Navy still battling bedbug infestation on Washington-based submarine

The Seawolf-class attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) arrives at Naval Base Kitsap after completing a four-month deployment to the western Pacific region in 2012. (US NAVY)

Abbie Shull

The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)

This month, the Navy has been hard at work fighting a war against an infestation of bedbugs aboard a nuclear-powered submarine, the U.S.S. Connecticut, at its homeport in Bremerton.

The Seawolf-class attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) arrives at Naval Base Kitsap after completing a four-month deployment to the western Pacific region in 2012. (US NAVY)

Navy entomologists say every measure has been taken to eradicate the infestation, and sailors can return to the fast-attack sub, according to a statement from Naval Submarine Forces Pacific public affairs.

The Navy said the infestation was first reported in December 2020, but bed bugs weren’t found onboard until Feb. 19. Sailors told Navy Times they’ve been complaining about the bed bugs since March 2020.

“We’ve had bed bugs for a year now,” a petty officer told The Navy Times. “Sailors complained about getting bitten in the racks.”

Some of the crew of the Connecticut was moved to a temporary shelter to avoid using the “racks” onboard where people sleep and where bed bugs were detected.

Navy public affairs said the criteria for treating submarines or ships requires the physical presence of bed bugs to establish an infestation.

The Navy said it has battled the bugs with daily inspections, including searches of all mattresses, extensive laundering of linens and “deadly countermeasures” by the Navy’s entomologists.

The Connecticut was transferred to its Washington homeport in 2011. It can be used to conduct reconnaissance and protect Navy fleets.

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