EDMONTON - Ewww! Bed bugs on the bus.
The City of Edmonton says it has fumigated four transit buses this year to eliminate the tiny blood suckers.
John Sirovyak, director of transit fleet maintenance, says whenever someone complains of bed bugs on a bus, the vehicle is taken out of service and checked by a specially trained dog that can detect the insects.
"If there is a complaint and the dog finds them than we do it," he said Monday. "We are doing our due diligence on this stuff and take it seriously."
When bugs are found, the bus is taped off and fumigated for a day to kill the tiny critters and left to air out for another day before being put back in service.
This year transit buses have been fumigated for bed bugs on May 16, May 14 (two buses) and Feb. 11.
Two other buses were checked on May 18, but turned out to be bed- bug-free.
There was also a false report of bed bugs on a bus last fall.
Sirovyak said sometimes people mistake bread crumbs for bugs.
Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat and oval-shaped insects that feed on the blood of people and animals.
Federal health officials say they are not known to spread disease and are not considered a major health risk.
Experts say bed bugs can be found in luxury hotels, resorts, cruise ships and vehicles, and don't indicate a lack of cleanliness.
The critters usually hitch a ride on people by infesting clothing, bedding or luggage.
People can be bitten anywhere on the skin, but the itchy bites are most often found on the face, neck, arms, legs and chest.
The City of Edmonton operates a fleet of 900 buses with people taking a total of about 300,000 trips each day.
Sirvyak said Edmonton's buses are cleaned daily and transit riders have nothing to fear.
Three times a year each bus is taken out of service and scrubbed down thoroughly inside with disinfectant.
"Really the public shouldn't be all that threatened about it," he said. "We do inspections continuously as part of our performance process.
"Our position is our buses are safe and clean and reliable. There is no reason to have any worries."