Nova Scotia

Bedbug on a Halifax Transit bus reported for 2nd time in a week

A bedbug has been discovered aboard a second Halifax Transit bus this week.

Bedbugs are 'natural hitchhikers and in any public place it is possible at any time'

A second complaint about a bedbug aboard a Halifax Transit bus was made through the city's 311 information system Thursday morning. This incident happened aboard the Route 7 Wednesday afternoon. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

A bedbug has been discovered aboard a Halifax Transit bus for a second time this week, according to a spokeswoman for the Halifax Regional Municipality. 

Tiffany Chase said a second complaint about a bedbug aboard a bus was made through the city's 311 information system Thursday morning. This incident happened on the Route 7 bus in Halifax on Wednesday afternoon.

The first incident happened Monday evening when Halifax Transit commuter Jason Johnson discovered a bedbug on a shuttle bus that goes over the MacKay Bridge when the Macdonald Bridge is closed. 

Johnson took a photo of the bug then bolted home, stripped down in the snow and put his clothes in bags, fearing they might be contaminated with the pests or their eggs.

"Based on those two reports this week we have identified the buses in question," said Chase. 

"They've been pulled from service and they will be thoroughly cleaned. We've actually taken the extra step of fumigating them as a precaution before they will go back in service." 

Bedbugs are tiny, oval-shaped pests between six and 10 millimetres long when they haven't eaten. (The Associated Press)

Chase said the buses are cleaned each evening. That includes sweeping the floors and cleaning the windows. About every 90 days the buses go through a much more thorough cleaning.

She said the last time bedbugs were reported aboard city buses was about seven years ago, and there were one or two reports.

"Of course we are talking about a public transit service that sees thousands of customers travel through each day on our buses and ferries so we know that it's certainly something that can happen. Those pests are very small and can cling to clothing, bags and things like that," said Chase.

"But we have asked our staff to conduct visual checks of all of the buses in the interim period since we've had these two reports come in this week." 

'Highly unlikely' bedbugs would infest a bus

A manager for the pest control company Rentokil says he's not surprised to hear of bedbugs on board buses. 

"They are natural hitchhikers and in any public place it is possible at any time," Nathan McCarthy told CBC's Maritime Noon on Thursday.

"It would be very highly unlikely that they would take up residence on a bus, due to the fact that the [passengers] are only on there for a very short period of time.

"The bedbugs are going to want someone that is laying very still and quiet at nighttime to be able to feed."

He said the chances of someone picking up a bedbug on a bus and taking it home are low. 

"[Bedbugs] like to have their fronts and their backs covered at all times. They're going to crawl into the cracks and crevices and hide until they feel like it's a safe time to come out," said McCarthy.

"Vacuuming and cleaning is key and it''s a good way to eradicate the bug immediately because you see one, you suck it up with a vacuum, it's gone forever."

If you're concerned you've brought bedbugs into your home in a bag or luggage, McCarthy suggests unpacking downstairs. It's important to keep those bags away from bedrooms and launder any clothes in them.

Chase said anyone who thinks they may have seen a bedbug should report it by dialling 311.

With files from Maritime Noon

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