We can’t confirm that this video is of an actual bed bug (it looks pretty big to us, as bed bugs go), but we can confirm that YouTube poster thefredelement has videotaped something on the Brooklyn-bound R. He says: “On my way to work (11/16/2010) a lady across the aisle had a look of horror upon her face. I looked at her and she said ‘the bed bug.’ Sure enough there it was.”
He continues, “It was brown from being filled up with some poor commuters blood. We had just passed the 36th st in Brooklyn when the lady discovered it.”
Okay, things we know: Bed bugs are brown anyway, regardless of bloodletting (unlike, say, Edward Cullen’s eyes), and they don’t generally take to places like the subway because living in beds in their victim’s home is way easier. But that doesn’t mean this bug didn’t find its way from someone’s comfy bed onto his or her clothes and then aboard the R train.
We’d heard about them on the benches…but, chillin’ on the trains, too? We’ve contacted our bed bug expert friends and will let you know what they say. Meanwhile, Kevin Ortiz at the MTA, who was unaware of the video, said, “If and when we determine there’s an issue, we will take appropriate action.”
UPDATED: Maciej Ceglowski, who runs the Bedbug Registry and has seen more than his share of the vermin, says “That looks pretty believable to me. I can’t make out what kind of bug it is from the video, but it’s the right size and moves in the right way to be a bedbug. And I do know there have been other confirmed subway sightings. Yikes!”
Yikes, indeed. If bed bugs have made it onto the subway and are actually commuting like humans, well…we’re doomed. (According to Ceglowski, “Bedbugs were ubiquitous in public transit in American cities before the second world war, especially in trains.”)
Well, at the very least, we should probably start drinking a lot more, and sitting down on the subway far less.
In other bed bug-related things that are now a pain in the ass, if you’re going to throw away your mattress by leaving it on the curb, you better fully seal it in plastic bags first, else you get fined $100 by the city. This starts December 3, with “delayed enforcement” until January 3.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 16, 2010