BART Battles Bed Bugs

If you are a California resident, odds are you make an effort to be conscious of your impact on the environment. Environmental responsibility comes in all different forms, from recycling and repurposing, to investing in efficient cars and appliances, to commuting by bicycle or public transportation. If the latter is a part of your daily routine for one reason or another, then you every reason to be cautious about bed bugs along the way.

Reports in the Oakland area have brought attention to recent bed bug sighting on one Bay Area Rapid Transit train. One passenger reported finding bed bugs crawling on his legs once he arrived to work after his morning BART commute during the second week in April. The Transit authority took swift action following the report.

As the primary public transit system that connects the San Francisco Bay Area to surrounding cities and suburbs, BART is a widely used transportation alternative for many looking to avoid the congested San Francisco Bay Bridge. Whenever there is a high concentration of people with a high turnover rate, bed bugs find it fast and easy to hitch a ride with new human hosts.

According to The San Jose Mercury News, the train in question was bound for San Francisco International Airport, transporting travelers as well as their luggage to the terminal. As we know, bed bugs love sneaking into our carry ons, often stowing away in luggage on our way both to and from vacation destinations. The presence of luggage certainly may have increased the likelihood of bed bugs being present on the BART train that morning.

BART responded quickly to the early April bed bug report, taking that particular train out of service temporarily to be treated for the pests. They assured their passengers they are handling the situation, and that they currently have no other reports of bed bugs at this time.

If you utilize BART or any other public transit system regularly, keep these tips in mind to avoid bed bugs:

– When possible, try to occupy a less crowded train car to avoid much contact with other people’s bags and jackets.
– If you can, consider standing rather than sitting on the train, especially if the seat cushions are upholstered rather than plastic.
– If you do take a seat, hold your briefcase or luggage in your lap to avoid picking up any unwanted passengers.

As with any public place that regularly sees a high volume of traffic, public transportation like buses and subways can certainly be vulnerable to bed bugs. While you don’t need to avoid public transit in order to avoid bed bugs, it is never a bad idea to exercise good preventative practices when riding the rails during your daily commute.