A recent article from the Vancouver Courier was prompted by a woman’s sighting of bugs on a seat,
Kara Ardan was sitting near the back of a Hastings Street bus earlier this month, when something on the seat in front of her made her jump to her feet.
“I just saw something move,” she said. “It was probably a body louse. A good sized one, too. There were a few of them just hanging out there on the back of the seat.”
So the Vancouver Courier asks the valid question of whether local public transportation buses have bed bugs, and we’re told that
… Derek Zabel, the manager of media relations for Coast Mountain Bus Company, says Coast Mountain has had few reports of bugs on buses and none of its vehicles have been fumigated. Every three to four months each bus is scrubbed from top to bottom and a steam cleaning “extractor” sucks the contents out of the cushy seats.
TransLink switched to cloth seats in 2006 and 2007 because people with limited mobility could too easily slip off the old vinyl seats. Of its fleet of 1,400 buses, about 480 have cloth seats.
Then the following claim:
Brian Johnston, a supervisor in environmental health with Vancouver Coastal Health, doubts cloth or vinyl matters when it comes to bugs. He said bed bugs aren’t often transported on people. They generally feed when their human victims are in their deepest slumber, from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., and then hide. Johnston said bed bugs are lazy, or smart. They don’t stray far from their food source, so if bed bugs bite your ankles, they’re probably living near the foot of your bed.
We’ve actually heard that bed bugs are proficient hitchhikers.
Reports of bed bugs on public transportation used to be commonplace.
If bed bugs don’t get transported on people or their stuff, how in the world would bed bugs be spreading from place to place, not just within buildings? How would they have gotten into this Victoria, BC pediatric unit? Or this Vancouver Island detox? Or this fancy hotel?
Just because bed bugs are most likely to be found in beds, does not mean they do not travel.
Perhaps Johnston’s point is that everyone with bed bugs is not going to be carrying them and distributing them everywhere they go all the time. (True.)
However, bed bugs do travel with people, make no mistake.
That’s how our friend Sneaky Simes gets around all the time.
See also this related story: Times Article on Spread of Bed Bugs via Trains, Planes and Automobiles.