The Market

Here's why you don't need to panic about those N train bed bugs

By Virginia K. Smith  | August 7, 2014 - 11:59AM

We (like all New Yorkers) weren't exactly thrilled at the news that three different N trains were taken out of service this week after bed bugs were discovered on board. We thought the city was supposed to be winning the war on bed bugs, and that of all the places we had to worry about picking up bed bugs (and bringing 'em back home with us), the subway was safe.

Well, it seems we were (mostly) right. According to the Daily News, the bugs were mainly found in the cabs of the trains where conductors sit, which, unlike the rest of the train, have actual seat cushions. "From my understanding, the public was never really at risk here," Gil Bloom, president of Standard Pest Management, tells us. "This was clearly a case of a staffer accidentally bringing bed bugs from home into the work place, and even so, it could never really get to a level in the crew area where bed bugs would start heading out toward the passenger cars."

While a lone bed bug brought onto a car could end up transferred onto a passenger--and hitch a ride home--the subway isn't an environment where the pests flourish, with its cool, hard surfaces and harsh fluorescent lighting. A little cold comfort to add to the mix: "You actually see them way more often in cabs," says Bloom. Ah, good.

In both scenarios, the usual rules for reducing risk apply: don't but your bag on the floor or the seat next to you, and in general, minimize your "footprint" in the space. 

And if you find yourself with a new bite, or a renewed sense of paranoia about infestation, check out our guide to telling bed bugs apart from all their tiny, gross brethren like bat bugs, book lice, carpet beetles, etc. and how to bedbug-proof your NYC apartment.


How bed bugs spread through apartment buildings

How to bed bug proof your NYC apartment

The top 10 bed bug products for New Yorkers

Finally, a breakthrough in bed bug detection



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