Public transport is the best mode of transportation if you live in a metropolitan area. Depending on where you reside, you may travel via trains, public buses, airplanes, subways, or even through ridesharing. However, shared means of transport expose you to bedbugs eager to hitchhike on your belongings and accompany you home. You should always be vigilant and aware of your situational surroundings to avoid getting bedbugs. If you regularly use public transport, this article best suits you as it provides preventive actions you should take to prevent bedbugs.

Can you catch bed bugs on public transit?

Yes, you can easily catch bedbugs while interacting with other passengers on public transport. Despite their names, bedbugs are not limited to bed only but are also attracted to other locations that have similar properties as those of a bed. Bedbugs are always in search of warmth, carbon dioxide, and blood. All these conditions are available in public transport, making it an ideal location to hide. Public transport has a steady blood supply since thousands of people commute daily.

Public transportation is susceptible to bed bugs owing to high human traffic

Catching bedbugs on public transit is more common than you think it is. According to bed bug statistics, 52% of Americans’ are concerned about getting bedbugs from public transport. Pest world statistics point only that public transport and hotel are the most significant concerns for getting bedbugs for Americans. Beware next time you board public transport.

A recent bedbug scenario occurred when a woman recorded a live bug crawling on a public bus. The news went viral when CBS Philadelphia aired it, and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority had to respond to the case. Crystal Lopez says she was on the route 26 Bus on a Tuesday with her two daughters when the bedbugs bit them. Lopez suffered an allergic reaction and was forced to visit a doctor.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority admitted the bedbug issue and responded by changing the interior designs of their buses. The authority stated that it would take them up to four years to complete interior changes. As of now, 500 buses are fitted with plastic interiors that are easy to clean and fumigate. However, 900 buses are yet to be equipped with better seats and still use cloth interiors.

How bed bugs get into public transportation

Bedbugs get into public transport by hitchhiking in personal belongings. The seats and interior of most public transport have hooks and crannies that bedbugs can hitchhike on. Once a person sits, a bedbug crawls out of their clothing or personal belonging in search of a suitable place to hide.

Bedbug bites contain a powerful anesthetic that makes the blood-sucking process painless. Female Bedbugs lay between four to seven eggs per day for ten days after a single blood meal. She will then have to eat again before laying more eggs. At a public transport utility, blood is always available. As such, the population of bedbugs in public transport escalates quickly.

High-risk spots for bed bugs on public transportation

At home, bed bugs hide cracks and crevices in your bed, furniture, and other hidden sites that offer easy access to you. Few people sleep on public transportation such as trains and buses, but bed bugs find perfect spots for feeding. The common high-risk areas for bed bugs in public transit include:

  • A public transport seat is a high-risk spot for catching bedbugs. As you sit enjoying your ride, bedbugs slowly crawl out of their hideouts and get to you. The cloth design provides warmth for bedbugs, while the apertures provide safe hitchhiking areas. However, the best bet for bedbugs in a sit would be food. Yes, your blood, bedbugs are consistently yearning for blood, and public seats provide it
  • Luggage compartments are also high-risk spots in a public transport setting. In the compartments, various luggage and belongings are mixed and stored together. If someone’s property has bedbugs, your belongings are at risk since they might crawl into them. Also, being a high-risk spot, bedbugs are likely to be hitchhiking at the luggage compartments and can crawl into belongings as well.
  • Bus, subway, train, and airport stations are highly risky. You’re mistaken if you think you only get bedbugs inside the car or bus. Public stations are also risky since many people gather for a considerable time while waiting for their rides or flights. The station seats, lobbies, and luggage compartments have bedbugs.
  • Beware of peak traveling seasons. Most people travel a lot in summer, implying more station congestion. Due to more warmth in summer, the bedbug reproduction cycle is reduced to only eight to nine days. During this time, bedbugs are much more aggressive.

Identifying bed bugs in public transportation

You will not always have time for a thorough inspection when boarding public transportation. Nonetheless, it would help if you watched for the following signs because they will help you identify bed bugs on public transport:

  • Take your time before sitting down and inspect the seat. It is tricky to identify bedbugs due to their small sizes, but it is possible. Check seat corners and crevices since bedbugs adore hiding at darker and warmer joints. Bedbugs could lurk on the surface, waiting for their next victim.
  • If in a hurry, brush your arm over the seat surface and examine it. Bedbugs always leave shells, eggs, and brownie droppings. If you notice any of the signs, stay from the seats.
  • Make use of your smell sense. Bedbugs have a musty odor due to pheromones released. The smell barely goes undetected if released in huge quantities.

Avoiding bed bugs in public transportation

Bed bug statistics show that bed bugs are everywhere in the USA. There is no full-proof way to protect yourself from bed bugs, but you can take some precautions to avoid getting them. Here are some tips that will help you prevent bed bugs in public transportation:

Avoid sitting down

Nobody would want to stand on a bus or train while commuting, but it is way better than getting bedbugs. You should avoid touching seats, stand holding on the bars and ensure that your clothing does not touch seats.

Public transportation seats are more likely to have bed bugs

If you must sit down, examine the seat for any bedbug signs before sitting. Change your seat should you find any bedbug signs.

Hold your items

It would be best if you protect your belongings from bedbugs. Avoid placing them on the floor, seats, overhead cabins, luggage areas, or any other place that would mix with other person’s belongings.

Please place your items in your lap and guide them throughout the trip.

Plastic Seats

Do not buy the thinking that plastic seats are bedbugs free. While they are less hospitable to bedbugs than cloth seats, they still have a small percentage of bedbugs. Some sneaky bedbugs will hitchhike at crevices in the seats and await you. It would be best to always examine the seats before sitting on them.

Going Home

When you arrive at your destination, always check your belongings to see if bedbugs are there. It won’t take much time to inspect your luggage and clothing.

Consider your luggage bags.

If you regularly use, public transport means, it would be best for you to invest in a plastic bag. Plastic bags prevent bedbugs from crawling into your belongings and would be much safer.

What to do if you find bed bugs in public transportation

Do not panic should you identify bedbugs in public transport. Change seat to avoid getting bedbugs and inform staff or management of the transportation service. This is necessary since the company is liable to provide safe and bedbug-free transportation services.

Ensure you treat your belongings at home since some bedbugs might have crawled into you. Try not to touch other surfaces at home, change your clothing, and heat treat them.

Final thoughts

Avoiding bedbugs is challenging, primarily if you use public transport, and require a lot of commitment. Whether you travel via trains, public buses, airplanes, or subways, you risk getting bedbugs. However, hope is not lost since there are a series of practices you can apply to avoid these pesky bedbugs. This post has compiled a list of what to do to prevent getting bedbugs while traveling on public transport.


Can you get bed bugs on the bus?

Yes. You can get bedbugs on a public bus.

Can you seek compensation if you suffer from bed bugs in a taxi?

Yes. You can seek compensation against the company for sustained bedbug damage.

Why do bed bugs infest public transportation?

Bedbugs hitchhike in personal belonging carried and infested public transportation.

When does the risk of bed bugs in public transportation increase?

The risk of getting bedbugs increases during peak season as many people travel