Bed bug hitches ride on Halifax bus, forcing commuter to strip down in snow

HALIFAX -- A commuter has discovered a bed bug on a city transit bus, in what an expert says is a disturbing reminder of the potential range of the hardy, hitchhiking insects.

See Full Article

Jason Johnson took a photo of the bug Monday on a Halifax Transit bus - then bolted home, stripped down in the snow and put his clothes in bags, fearing they might be contaminated with the biting, blood-loving pests or their eggs.

"You feel them crawling on you when they're not there," Johnson, 37, said Wednesday.

One pest-control expert says he's surprised it doesn't happen more often. Despite their name, bed bugs aren't just found between the sheets.

John Zinck, a 20-year veteran in the extermination business, said the bugs can congregate anywhere people do: offices, movie theatres, doctor's officers and public buses. They can hitch rides on clothing, bags and items like books.

"I'm surprised it doesn't happen more often in Halifax," said Zinck, branch manager for Orkin Canada in Nova Scotia and P.E.I.

"Halifax has a fair bed bug issue and bed bugs are transferred by people carrying around things. So if you live in an apartment with bed bugs and you go on a bus ... it's very easy to transfer."

City spokeswoman Jennifer Stairs confirmed Halifax Transit was following up on a complaint of a bed bug on one of its buses. She said options could include fumigating the bus in question, adding that the vehicles are cleaned at the end of every day.

"The health and safety of our passengers and employees is always our utmost concern and priority," she said.

Public transit in other cities have also dealt with the creepy crawlers, including Toronto.

Danny Nicholson, a spokesman for the Toronto Transit Commission, said it's been a number of years since they've received any complaints. When it has happened, he said the source "would almost certainly be items brought on board a vehicle by the public."

Bed bugs are tiny, oval-shaped pests between six and 10 millimetres long when they haven't eaten. Once they've fed on blood, either animal or human, they swell in size and turn a dark red hue. Though they don't spread diseases, people allergic to a bed bug bite may end up with red, itchy bumps on their skin. Many people don't even realize they've been a bed bug's snack.

Bringing a single, male bed bug into your home might not cause much trouble, said Zinck. But one pregnant female could lead to tens of thousands of bed bugs within six months.

He said that's enough to send shivers down anyone's spine.

"You curl up in your nice, warm bed and it's a safe spot to be," he said. "Whereas when you have bed bugs, when you curl up in your bed, you're thinking, 'Oh God, how many times am I going to be bitten tonight?"'

Johnson, who killed the bus bug with a piece of newspaper and took it home for proof, posted a photo of the bug on his Facebook profile. The Museum of Natural History in Halifax confirmed the insect in the photo was a bed bug, adding that it appeared to have recently eaten.

Johnson said he didn't take any chances after his encounter and either washed his clothes in very hot water or stuffed them in the freezer in hopes of killing any errant bugs.

He said he dealt with a bed bug infestation a number of years ago that took three months to clear up and involved buying two deep freezes, daily vacuuming and plenty of laundry.

"It was a three-month-long nightmare," said Johnson. "It affected me so traumatically that I don't want that to ever happen again."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Donald Trump blasts conservatives on Twitter over health care bill failure

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday attacked conservative lawmakers for the failure of the Republican bill to replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law, as aides signalled a greater willingness to work with moderate Democrats on upcoming legislative battles from the budget and tax cuts to health care. Source
  • Hundreds arrested during protests across Russia, including Putin opponent [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    MOSCOW — Russia’s opposition, often written off by critics as a small and irrelevant coterie of privileged urbanites, put on an impressive nationwide show of strength Sunday with scores of protest rallies spanning the vast country. Hundreds were arrested, including Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner who is President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critic. Source
  • 'It was just crazy'; Deadly shooting at Cincinnati's Cameo club [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    CINCINNATI — A gunfight broke out inside a crowded Cincinnati nightclub early Sunday, leaving one man dead and 15 others wounded after a dispute among several patrons escalated into a shootout, authorities said. No suspects were in custody by late afternoon in the shooting at the Cameo club, which has a history of gun violence, and police said there was no indication of any terrorism link. Source
  • 'Swirl face' sex offender Christopher Neil to make home in Vancouver

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    VANCOUVER — High-risk sex offender Christopher Paul Neil, once known as 'Swirl face," has recently been released from prison and plans to live in Vancouver. According to a public notification Sunday by the Corrections Branch of the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, the 42-year-old former teacher has a pattern of sexual offending behaviour against both pre and early pubescent boys. Source
  • 4 people found dead in home near Ashcroft, B.C.

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Police are investigating after four people were found dead inside a home in Venables Valley near Ashcroft on Friday afternoon. Ashcroft RCMP responded to a request for a well-being check at the home and discovered the bodies, said a police press release. Source
  • Republicans struggling to govern

    World News Toronto Sun
    The Republican Party of “no” for Democrat Barack Obama’s eight years is having a hard time getting to “yes” in the early Donald Trump era. The unmitigated failure of the GOP bill to replace Obamacare underscored that Republicans are a party of upstart firebrands, old-guard conservatives and moderates in Democratic-leaning districts. Source
  • Donald Trump faces obstacles building 'big, beautiful' border wall

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump has now laid out exactly what he wants in the “big, beautiful wall” that he’s promised to build on the U.S.-Mexico border. But his effort to build a huge hurdle to those entering the U.S. Source
  • Al-Qaida leader Qari Yasin killed in U.S. airstrike, Pentagon confirms

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — A U.S. counterterrorism airstrike earlier this month in Afghanistan killed an al-Qaida leader responsible for a deadly hotel attack in Islamabad in 2008 and the 2009 attack on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team, the Pentagon said Saturday. Source
  • Trump's 'big, beautiful' border wall faces many roadblocks

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump has now laid out exactly what he wants in the "big, beautiful wall" that he's promised to build on the U.S.-Mexico border. But his effort to build a huge hurdle to those entering the U.S. Source
  • German minister 'speechless' over Erdogan rhetoric

    World News CTV News
    BERLIN -- A senior German official says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's rhetoric in the standoff with European countries ahead of his country's April 16 referendum is causing damage that will take years to repair. Source