Whats really bugging Detroit bus riders these days isn’t the fact that the buses are old and beat, that they don’t run on time, that the transit system is understaffed, but it is now the fact that they have to share their buses with other passengers — bed bugs.These tiny bugs don’t pay a single cent to ride the public buses in the city, but instead hitch free rides on unsuspecting victims via clothes, bags, and other accessories. Recently, the nation has been swept off its feet by an overwhelming amount of reported bed bug infestations, which are normally centered in urban areas because of a larger population size, apartment living, and increased access to get mobile.
Detroit Councilwoman Brenda Jones was itching to address the situation during a recent meeting. She explained she had been told by a young woman that these bugs have become quite a nuisance recently and was wondering what steps were being taken to address and solve the issue.
D-DOT Director Dan Dirks explained during the meeting that many other transit systems across the nation are experiencing the same problem, and that Detroit’s buses undergo routine sprays to counteract the problem, but this may not be enough.
There are plenty of options to get rid of bed bugs, but not all of them are very effective in preventing the bed bugs from returning. Modern bed bug populations are often very resistant to insecticides used for their demise. However, there are non-toxic options, such as thermal remediation, that has been proven to populations of the bugs for good.
“This is just another example of the hardiness of the bed bug. They can exist and breed almost anywhere there is a convenient meal [like people] nearby, and a bus is certainly one place where people spend some time,” says Richard Halbach, Ph.D.President, Thermination Technology
(Division of REH Consulting, Inc.). “While chemical treatment is an option, some insects are likely to survive in small cracks and other hiding places.”
“I can’t tell you exactly, I know its done periodically,” said Dirks. “When we get a request in, we’ll do it that day.”Bed bugs can law anywhere from one to five eggs in a single day (more than 500 in a lifetime), and if just one bed bug escapes the clutches of the chemicals sprayed, this one bug could end up repopulating a single bus within a week.
“If customers find a problem with the bus, just call the station… and we’ll take care of it,” said Dirks.
A new approach or method of extermination may be in order, since this is not the first report to roll in about the pests on public buses. In 2012, nearly 50 drivers reported they had been bitten by bed bugs.
One out of five Americans has had a bed bug infestation in their home or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs at home or in a hotel, yet now the American may need to add public transit to the list of common places to encounter these critters.