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Source: Department of Conservation

Date:  15 November 2021

Bed bugs can appear without warning in high use shared sleeping areas, and DOC’s approach is to work swiftly to get on top of any minor infestations before they become a bigger issue. Senior Ranger Heritage and Visitors Dale Chittenden says wardens are checking North Arm Hut daily.

“Only one recent visitor has received bites while staying at the hut, but we’re still taking this very seriously,” says Dale. “Bed bugs are known hitch hikers and notoriously tricky to get rid of, so we’re requesting visitors check their gear to make sure bed bugs are not coming in or out of huts and other accommodation.”

The North Arm Hut last underwent a full chemical treatment in late September, while Luxmore Hut was treated in October. This treatment poses little risk to people. Dale says that if a full treatment is required that may pose a risk to hut users, the hut will temporarily be closed.

“Our response involves deep cleaning, chemical treatments and monitoring. We also communicate with our local accommodation providers, so they are aware of the situation. We want to control the bed bugs while avoiding disruption to the Great Walk experience; we don’t want a couple of bugs to spoil people’s plans.”

North Arm Hut will be closed on the morning of 18 November 2021 while a contractor carries out further bed bug treatment. Luxmore Hut will be treated again within the next two weeks. Both huts will remain open until further notice.

The best advice for stopping the spread of bed bugs includes:

  • Leave your gear outside the hut where possible; only take in what you need.
  • Ensure you air out and clean your gear regularly.
  • Be mindful of not spreading bed bugs to local accommodation providers.
  • Check with staff to see what their protocol is for managing gear which could have been in contact with bed bugs and their eggs.
  • Don’t disrupt the glue traps – leave them alone so we can keep monitoring.
  • Ideal control measures can vary by location; if in doubt, ask a warden.

If you have any concerns or wish to cancel your booking (full refunds are available), please contact the Rakiura National Park Visitor Centre on +64 3 219 0009 or Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre on +64 3 249 7924.

Contact

For media enquiries contact:

Email: media@doc.govt.nz

MIL OSI