Can Everyone Please Stop Panicking About Bedbugs On the Subway?

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Look, we get it. It’s the end of August and absolutely nothing important at all is going on in the world, so New York’s media has to focus on something. That’s why we end up with pieces like Gawker’s recent “down with editors” screed, designed to outrage other people in the media (which, mission accomplished?). And, you know, because nothing really newsworthy happened during this year’s MTV VMAs (miss you, Miley), there isn’t even the possibility of engaging in a condescending, faux-outraged debate about how an adult woman can choose to act. So what’s left then? What is there to write about? (Again, so much, but whatever.) Oh, a bedbug panic? Ding ding ding.

Various outlets (including, ahem, us) have reported on the appearance of bedbugs on different subway lines this summer. And, look, we get it. Bedbugs are terrible! We wouldn’t wish them on our worst enemy. And because everyone takes the subway, it’s even more terror-inducing, right? Right! Because the subway in the summer, with all its attendant delays and vomit-inducing smells, is bad enough. Add bedbugs to that malodorous mix? Awful!

But here’s the thing: despite new reports of bedbugs on N-trains, we want to emphasize that there is no reason to panic. Every cited case of bedbugs on the subways have reported that the little bloodsuckers have been found on the upholstery of the train’s conductor’s seat. Bedbugs don’t like the hard plastic of passenger’s seats. They like the cozy fabric of the conductor’s chairs. (Which, yes, is terrible for the conductors, but not such a big deal for the millions of other people who ride the subway.) All of this fumigating and freaking out  is excessive and while we’re happy that the MTA is taking it seriously, we also really hope that this won’t lead to yet another fare increase, because as far as public health-related issues on the subway? We’re much more concerned about the sociopaths who cut their nails on crowded F trains.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen


  1. Clearly another article from someone who isn’t from New York. Bedbugs are disgusting. No one wants to bring them home. Period. So it is a big deal.


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