Have Bed Bugs Invaded NYC Subway System?

City agencies are swatting at the “bed bugs on the subway” story faster than a bed bug victim scratching his bites. The fracas started when NYC Housing Department educator Edward Brownbear told a Brooklyn audience he had seen bed bugs on a woman at the Hoyt-Schermerhorn subway station. Meeting attendee Heather Letzkus of Greenpoint wrote in her blog, “I was horrified. It’s a very scary thing. Just the thought that I could pick them up by sitting on a subway bench freaks me out.” Fear that the nefarious nocturnal blood-suckers had invaded the subway system tore through the news media, provoking consternation and denial by city officials.

The facts are that bed bugs are easily transported on clothing, backpacks, briefcases and suitcases by often unsuspecting victims. “If you go way back 100 years ago, bed bugs were very common on trains, on buses, in taxicabs, in all modes of transport,” University of Kentucky entomologist Michael Potter told the New York Times. The noted bed bug expert explained that bed bugs could easily harbor in cracks and crevices on subway benches and on seats in the trains. “In other areas of the world where bed bugs are also a big problem, like India, there have been reports of massive problems of bed bugs on trains and on benches.” He’s heard similar reports about bed bugs on European trains.  However, Potter didn’t think New Yorkers should panic. “This is still probably a rare occurrence and people shouldn’t stop riding the subway.”

New York City Transit spokesman Charles Seaton reassured subway riders that a bed bug infestation had not yet been confirmed, saying, “We will send people to check to see whether there is this problem.” Until then, watch where you sit.

Raccoons, Rabies and City People

People all over the country have to deal with pesky raccoons, even city dwellers. Raccoons enjoy residing in the underground sewer system and other locations. Unfortunately, raccoons sometimes have rabies. Rabid raccoons tend to initiate brawls with other animals. If you see one attacking a stout Grizzly bear he may have rabies or he may just have a massive ego.

If you live in an area where raccoons wander around it’s a good idea to vaccinate your pets against the disease. Rabies can kill. The variety of rabies that inhabit raccoons is a serous public health problem since it can be passed on to other animals.

The virus is contained in the critters’ saliva and is passed to their victims by bites and scratches. If you live in a community that features raccoons you might want to check with the appropriate public officials and inquire if they are willing to use baits that include a vaccine that when consumed by raccoons  protects the varmints from rabies. The bait is being utilized in various parts of the country. If  your community selects the right type of bait it will not harm dogs if they happen to eat a few for a snack. If you notice a rabid animal, immediately contact your government officials. 

Bed Bug Expert Douglas Stern Appears on CBS Eyewitness News RI

Lights! Camera! Action! Bed bug expert Douglas Stern, owner of Stern Environmental Group, appeared on CBS affiliate WPRI-TV Eyewitness 12 News in Providence, Rhode Island this week. Interviewed by Susan Hogan, the station’s Call 12 for Action consumer problem solver, Stern explained the benefits of Cryonite, an icy carbon dioxide spray that freezes bed bugs, killing them before they can scurry away.

Bed bugs reports have increased by 500% in the last decade, Hogan told viewers, with single-family homes and apartments bearing the brunt of recent infestations. Here’s how the station broke down bed bug sightings:

  • 44.6% single-family homes and apartments
  • 37.2% hotels and motels
  • 16.2% other
  • 2% college dorms

Traditionally used chemical sprays don’t work on today’s bed bugs which have developed a resistance to traditional treatments, University of Kentucky entomologist Michael Potter told Hogan. Cryonite is one of a new generation of bed bug treatments being used to kill these super bugs. Effectively used in Europe for years, Stern is one of a select number of companies able to offer Cryonite in the U.S.

Click here to watch a video clip of the program which shows bed bugs in action and Cryonite in use. (Click the CBS Call 12 for Action 5/12-Bed bugs title under the video player.)  For more information on bed bugs and Cryonite, visit the Stern website.

Bed Bugs in the New York Subway?

According to the New York Post the bed bugs have invaded the subway system; well they have been spotted on benches and the backside of a subway traveler by a city bed bug educator. Now you have a great excuse to take a limousine to work or build the helicopter pad on top of your guest house that you have been contemplating. Perhaps it’s a good time to forget the subway and saunter or sashay to work.

If you are going to bravely ride the New York subway, I strongly suggest you wear two sets of clothes and toss away the outer clothing before you enter your work place. I recommend you purchase a crate full of those inexpensive wear once and throw away Brooks Brother’s suits that come in a multitude of colors. Liz Claiborne is coming out with the “toss away to keep the bed bugs at bay” pantsuits (they only come in chartreuse and brown). 

What’s next? Perhaps we will learn that the bed bugs have invaded the Statue of Liberty or are living inside third base and attaching themselves to Yankees. 

If the bed bugs follow you home call Stern Environmental. We will spray some Cryonite on the bed bugs and they won’t be going back to the subway. 

Coping With the Spring Bug Invasion

Spring brings sunshine, warm breezes, blooming posies — and bugs. Insects are at their most prolific and most active when the weather heats up. Ants, bees, hornets, wasps, roaches and bed bugs are gearing up for summer and your home may be party central. If you’re not keen on sharing your domicile with a host of creepy-crawlies and their friends, you may need to call in a pest control professional to handle the evictions. How do you decide when to call and who to call? This week we’ll share tips on hiring a pest control company.

First you have to decide what’s eating you. The problem may be obvious. You may see a trail of ants across your kitchen floor. You may glimpse something scurrying under the fridge when you turn on the light. You may see fat bees buzzing around the eaves or spy a wasp nest under construction. But what if you suspect a problem, but can’t figure out the cause? Even worse, what if you wake up with itchy red welts? How do you figure out what’s biting you?

Try putting heavy-duty double-sided tape or glue traps on kitchen countertops, under sinks, and around windows, doors and headboards to see what sticks. Zip your catch into a plastic bag or dump that mystery bug into a small jar of rubbing alcohol. Take you catch to your local cooperative extension office or a pest control company for identification. They can tell you what you’ve got and how to get rid of it.