Several weeks back a Facebook post featuring a bed bug crawling out of a seam of a cushion on a Philadelphia bus went viral. The photo prompted the removal of several buses from the transit system for bed bug extermination. This raises the question of whether bed bugs make their way onto the different forms of public transportation.
Public transportation is vital to the Washington D.C./Baltimore area. Millions of people use the metro system daily to get to and from work, not to mention buses, taxis, planes and even car services like Uber. So for many commuters the question os whether a person can pick up bed bugs on public transportation is concerning. The answer is yes, as evidenced by the Facebook post. Bed bugs are hitchhikers so they can pop up literally anywhere you find people.
Here are a few tips to try to prevent taking a bed bug home with you next time you find yourself on public transportation.
1. Be aware of the potential for bed bugs in your environment. The key is aware, not paranoid. Everyone is worried about the hotel room, but most people don’t consider the risk of bed bugs when the luggage goes into the trunk of a taxi, for example.
2. If you have the option to sit on a seat without a cushion, it may be a safer bet (this is a good tip when visiting the library as well).
3. Minimize the items (particularly bags/luggage) when using public transportation.
4. Keep your belongings on your lap, don’t put on the floor or even seat next to you.
While there is little you can do to guarantee that you won’t encounter a bed bug, but you can try to minimize your risks of bringing one home with you. Above all else, do not become paranoid. The odds of bringing a bed bug home from pubic transportation are low, but it is always good to be aware and prepared.