March 12 (UPI) – A year-long bug infestation aboard the nuclear-powered submarine USS Connecticut included “all possible means” of eradication by Navy entomologists.
The presence of bedbugs, parasites that hide in daylight and bite exposed skin to draw blood from victims in the dark, was first observed on board the submarine after participating in the ICEX 2020 exercises in the Arctic in March 2020 Ocean had participated.
A bite from the apple-seed-sized insect can cause symptoms ranging from a rash to a severe allergic reaction.
“People were being eaten alive on their shelves[sleeping berths]”An unidentified sergeant told the Navy Times, who first reported the story earlier this week. The sergeant added that the infestation had spread to several registered berths and at least one officers’ state room.”
The issue was first officially reported to the Navy in December 2020, but the presence of bedbugs wasn’t officially determined until February 19, 2021, the Naval Submarine Forces Pacific said.
Daily inspections resulted in marine entomologists distributing diatomaceous earth, an organic spray designed to pull the insects out of hiding. The scientists later confirmed that “all possible measures were being taken” to control the problem, Military.com reported.
Mattresses, linens and privacy curtains in the ship’s berths have been replaced, and additional measures have been taken since the submarine’s arrival at Kitsap-Bremerton Naval Base, Washington, its home port.
Members of the crew of 100 have complained of a lack of sleep in addition to the pain from bedbug bites.
“They’re really frustrated and disappointed with the Navy,” Jeffery Rachall, who served on the submarine and has kept in touch with the current crew since leaving the Navy in 2018, told the Seattle Times.
“They complain about lack of sleep. They itch and the bugs are crawling all over the place,” said Rachall.