A Times (UK) article today on the spread of bed bugs emphasized the role of travel, specifically, the spread of bed bugs in public transportation:
Savvas Othon, technical director at Rentokil, said: “The short turnaround times for planes and other forms of transport means they are sometimes not inspected as thoroughly as they used to be. What should happen is a good vacuum around the back of seats and in the creases of seats. Any small gap is ideal for a bedbug, which can go for quite some time without a meal.”
Pest Control company Rentokil said it was now treating all kinds of public vehicles for bed bugs:
Rentokil says that it has seen a 24 per cent increase in work related to airlines, a 51 per cent increase in road-related call-outs, a 59 per cent jump in the shipping sector and a 9 per cent rise on rail in the past 12 months, compared with the year before.
“Bedbug infestations will continue to rise,” Mr Othon said. “Delays at airports don’t help as people sit in airport terminals, take things out of their bags and the bedbug jumps out and goes in search of another source of blood.”
While the general public is starting to think about hotel rooms as potential sites of infestation, it’s helpful to see a major newspaper highlighting the spread of bed bugs in airports, airplanes, trains, cars, and ships.
Awareness is key, as David Cain of Bed-bugs.co.uk stressed to the Times:
He said: “The number one reason for the spread of bedbugs is the lack of public awareness. People simply do not know how to detect them in the way they would have done in the 1950s and 1960s.
“They are a problem on buses, trains and subway systems, and on cruise ships too — any form of transport where there is a high turnover, really. Recently, on an overground train in South London, I pulled at the parting of the upholstery and found at least four months of dirt and debris.”