Bed bugs are just like friends with benefits, without the friendliness or the benefits. They’re everywhere! They thrive in environments with a lot of traffic, dark places and environments where they can latch on to a new host to feed.
One of the more common areas for bed bugs are movie theaters. Often, the seats in movie theaters are cloth based which makes it extremely easy for bed bugs to breed inside the seams.
Additionally, with the severe outbreak of bed bugs in New York City (see bedbugregistry.com), how could any movie theater ever be sure that they don’t have bed bugs. The answer is: they can’t!
So many people shuffle in and out of any given theater so even if there was a bed bug sniffing dog there the previous day, the next day could begin re-infestation. In addition, bed bug sniffing dogs are not 100% accurate, especially in large environments such as a movie theater.
In an interview with NBC New York, Laura Perkins detailed her experience in the AMC Empire 25 Theaters in Times Square New York.
I would have embedded the video, but there is no option to, so you can view the entire video here.
What is startling about the entire story, is not so much the appearance of the actual bites themselves (which are pretty bad), but the statement e-mailed to NBC New York by a spokesperson from AMC, Ryan Noonan.
According to NBC New York:
“We take aggressive, proactive steps to ensure our theatres remain free of bedbugs,” Noonan wrote in an e-mail. “During the month of July, weekly inspections were conducted at AMC Empire 25 by a third-party pest control agency. The most recent inspection, conducted July 31, was performed less than 24 hours after a guest had voiced concern about the issue. All inspections revealed no bedbug presence in the building.”
The problems with this statement are very obvious:
There are many ways to inspect for bed bugs, Noonan’s statement wasn’t specific as to what methods were used.
The theater is extremely large and dark, making visual inspection by a human not very realistic.
The 3rd party company that performed the inspection is unnamed, who knows if it is even a reputable exterminator.
The inspection was done on July 31st, and the bites occurred on August 2nd, giving bed bugs ample time to reenter the establishment if they weren’t there to begin with.
Lastly, just because inspections revealed no bed bug presence in the building, doesn’t mean they weren’t there.
Laura Perkins posted a comment in response to the NBC New York story on their website, clearly frustrated and disappointed with how the story was reported. She remains adamant that the bites she received were from inside the theater.
Objectivity is still important however. Is it possible that she could have contracted one or two bugs from someone else on the train. Yes. Is it likely? No.
The facts are hard to ignore, “I was itching halfway through the movie,” stated Laura in her post-article comment. And the fact of the matter remains, that movie theaters are absolutely the perfect breeding grounds for bed bugs.
According to her statement, she declined free tickets offered to her by the movie theater. Personally, I wouldn’t take the free tickets either! In fact, I personally haven’t been to any movie theater in a very long time; ever since the United Artists Theater in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn was infested with bed bugs.
What makes me sick as a New Yorker is, that almost every time there are reports of bed bugs anywhere, there is always a landlord or spokesperson that surely lacks proper knowledge on bed bugs, releasing a statement trying to quell the reports so they don’t lose business.
Enough is enough, New Yorkers as a whole need to take a stand against businesses that have bed bug infestations! Especially those that aren’t exercising the best and most effective techniques.
Movie theaters aren’t safe! You just never know when they could be infested by bed bugs. I think Laura said it best. “Go at your own risk.”