Bedbugs and public transit(9 posts)
The topic I am hoping to address here is how likely picking up a bug from public transportation is and what can be done to reduce risk. I had an infestation (two actually that were spread to both places I was staying) and after eradicating them (or so I thought) I have just recently encountered tell tale bites (and also allergic reactions.)
I was kind of hoping I would never have to deal with this but I am now considering the likely sources:
1. The IGR that we sprayed had a residual effect of 7 mos and was sprayed 8 mos ago.
2. I picked up a bug on a tram ride home from work.
3. We just had record temperatures of 107 degrees which may have driven any bugs out of hiding and into the cool basement where I sleep.
My concern follows from the fact that my city has a huge homeless population of BB infested vagrants, and they often ride the tram network downtown where it's free. They frequently carry w/ them backpacks, sleeping bags, and other personal belongings and it seems probable that they could shake a bug loose or that one may transition to a host that "smells a little sweeter" such as myself who tends to be plagued by insect feeders.
Are there any likely accounts of this and.. what could possibly be done to treat busses, trains and trams that are repeatedly exposed to bugs?
I suppose there's a small chance you caught your bbs from public transportation but it's highly unlikely. You've been in dozens of other public places, many more friendly to bed bugs, perhaps even a hotel or a friend's house, for instance. As you will read elsewhere both on and off this website, bed bugs don't care whether you're homeless or not: they are a great leveller. (And those less privileged than you deserve your kindness; it's a great thing they can travel for free on public transport.)
You can just take taxis everywhere if you don't want to come into contact with the great unwashed, but if I were a bed bug I'd prefer a taxi for all its cosy corners.
Ok, I just wrote a really solid response to this and then my connection died so here is the paraphrased version:
there are an ungodly amount of homeless in Portland, OR (over 14,000) and they exchange sleeping locations while also carrying property onto trams such as backpacks and bedding material, sleep in close proximity, and regularly rotate through (confirmed) infested shelters. They often sleep w/ dogs as protection who would provide a silent meal for the bugs and they tend to shelter in the trams on rainy days (which we have a lot of.)
To me it seems highly probable that could be a source for an infestation and I'm wondering if anyone has addressed this in cities similar to mine.
I am not refuting that staying in an infested room is the easiest way to bring them home, but this can be a bit easier to avoid than using public transportation.
And those less privileged than you deserve your kindness; it's a great thing they can travel for free on public transport.)
I am of the opinion that our hospitality for the homeless (much like San Francisco) is one of the reasons the problem is so prevalent here (as other cities like to ship their homeless to those w/ better social programs) Maybe a byproduct of dealing w/ bedbugs would be a better social concern policy for them.
I've read posts from a London PCO - David Cain - recommending people NOT sit while taking public transportation, because of the risk of picking up bedbugs. (I still sit on NYC's in-car plastic subway seats btw)
Here in NYC, there was a lot of media attention for a couple of days on the report that bedbugs were spotted on wooden bench(es) in subway stations.
One of the first pieces of historical ephemera I read about bedbugs was the case of several women from different households suffering from the same rashes on their legs. It turned out they took the same bus everyday, and bedbugs were in that bus.
So yes, it's quite possible that bedbugs can occupy public transportation. Are they in the Portland trams? That I don't know. If they are in the tram, is that where you picked them up? Again, don't know. But I think it makes sense that you're concerned about this. It sounds like a legitimate risk.
Yes I was going to post to this thread and say that we have on many occasions confirmed the source of the infestation as being public transport.
As for who is depositing them there in the first place I don't think you can blame a particular group of travelers. For example the last person I saw who was liable to be depositing them on public transport was a professional educated person commuting to work.
With 60% of people being non bite responders those who are spreading the problem into public spaces that can result in what we term local source infestations could be anyone and are more likely to be someone who travels as part of a pattern or regular routine.
I had a chat with an old school pest professional over the weekend who indicated that during a previous bloom in the problem the main public transport infected location was the back seat or seat over the engine.
It is a difficult area because the solution is not to treat the public transport but to communicate the issue with people who will be accidentally depositing them in the first place. Here in lies the problem, the transport companies would need to comply with inspection and communication of the issue and at present they are too keep on threatening legal action when I mention the subject.
I have done my part in warning on the issue but until they understand the nature of the problem we can do little to help them.
Bed Bugs Limited
Thank you, this is very useful info. I happened to sit in a corner nook that struck me as a bit suspicious at the time. Maybe if someone did personal inspections and took photo's / captured an actual bug, then more pressure could be put on transit.
Good idea, the one slight problem is that taking pictures on UK public transport is illegal under the terrorism act and I would rather leave the water boarding to Doug.
We have reported sightings and have case numbers but when we chase the issue up all we get is bluffing until the case number disappears one day.
The problem is that it is clearly not every seat on every form of public transport, its just some people seem to be unlucky with their regular commutes.
Stand on the bus, don't sit. Only problem is if the bus is crowed, which is why I can't wait until I can get a car. Is if someones bag rubs against yours and the bad has bed bugs almost crawling out of it, one will attach onto you. I don't know how much harm one bed bug can do especially if it's female and not pregnant all that will happen is you'll either, never see it, kill it without knowing it was even there or knowing it's there. Or one day you'll see something crawling on you
bedbuggery, pm me re trimet and Portland.
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