Experts say bed bugs can be found in ride shares

Bed bugs

Just the thought of bed bugs is enough to make most peoples’ skin crawl, but actually getting them in your house could be just as costly as it is uncomfortable; and cases are on the rise.  (KCTV5 News)

Eyewitness News 3 (WFSB) – by Matt McFarland and Olyvia Lank | February 25, 2020

The reports of bed bugs are on the rise in Connecticut.

Those whose job it is to get rid of the blood sucking bugs say they’re not just in homes anymore.

Experts described bed bugs as excellent hitchhikers. They can be easily transported into homes, hotels, and there’s another location most don’t think about.

“In general, bed bugs are not discriminatory. They’ll go whether you’re high end, low end, mid end,” said Mike Lipsett.

Mike Lipsett is nicknamed the Bug Man and he says his company, Connecticut Pest Elimination, gets calls daily.

“Anybody can get them, any facility can get them because they’re brought in by somebody,” Lipsett said.

While a nuisance, it’s important to note bed bugs don’t carry diseases like ticks or mosquitoes, but they reproduce quickly and travel easily through clothes, luggage, and other personal belongings.

Now, it has some worried about popular ride share cars.

“It very well could happen. We had a client years ago that used to take the train a lot. They happened to look in his briefcase and it was caked with it. Here’s a guy that got on a train, now that’s rare, here’s a guy that never even thought to look,” Lipsett said.

In fact, a California law firm is representing people who say they got bed bugs in ride shares. Down in Texas, one Dallas-based exterminator says he’s been treating cars.

What about in Connecticut? Experts say they haven’t seen any reports of bed bugs and ride shares.

Doctor Gale Ridge heads up Connecticut’s Coalition Against Bed Bugs and she says there’s a reason why bed bug infestation in a car would be extremely rare.

“If a bed bug was accidentally dropped in the car in the middle of winter, it’s likely to freeze to death overnight. Conversely, if it’s in a parking lot during the summer day, it’s going to die from the heat. They stress out very easily,” Dr. Ridge said.

While pest professionals use heat and chemicals to solve the problems, Dr. Ridge says one of the best pesticides people can use is simply vacuum cracks and crevices where bed bugs live.

Experts also say people shouldn’t panic.

Connecticut’s Agricultural Experiment Station has a website with plenty of detailed information, which you can find here.

Local Michigan exterminator says bed bugs can end up in vehicles

02242020

Exterminator examines news vehicle for bed bugs

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Last week, a Texas, exterminator told a local news station he treats up to 10 rideshare vehicles a week for bed bugs.

But here in Grand Rapids, John Koval, the owner of Smitter Pest Control Management, says he gets inspection calls for semi trucks and medical transportation vans.

“Actually, I take Uber all the time,” said Koval, “and I haven’t had an issue.”

Even though he hasn’t seen it, he said that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

Koval actually gets many calls for vehicles with bed bugs.

Those are typically semi trucks and medical transportation vans.

“Yeah, caregivers that pick up patients, things like that,” said Koval, “that have had bed bugs at their house. We’ve gotten some things from caregivers. So, we try to educate them, put a sheet over their seats.”

As for the semi trucks, he said the bed bugs most likely reside in mattresses or other bedding the drivers bring along to sleep during long trips.

In his car inspections, he first checks the backseat. Especially in the case of rideshare vehicles or cabs, this is where the bed bugs might be. That’s because they usually come attached to a passenger.

“Head rests, you can find them there,” said Koval, “When you’re sitting there, someone could have them on their collar when they’re sitting in your vehicle.”

Also check the cracks of seats, and peel back the plastic surrounding the seat. The bed bugs can lodge themselves in there.

If you find bed bugs in your vehicle, call a professional to chemically treat the car.

Koval said it’s still more common to get bed bugs in your home or in a hotel. He receives five or six calls a week to exterminate bed bugs in Grand Rapids.

Dallas bed bugs expert says he treats 5 to 10 rideshare vehicles per week

WFAA ABC8 | by Matt Howerton | February 21, 2020

Most drivers get their cars treated because they see bed bugs, get a complaint, or are just taking precautions after a ride an exterminator said.

DALLAS, Texas — A Dallas-based pest exterminator tells WFAA that he treats up to 10 rideshare vehicles per week for bed bugs, a mode of transportation that thousands turn to weekly to get around the metro.

Bed bugs have not been a great selling point for the DFW area.

Per Orkin in 2019, Dallas-Fort Worth ranked No. 10 on its list of “Top 50 Bed Bug Cities.”

Baltimore ranked number one. 

In a Terminix ranking last year, Dallas-Fort Worth was ranked third.

For Don Brooks, owner of Doffdon Pest Control, bed bugs are his life. He travels daily around the metro to rid the nuisance insects (that multiply fast) from both homes and vehicles.

“Quite frankly, they’re not racist at all and they don’t care about how much money you have,” Brooks said. “They’re bloodsuckers.”

Don Brooks
Don Brooks talks with WFAA about clearing cars of bed bugs.

Brooks’ has a unique mobile business, one that focuses on burning out bed bugs with high heat.

He pulls around heating equipment on a trailer that can heat homes up to 150°F.

Hoses run into the home and Brooks controls the temperature from the trailer.

He also puts up a tent and heats it to the same temperature to treat cars that possibly have bed bugs, and that’s where Brooks has been seeing an interesting trend.

Brooks told WFAA that he’s seeing more and more rideshare drivers.

“I probably do five to 10 rideshare cars per week,” Brooks said.

“Drivers either see bed bugs, someone complained, or they were suspicious of a customer and just want to make sure.”

Yeah, rideshare vehicles and bed bugs.

That combo is probably one that some haven’t thought about when hailing for a ride on their phone.

But it isn’t an outlandish concept when you think about how many customers rideshare drivers pick up each day.

“It’s highly likely they can crawl off of someone,” Brooks said.

In fact, the insurance company Netquote put a small study last year that said rideshare vehicles were 35,000 times more germy than a toilet seat.

One Los Angeles law firm even represents people who may have been bitten by a bed bug in a rideshare vehicle or had an infestation in their home as a result of booking a rideshare trip.

They can have their car sprayed with a liquid pesticide for a cheaper price.

“I can spray a car in 15 minutes,” Brooks said. “I usually do the backseat, the crevices, and the carpet on the floor.”

Pest control photo
Heat hoses run from Brooks’ trailer and into a tour bus to raise the temperature and kill any possible insects.

WFAA reached out to three other pest control services in the metro, and two said they use high heat to get bed bugs out of cars.

However, neither business could recount knowing that a customer was a rideshare driver.

Brooks’ revelation isn’t meant to scare anyone, he even said it wouldn’t stop him from booking a ride.

But he did say to be wary of any cars that weren’t clean, something that rideshare drivers are supposed to be on top of.

“If you feel suspicious, just throw your clothes in the dryer for 50 minutes on high heat,” Brooks said. “Then it’s best to hop in the shower.”

Experts Warn of Bed Bug Encounters Ahead of Busy Travel Season

travel.jpgFAIRFAX, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–May 29, 2019

The National Pest Management Association shares tips to avoid contact with hitchhiking pests during Bed Bug Awareness week.

As the busy travel season commences and families finalize their vacation plans for summer, experts at the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) are warning vacationers to remain vigilant during Bed Bug Awareness Week, this June 2-8. An annual observance recognized by Chase’s Calendar of Events, Bed Bug Awareness Week serves as an important reminder that bed bugs can wreak havoc if brought home after traveling, making prevention key to staving off an infestation.

Bed bugs are one of the most common pests, and according to NPMA’s 2018 Bugs Without Borders survey, 97 percent of U.S. pest control professionals surveyed reported they treated for bed bugs in 2018, with 68 percent saying they treated hotels specifically. A recent online research study conducted between January 2018 and May 2019 by Advanced Symbolics Inc. using a representative sample of 274,500 Americans revealed a 9 percent increase in people reporting bed bugs from just April to May, 2019, and a 21 percent increase in concerns regarding bed bugs as a potential health and home threat during that same time period.

“Bed bugs can be found anywhere, whether it be a 5-star hotel or a summer camp,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “These pests do not discriminate, and many people usually transport bed bugs with them back to their homes without even knowing they’re doing so. To prevent these freeloaders from hitchhiking back home with your family, it is important to take proper precautions when traveling this summer.”

To help vacationers avoid bringing home any hitchhiking pests this travel season, the NPMA is sharing the following prevention tips:

  • Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard, under lights, and inside dressers, drawers, sofas and chairs.
  • Pull back hotel sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots. If you see anything suspect, change rooms/establishments immediately.
  • Carry a small flashlight to assist you with visual inspections.
  • Vacuum and properly inspect suitcases after returning from a vacation. Do not bring the suitcase into your home until it has been inspected.
  • If you think you may have brought bed bugs home with you, seek professional pest control assistance to address an infestation, as this is not a do-it-yourself pest.

For more information about how to prevent bed bugs visit PestWorld.org.

Brit-itch Airways: Plane flies on despite bosses knowing it was infested with bloodsucking bed bugs

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Bug brother…BA jet was infested with BedBugs but airline bosses kept it flying and in service!  Passengers were bitten by infectious BED BUGS on BA flight.

February 25, 2016 | by Stephen Moyes | The Sun

A BRITISH Airways jet infested with bed bugs was allowed to keep flying as there was no time to disinfect it, staff claim.

Cabin crew logged the issue because passengers were bitten but bosses decided to keep the aircraft in service.

Staff hit out after the critters were spotted on a Boeing 747 from the US to Heathrow last week.

Coming to a seat near you ... close-up of a bed bug

Coming to a seat near you…aisle or window?

One passenger was nipped at 30,000ft and others saw the bugs and their eggs.

The problem was so serious that row 47 in the economy section was closed. But BA workers claim engineers did not have time to kill the creatures between flights.

The plane took off again and crew again had to deal with the bugs. Days later another “severe” infestation was reported as the jet flew from Cape Town to London.Last night it was claimed bugs were also seen on other flights by the 747 — now fully fumigated.

One passenger said: “This turns my stomach.”

A BA spokesman said: “Reports of bed bugs on board are extremely rare. Nevertheless, we continually monitor our aircraft.”

Blood suckers

BED bugs are small blood-sucking insects that live in cracks and crevices in and around beds or chairs.

Attracted by body heat and carbon dioxide, they bite exposed skin and feed on blood. Adult bed bugs look like lentils, oval, flat and up to 5mm long.

An infestation from one female can rise to 5,000 bed bugs in six months.

Mark Krafft last year took pics of bites he said he suffered on BA, below.

Vicious ... bed bug bites allegedly inflicted on BA passenger Mark Krafft last year
Vicious … bed bug bites allegedly inflicted on BA passenger Mark Krafft last year

A BA spokesman said: “Whenever any report of bed bugs is received, we launch a thorough investigation and, if appropriate, remove the aircraft from service and use specialist teams to treat it.

“The presence of bed bugs is an issue faced occasionally by hotels and airlines all over the world.

“British Airways operates more than 280,000 flights every year, and reports of bed bugs on board are extremely rare.

“Nevertheless, we are vigilant about the issue and continually monitor our aircraft.”

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

Bed Bugs Found on British Airways Flight – U.S. to Heathrow

Bed Bugs Found on British Airways Flight

February 26, 2016 | by Clover Hope | Jezebel

A British Airways plane was taken out of service last week after bed bugs were discovered when the crew tried to stuff extra large carry-ons into an overhead compartment.

Since the bugs (two of them) were found between flights, in row 47, the crew claims it wasn’t able to remove them in time.

“This isn’t a bed… It’s a plane!” one bug reportedly said to the other.

The Sun reports:

Cabin crew logged the issue because passengers were bitten but bosses decided to keep the aircraft in service.

Staff hid out after the critters were spotted on a Boeing 747 from the US to Heathrow last week.

One passenger was nipped at 30,000ft and others saw the bugs and their eggs.

A spokeswoman for British Airways told Mashable otherwise: “We wouldn’t let a plane continue to fly if we knew it had an issue.” Hmmm.

The plane was later fumigated, but it’s more likely the bugs decided to disembark on their own after realizing the plane wasn’t a bed.

The company rep adds, “Whenever any report of bed bugs is received, we launch a thorough investigation and, if appropriate, remove the aircraft from service and use specialist teams to treat it—this happened in this instance.”

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

Messing with BedBugs’ Genes Could Carry Other Risks?

Bed Bugs Will Outlive All Of Us Unless We Screw With Their Genes

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photo:  Bluejake/Sara Bibi/Gothamist

Bed bugs, like cockroaches and new seasons of The Bachelor, seem impossible to eradicate from the face of the Earth, no matter how many exterminators our landlords call to spray that one time and then never, ever again. But Science says there’s some small hope for the extinction of a moviegoer’s biggest fear—screwing with their genome.

Scientists have managed to map the genome of the common bed bug, revealing some fun things about the little suckers. For instance, bed bugs are actually able to break down toxins, like the ones an exterminator might use, to render them harmless, allowing them to survive even when you try to whack them with bug killer. They’ve also been MUTATING, producing genes that make them resistant to certain insecticides and making it all the more difficult to eradicate an infestation. Another fun fact is that bugs’ genes vary from location to location—a Brooklyn bed bug will have a different genetic sequence from a Queens bed bug, though both are equally disgusting.

Bed bugs also inbreed, and their sex is quite violent. This violent sex has been well-documented, and for those of you who have not yet seen Isabella Rossellini’s bed bug porno, you’re welcome, and sorry:

The takeaway here is that bed bugs have been able to hold us hostage for a long time, but scientists might be able to murder them, provided they make a few genetic tweaks. First, though, let’s kill all the mosquitoes.

[A. Steiner:  So…..Messing with Genes Could Carry Other Risks – YES!]

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

Genome of BedBug shows close relationships to Kissing Bug, one of several vectors for deadly Chagas disease, and the body louse. Both have tight associations with humans.

February 2, 2016 | News from Weill Cornell Medical College

Researchers Sequence First Bedbug Genome.  Scientists have assembled the first complete genome of one of humanity’s oldest and least-loved companions: the bedbug. The new work, led by researchers at the American Museum of Natural History and Weill Cornell Medicine, and published Feb. 2 in Nature Communications, could help combat pesticide resistance in the unwelcome parasite. The data also provides a rich genetic resource for mapping bedbug activity in human hosts and in cities, including subways.

male and female bedbugs – both fed and unfed – comparison with apple seeds

“Bedbugs are one of New York City’s most iconic living fossils, along with cockroaches, meaning that their outward appearance has hardly changed throughout their long lineage,” said one of the paper’s corresponding authors Dr. George Amato, director of the museum’s Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics. “But despite their static look, we know that they continue to evolve, mostly in ways that make it harder for humans to dissociate with them. This work gives us the genetic basis to explore the bedbug’s basic biology and its adaptation to dense human environments.”

The common bedbug (Cimex lectularius) has been coupled with humans for thousands of years. This species is found in temperate regions and prefers to feed on human blood. In recent decades, the prevalence of heated homes and global air travel has accelerated infestations in urban areas, where bedbugs have constant access to blood meals and opportunities to migrate to new hosts. A resurgence in bedbug infestations since the late 1990s is largely associated with the evolution of the insects’ resistance to known pesticides, many of which are not suitable for indoor application.

“Bedbugs all but vanished from human lives in the 1940s because of the widespread use of DDT, but unfortunately, overuse contributed to resistance issues quite soon after that in bedbugs and other insect pests,” said Louis Sorkin, an author on the paper and a senior scientific assistant in the Museum’s Division of Invertebrate Zoology. “Today, a very high percentage of bedbugs have genetic mutations that make them resistant to the insecticides that were commonly used to battle these urban pests. This makes the control of bedbugs extremely labor intensive.”

The researchers extracted DNA and RNA from preserved and living collections, including samples from a population that was first collected in 1973 and has been maintained by museum staff members since then. RNA was sampled from males and females representing each of the bug’s six life stages, before and after blood meals, in order to paint a full picture of the bedbug genome.

When compared with 20 other arthropod genomes, the genome of the common bedbug shows close relationships to the kissing bug (Rhodnius prolixus), one of several vectors for Chagas disease, and the body louse (Pediculus humanus), which both have tight associations with humans.

Click here to read complete article.

 

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