Documents show 12 confirmed cases of bedbugs on TTC vehicles since 2014
Dario Balca, CTV Toronto
Published Monday, March 7, 2016 9:23PM EST
Documents obtained by CTV News show there have been 12 confirmed cases of bedbug infestations on TTC vehicles over the past two years, including one case where seven buses were infested at the same time.
A rider recently posted a photo online showing what he claimed to be a bedbug crawling on his glove as he rode the 501 streetcar on Queen Street.
According to documents obtained by CTV News through a Freedom of Information request, there have been at least 70 complaints of bedbugs on TTC vehicles in the last two years.
The papers include invoices from pest control companies that used steaming, vacuuming and chemical treatments on streetcars, buses, subway cars and Wheel-Trans vehicles. In one case, an entire subway train was treated.
TTC vehicles are washed and cleaned at the end of every day. They also get a thorough cleaning once a month, but the TTC doesn’t perform routine inspections for bedbugs.
“It’s on a complaint basis,” said spokesperson Brad Ross. “We don’t go and routinely look for them.”
But the TTC says riders shouldn’t be concerned.
“What public health professionals tell the TTC is that bedbugs cannot survive on their own on public transit vehicles,” Ross said. “It is what they call an inhospitable environment for bedbugs.”
Some pest control professionals, however, say transit vehicles can be a breeding ground for bedbugs, which are usually spread through furniture and people’s clothes.
“Bedbugs can thrive in any environment,” said Avery Addison of Addison Pest Control. “All they need is a human host to bite and they don’t bite every night. They only need to bite about once a week.”
According to Public Health Ontario, bedbugs have been found in public areas, but they rarely spread to people.
“The odds of (bedbugs) actually getting on you and you bringing them home is very slim to none,” said Mark Nelder, a senior program specialist with the health agency.
Given that about 1.5 million people take the TTC every day, it is impossible to prevent the spread of bedbugs on transit vehicles, but there are several ways passengers can protect themselves.
Experts say riders should know what a bedbug looks like, bring as few belongings as possible onto public transit and always keep an eye on their surroundings.
The TTC said it takes any complaint about bedbugs or other vermin seriously. Anyone who sees any kind pest on the TTC is asked to take down the vehicle number and report it to the transit agency.
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Zuraidah Alman