Maggots On A Plane, Bedbugs At Hollister, And Other Creepy Crawlies...

by AVERY SPOFFORD · July 1, 2010

Multiple varieties of vermin are making themselves at home in our city and our skies. Below, the information you need to know to avoid being bitten by or biting into the pests that have been making news and making tracks all over (and above) New York.-

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Maggots On A Plane

As if flying these days weren't nerve-wracking enough. In addition to the now-standard terrorism threat that crosses every air passenger's mind, we're faced with a new kind of biological warfare: Maggots falling from above.

It's impossible to get on a plane with even a pair of tweezers or cross international borders with so much as a package of prosciutto, yet somehow one passenger on a U.S. airways flight managed to board the plane with a container of rotten meat, swarming with maggots. Actually, never mind security concerns about how someone managed to get on the plane with such a thing -- let's focus on the more important question: WHY? To be determined.

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...Other Gross Things On A Plane

You might hope that once the plane has made it into the air without snakes, fly larvae or Al Quaeda busting out of the overhead compartments, you're in the clear, right? Wrong. So, so wrong. Launch eco-warfare weapon Phase II: Airline food. But you knew that already. But no, really, it's even worse than tasteless pasta and chewy chicken: Inspectors for the FDA found live roaches, roach "carcasses," ants, flies (aha! perhaps the source of Phase I: Mission Maggot), debris, bacteria and other unmentionable gross stuff at the catering facilities that produce much of the food served on airlines including Delta, American, US Airways (bad day for them) and Continental. Peanuts? Pretzels? Rodent feces? Complimentary beverage?

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Bed Bugs At Hollister

Out of the skies and into the city: Yesterday, New York's SoHo Hollister was closed due to what one employee called a "massive bedbug outbreak." Gothamist reports that for almost a month the store's higher-ups ignored the complaints of employees, some of whom were "covered in bites." Bedbugs feed on human blood and make their homes in dark, warm places. Ever been inside a Hollister store? Those places are kept in a perpetually "sultry" shade of dim (or nonexistent) lighting perfect for the not-so-sexy bed bug feeding frenzy going down at 600 Broadway. Furthermore, the little critters can travel in folds of clothing and can live for over a year between feedings. Fantastic. Not even the sexy Hollister lifeguards, who are still standing guard outside the store, are getting this girl within 4 city blocks of that place. Marketing fail.

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Shakespeare Raccoons In The Park

Lastly, a more mammalian threat: Rabid raccoons have been frequenting Central Park. This may be old news to those of you who were around for the red-level rabies scare of last December, but it comes as an unpleasant shock to this new NY resident (living less than one block from aforementioned park). Although no crazed 'coons have been spotted in the park for three weeks, more than 100 have been seen since January. However, the Department of Health has instituted a euthanasia and vaccination program that appears to have been effective -- hundreds of raccoons were vaccinated between February and April alone.

Raccoons may look cute, but I've seen those things in person, and they are damn scary. Nowhere near as awful-looking as possums, but you can bet they'll give you a nasty bite. Rabid raccoons rank below airborne maggots but above bedbugs on my fear-o-meter.