The London Evening Standard reported today that train cars and buses are carrying up to 1000 roaches, 200 bed bugs and 200 fleas. That is an alarming figure and should be a great concern for those traveling on London’s public transportation. Roaches are being fed by the large amounts of food debri left by commuters and bed bugs are being carried on by those with home infestations.
Currently buses and train cars are cleaned daily in London, but are obviously not treated well enough for bed bugs, roaches and fleas. To take care of this issue, the London transportation authority plans to begin using heat to kill insects on board. This is a great idea as it involves no chemical resulting in reduced downtime. Heating up a train car or bus at a constant temperature above 117 degrees fahrenheit for several hours will kill all stages of bed bugs. I’m not sure what temperature would kill roaches and fleas? Can anyone answer this question? I did some research and couldn’t come up with much data.
If bed bugs are crawling all over London buses and trains I’d be very curious to see what might be found on a New York City subway car, cab or public bus.
A few precautions you can take to prevent adopting a bed bug while riding on public transportation are:
- Keep purses, bags, briefcases and other carry on items off the ground and off seats by holding them in your hand or on your lap.
- If you see a bed bug be sure to report it to the transportation authority.
- This is a very extreme, but you could place your clothing in the dryer when you get home (especially coats) to kill anything that may have hitched a ride.
The bed bug epidemic continues to grow increasing the chances of bringing one home one. Another area that could be a potential risk are are movie theaters as they are dark, full of people and have plenty of places to hide.
I am encouraged by the increased use of heat, which is becoming more popular and with a great track record of success.