Reports of bed bugs on public transport in France have caused an uproar. Will we soon be threatened by a bedbug epidemic on Swiss buses and trams?
The basics in a nutshell
- Bedbugs on public transport cause a stir in France.
- The bugs were recently discovered on the London Underground.
- The spread of animals is due to increased travel activity.
Excitement in France – the reason: bed bugs. In Paris in particular, citizens are increasingly reporting unpleasant encounters with insects. They were observed, among other things, on the subway or on the train.
The animals were also recently found on the London Underground. Bed bugs crawled into a passenger’s pants, a TikTok video shows.
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TikTok / @lassogold – Bedbugs have been spotted on the subway not only in Paris, but also in London.
Is it only a matter of time before Switzerland also faces a bedbug epidemic?
Are you breathing a sigh of relief on Swiss public transport?
“We have not had any such incidents yet; we clean our cars regularly,” explains Erwa Bernmobile when asked by Nau.ch. The situation is similar with the transport company in Lucerne. The buses there are cleaned every day.
Zurich also relies on constant cleaning of vehicles. “In particular, the seat upholstery is cleaned with a wet vacuum cleaner and, if necessary, with a plastic cleaner in the upholstery shop,” explains the Zurich public transport company.
Bedbugs are primarily a problem with fabric seats. “Most of our cars have either wooden seats, leather seats or imitation leather seats and bed bugs cannot nest in them,” explains the Basel transport company.
Bus und Service AG, operator of the Chur Bus and Engadin Bus buses, has never had to encounter bed bugs. “The buses are cleaned every night, and each vehicle also receives a basic cleaning at regular intervals.” The seats will also be washed with shampoo or steam. In addition, it will be vacuumed every two weeks.
It spreads through increased travel activity
“Bed bugs are not only a problem in Paris, but all over the world. The main reason is increased travel activity,” explains Gabriela Müller, head of pest control at Zurich. “They are often transported in luggage from infested places to the place of residence or vice versa.” .
According to Müller, there is no specific number for Switzerland. From 2006 onwards, inquiries about bedbugs have increased continuously, reaching a maximum of 164 in 2016. After that, they remained at a high level and decreased again slightly during the coronavirus travel restrictions. Since the beginning of this year, the Zurich Pest Control Center has received 64 reports of bed bugs.
This is what you should do if you have a bedbug infestation
But what can you do if you are affected by a bedbug infestation? S&F Insect Control GmbH recommends washing clothes at 60 degrees or freezing them.
In addition, pest monitors and dog teams should be deployed, according to Ratex AG. Sniffer dogs have a 96 percent success rate in locating bed bugs when they sniff them out.
Have you ever been bitten by a bedbug?
Gabriella Mueller also recommends engaging “professionals or pest controllers with a federal specialist license.” “We strongly advise against controlling bed bugs yourself with bug spray.” In a worst-case scenario, this could send them flying all over the apartment. Or even through ventilation and cable shafts to other apartments.
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