KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -When you hop in or out of a rideshare, you might want to consider checking for bed bugs. A business owner in Dallas says he is treating dozens of rideshare cars for the bloodsucking insects.
Bedbugs go where people are, so no matter how you travel, whether it’s by bus, airplane, taxi, Uber or Lyft, there’s a chance someone who was inside before you, left bedbugs behind.
The owner of Doffdon Pest Control in Dallas, Texas, Don Brooks says bed bugs keep him busy.
“I probably do five to ten rideshare cars a week,” Brooks said.
In California, a law firm is representing riders who believe their home became infested with bed bugs after booking a rideshare trip.
In the metro, Kansas City landed at number 33 on the Terminix 2019 list of top 50 cities for bed bug infestations based on the number of services rendered. KCTV5 News asked several metro pest control companies if rideshare drivers are calling to get rid of bed bugs in their cars.
“As far as rideshares go, probably just two or three a month,” Midwest Bed Bug Services Operations Manager Jody Dillon said.
Dillon says treating rideshare vehicles makes up about 1% of their business.
“Somebody gets in the car with them on their luggage or whatever and they leave them in there they could pass to the driver to the next customer,” Dillon said.
Midwest Bed Bug Services explained how they treat a car.
“We are going to force air into the vehicle up to 135 degrees. Once we are there, we are going to hold it for an extended period of time to make sure all the eggs and bugs are all killed,” Dillon said. “Another place we find them a lot is under floor mats. More commonly than not, a customer who has them in their house has them in their car also, so we do a lot of cars that way.”
KCTV5 News contacted rideshare companies Uber and Lyft. A spokesperson for Uber said, “I haven't heard of any specific cases in Dallas or anywhere else.”
As for Lyft, a spokesperson said, “We are unable to locate any bed bug-related complaints or reports involving Lyft vehicles in the Kansas City area.”
“Bed bugs like where their food is. Since we are their food, they will be anywhere we are at,” Dillon said.
Bed bug experts don’t want to discourage anyone from taking a rideshare because infestations can happen anywhere. They do want to reduce the stigma surrounding bed bugs.
“If more people would talk about them and let neighbors and friends know they’ve been exposed to them and they possibly could have passed them onto them, the better off as a city we would be,” Dillon said.
If you are concerned about bed bugs after traveling, experts recommend immediately putting your clothing in the dryer on the high setting. Heat is what kills bed bugs, they likely wouldn’t survive inside cars during sweltering summer months.
KCTV5 News also reached out to the Kansas City Health Department. They said they do not track bed bug statistics because bed bugs do not carry diseases. The most common bed bug complaint they receive is for hotels.