The Polar Express is one of the most beloved holiday books. It’s a classic story of a child whose belief in Santa takes him on a lovely adventure on a train full of other children, winding through mountains and forests to get to the North Pole and meet Santa Claus himself. The 2004 animated film version starring Tom Hanks has become equally beloved. Around the holidays, train journeys modeled after the timeless tale start popping up around the US on different railroads, including the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in Cleveland, Ohio. Families flock to the railroads for hot chocolate and memory-making in their pajamas. Unfortunately, if those families aren’t careful, they could take home more than just memories- bed bugs could end up coming home with them.
How Could Bed Bugs End Up on a Train??
It’s pretty easy to figure out how bed bugs end up in places like houses and apartments- they are called bed bugs, after all, so it’s not hard to imagine how they’d get into your bed. But trains? Really? Yes, really. Bed bugs can hang out anywhere and find people to go home with. On short holiday train journeys, you’ve got a lot of people coming together, perhaps even a few hundred people. Any one of them could unwittingly be bringing bed bugs onto the train. Most trains are carpeted, and the bugs could hide on the floor- not to mention the upholstery on the train seats. Some trains, especially in first-class sections, have fancy curtains over the windows. They look beautiful, however, with all the folds, they can also be a prime hiding spot for bed bugs.
How Would They Come Home With Me?
Just because the bed bugs are on the train doesn’t mean they can make it to your house, right? Unfortunately, they can. Bed bugs are sneaky. If they’re hanging out in curtains, upholstery, or carpeting on a train, they can crawl onto your clothing or belongings and stow away until you get home. Additionally, if you’re driving home from the train station, the bugs can stick around in your car as well! You can then bring them into your house on your clothes or belongings, and before you know it, you’ve got an infestation in your home.
Taking a train trip can be a really exciting thing. Amtrak offers a lot of beautiful journeys across the United States, and many people take advantage of these beautiful views during the holiday season. These trains, however, are even more likely to carry bed bugs. Sleeper cars, though convenient and a neat way to travel, could easily contain bed bugs on the sheets or pillows, just like hotels can.
Subways are Safe, Right?
You might think subways are safe since their seats typically don’t have upholstery on them, and therefore bed bugs can’t hide as easily. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Thousands of people use public transportation every day, and it’s very likely that at least one of them has a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs can stow away on shoes, clothing, and purses, and hop off at any time. While it’s true that it’s easier for them to hide away in fabric, it’s still not hard for them to hide on plastic seats, and you can absolutely take them home after sitting down on those seats.
How Can I Avoid Them?
There are several ways to tell if a space has bed bugs. It might be easier to tell on a subway or bus, since they will probably show up more easily against the plastic seats, but a flashlight can help you find them on upholstery or carpet as well. The classic signs are small black or rust-colored spots or smears (bed bug feces), live bugs, or small egg shells. If you’re taking a train such as an Amtrak train or a Polar Express-themed holiday excursion, it might be a good idea to call the train line and ask if they’ve had any bed bug issues in the past few months, as well as examining your seat before sitting down.
What if I Accidentally Bring Bugs Home?
If you do end up with bed bugs after a train trip, don’t worry- we can help. Bed Bug BBQ uses heat treatment to get rid of bed bugs. This bed bug extermination process gets rid of bed bugs in just one day, is safe for all types of homes and businesses, and won’t fill your home with chemicals! Contact Bed Bug BBQ today for a FREE quote and inspection at (216) 221-1227 or through our website! Check out our other bed bug informational resources on identification, prevention, and eradication.