If you ride public transit frequently this is probably your nightmare: a bag full of bed bugs, left sitting in a train car in Chicago. Even if you don’t take transit the sight of a bag teeming with bugs is horrifying. But was this really bed bugs on the subway?
Looking at the video it’s hard to tell for sure. There are long, white shapes that appear unmoving and definitely resemble bed bug eggs. But there are also white bugs that look as though they have wings, making it unlikely they are bed bugs. That said, whether or not they are bed bugs the sight of severely infested items left in an open bag on the floor of a public train is alarming. The Chicago Transit Authority made the right call by immediately taking the train out of service and cleaning it out, no matter what kind of pests these are.
Any time video of bed bugs on the subway, or public transportation in general, comes out questions are raised about what we should do when people are battling an active infestation and rely on public transportation. I think we can all agree that ideally precautionary steps would be taken before getting on the train, and items that are infested should definitely not be transported like this. But what can you do when the person in question is not in a position to think rationally about their choices? In this case, the witness who took the video indicates that the woman who left this bag was homeless, and later got back on a train. Should public transportation be denied to people in similar situations?
No matter your position on this, as always it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings. If you see a bag like this alert someone ASAP so that, bed bug or not, no one else is exposed to the insects. If you think you may have been exposed immediately heat treat or quarantine your items, and do a thorough visual inspection of everything you had with you. Catching an infestation early is the best way to make sure you can get rid of it quickly and easily.