Public and media interest in bed bugs-Europe 2023

Brimblecombe, Peter, Mueller, Gabi and Querner, Pascal (2024) Public and media interest in bed bugs-Europe 2023. Current Research in Insect Science, 5. ISSN 2666-5158

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In late summer of 2023 bed bug (Cimex lectularius) infestations received much media attention especially from Paris Fashion Week (2023–09–25/2023–10–03). Concern in France has grown in recent years and the public may have been sensitised from the recent release of the report Les punaises de lit: impacts, prévention et lutte from the Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire. Additionally, families returning from summer travel for the start of the school year (2023–09–04) may have brought Cimex spp. with them. A belief, typically false, that they are associated with poor housekeeping and the commercial sensitivity of infestations makes quantitative data on the occurrence and frequency of the insects difficult to find. Often it was based on the number of consultations with physicians and enquiries about bed bugs. Our study has used Google search frequency (Google Trends) to assess the growth and spread of public interest. It found that concern over the Paris outbreak spread to neighbouring countries and was an inverse function of distance. Health issues are a popular topic in science journalism and articles with bad news, threat, continuity and geographic proximity helped generate considerable media activity such that the public perceptions of the problem were enhanced and suggests that government agencies need to collect well standardised data on bed bug occurrence. Google Trends proved a sensitive tool to follow the public concern over an insect that invokes considerable dread.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: cimex lectularius,google trends,infestation,paris,pest eradication,ecology, evolution, behavior and systematics,animal science and zoology,insect science ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1100/1105
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2024 09:30
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2024 08:30
DOI: 10.1016/j.cris.2024.100079


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