We’re following up on our last blog post on insect problems in China…. Here’s another pest problem in China that has been seen in other countries: bed bugs that love public transportation. Where else has this happened?
- New York’s commuter trains;
- NYC subways (and subway benches);
- Detroit city buses; and
- Amtrak passenger cars.
Bed bugs have also been a problem on London, England’s trains and buses. And they also pester railway passengers in India. Passengers have forced Indian railways to take cars out of service. In another circumstance, an Indian railway compensated passengers following a trip. Given these warnings we weren’t surprised to read The Wall Street Journal‘s recent account of bed bugs on China’s trains, not after reports of a resurgence of bed bugs in China.
Blood-Sucking Bedbugs Worry China’s Rail Travelers
WSJ China| China Real Time Report – September 26, 2013. Millions of Chinese have been bitten by the travel bug. Now, those bites may have become literal.
Concerns about bedbugs invading China’s railways are gaining steam among social-media users, local media and local authorities after one user on China’s Twitter-like microblogging platform Weibo reported finding visible bedbugs on a train that travels between Shanghai and Beijing. The user posted a video of the bugs in late-August, which has since gone viral.
- Zuma Press – Passengers wait to board a train in Chengdu.
Authorities such as the Qidong Security Bureau in China’s coastal Jiangsu province are warning travelers of the potential problem, suggesting they wash clothing frequently and check their luggage for bugs to prevent carrying eggs home and otherwise spreading any infestation. Officials in Shanghai are telling travelers to soak clothing in boiling water to kill any possible adult bugs and eggs.
The Chinese railway has a policy of change the bedding on trains after each journey. Yet many social media users question whether that policy is always followed. “Change the bedding per passenger? I saw the quilt crinkled so many times when I entered (the carriage),” one Weibo user said. “Can you at least change per year? I am afraid that you may never change it,” said another.
The railway’s advice to passengers to soak their clothing in boiling to eliminate bed bugs on their clothing following a trip is valid. Heat is a physical method of eliminating bed bugs and their eggs. While changing the sheets on the train is good for hygiene, it will not solve bed bug issues in a passenger compartment, seat, or sleeping car. Bed bugs live in cracks and crevices in beds (including mattresses and bed frames), not just the sheets on them.