Trendy retailer Abercrombie & Fitch were forced to close two Manhattan stores this week, due to a bed bug infestation.
The Hollister store in New York’s Soho area was closed for 3 days, and the South Street Seaport outpost of Abercrombie closed yesterday.
Bedbugs, it seems are nocturnal creatures, and the dark clubby environment of the shops are prime breeding ground for the insects, with lots of clothing for them to snuggle up in.
The problem is, that they are tiny and hard to detect. They travel easily in clothing and handbags, and have no qualms about making themselves at home in new locations. Like their friends head lice, it is about transmission, not cleanliness, and they are very difficult to get rid of.
Abercrombie has stated that they will take back any purchases, and quarantine them before returning them to their headquarters in Ohio. This may help them avoid further inter-company spread, but if someone brought them home, they are probably already infested. I shudder to think about the other stores and offices in the area where they might have been taken inadvertently. The possibilities of a mass outbreak in New York are unfathomable.
Should you see signs of bedbugs, call an exterminator immediately. Do not take your clothing to a friend’s home or hotel unless it has just been washed and dried at high heat and put into a sealed plastic bag immediately.
Photo: Glasshouse Images