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March 2022 Issue
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Bed bugs under control

The interior of North Arm Hut was rebuilt last year to combat a bed-bug infestation.

Bed bugs continue to be found on Rakiura/Stewart Island but DOC says the situation is under control.

Last year, the department rebuilt the interior of North Arm Hut at an estimated cost of $30,000 to overcome an infestation of the bugs.

Recently, rangers had found one to two bed bugs in the hut every three to five days and there had been reports of bites, said Dale Chittenden, DOC heritage and visitors senior ranger.

The bugs were fully grown and likely to have “hitchhiked” to the hut on travellers’ gear, Chittenden said.

Bed bugs had also been found in huts on the Kepler Track, particularly Luxmore Hut.

“Trampers staying in DOC huts on Rakiura/Stewart Island and the Kepler in Fiordland get booking alerts informing them huts have been treated for bed bugs, that we are constantly monitoring them, and that they are welcome to change their plans or get a refund if this deters them,” Chittenden said.

Very few people were cancelling bookings, he said. Those with concerns were taking tents or switching tracks.

DOC was asking travellers to check their gear and to use DEET insect repellent to ward off the bugs.