The party of French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday said it would this year put forward a bill to combat surging numbers of reported bedbug cases, which are being increasingly seen as a major potential public health problem.
Bedbugs have in recent weeks gone from being a subject of potential derision to a contentious political issue in France, with aghast citizens reporting seeing the creatures in locations including trains and cinemas.
The head of Macron's Renaissance party in the French National Assembly, Sylvain Maillard, said a cross-party text would be ready "at the beginning of December" to combat the "scourge" of bedbugs.
He said the president's party and its allies had decided to make the subject a "priority" and urged the right-wing and hard-left opposition to come up with suggestions for a cross-party text.
Health Minister Aurelien Rousseau insisted on France Inter radio there was no "general panic" over the issue.
"What concerns me is that people do not get cheated by firms that make them pay 2,000 or 3,000 euros (US$2,100 or US$3,100)" to rid their houses of bedbugs, he added, denouncing "abuses" in the pest control sector.
Bedbugs, which had largely disappeared from daily life by the 1950s, have made a resurgence in recent decades, mostly due to high population densities and more mass transit.
One-tenth of all French households are believed to have had a bedbug problem over the past few years, usually requiring a pest control operation costing several hundreds of euros that often needs to be repeated.
The blood-sucking insects have been spotted in the Paris metro, high-speed trains and at Paris's Charles De Gaulle Airport.
But the individual cases have not been confirmed by the authorities and RMC TV reported that a probe by Paris transport operator RATP had found no bedbugs on its services.
Renaissance MP Bruno Studer said that a priority for the future would be counting the number of bedbugs.
"We do not know today if there are more bedbugs than in 2019," he said.
In addition to the development of statistical tools, the text could make it possible to recognise the problem as "a question of public health," said his colleague Robin Reda.
"We have wasted six years. The government has done nothing," said the head of the group of hard-left France Unbowed MPs Mathilde Panot, adding the "urgency is to act now" with a national prevention plan, an emergency fund and the creation of public disinfestation services.
Bedbugs get their name from their habit of nesting in mattresses, although they can also hide in clothes and in luggage.
They come out at night to feed on human blood.
Bedbug bites leave red areas, blisters or large rashes on the skin, and can cause intense itching or allergic reactions.
They also often cause psychological distress, sleeping issues, anxiety and depression. (AFP)