalled a job in northern Lapland where the hotel had been trying to cope with a bedbug problem for months. When Parviainen was called in, the bedbugs had already spread to eight rooms.

“It was a difficult task for me,” Parviainen noted.

Petri Metsälä, an entomologist and development manager at pest control company Anticimex, said that bedbugs are occasionally found in Finnish hotels and the coming winter tourist season will be a challenge.

“Lots of people from all over the world are constantly coming and going. A potential bedbug problem should be detected quickly and responded to immediately,” Metsälä said.

French bedbugs developing resistance

In France, the pests have been targeted with poisons to which they seem to have become resistant, one of the contributing factors to their population boom in the French capital.

Parviainen and Metsälä both said their companies do not use conventional poisons against bedbugs.

“We use a lot of heat and powder, where there is no actual chemical in the mix. The powder is so fine that when the bug walks through it, it dies. So you can’t build up resistance to the powder,” Metsälä explained, adding that bedbugs die in temperatures over 60 degrees Celsius – so for instance heating bedding materials in a sauna often does the trick.

Related stories from around the North:

CanadaAirlines’ new routes from N.W.T. to Ontario can capitalize on int’l tourism: expert, CBC News

Iceland: Iceland moving ahead on better ways to manage tourism & safeguard protected areas, Eye on the Arctic

Russia: Old icebreakers eye upgrades for Murmansk-Vladivostok tourism, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Reindeer herding affected by increased tourism in Swedish mountains, Radio Sweden

Yle News

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