Elite Navy submarine battles mattress bug infestation

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BREMERTON, Washington. – The USS Connecticut, one of the Navy’s most elite submarines, has been hit by a bed bug infestation. A Navy spokeswoman confirmed that efforts are being made to control the infestation aboard the ship moored at Kitsap-Bremerton Naval Base.

Marine entomologists found the insects in the perforated bulkheads between bunks on board the Seawolf-class submarine, which carries a crew of more than 100 men.

The Navy said the bed bugs were only recently discovered. But several family members of seafarers told the Kitsap Sun they believe the infestation has been a problem for a year.

Cmdr. Cindy Fields, spokeswoman for the Navy Pacific Fleet submarine force, said bed bugs were first reported in December and it wasn’t until February 19 that Navy entomologists found them on board. Inspections for bed bugs on the boat have continued daily since then, Fields said.

When the bed bugs were reported in December, Fields said entomologists at Naval Hospital Bremerton “found no evidence of bed bugs on more than one occasion”.

“Navy criteria for handling submarines or ships require the physical presence of bed bugs in order to establish existence,” she said.

But the sailors’ families told the Kitsap Sun that efforts to rid the boat of bud bugs have not yet been successful. When bed bug treatment began, crew members slept intermittently in vehicles outside the submarine until a temporary structure was opened near the Connecticut berth, a family said. They also feared seafarers who need to sleep on board could bring bed bugs home to their families.