Are you heading to the cinema for a night out? Great! But before you sit down and enjoy your movie, there’s something else you should be aware of: bed bugs.
Found in a variety of public places, these tiny pests are becoming increasingly common – and movie theaters are no exception.
Aside from homes and offices, movie theaters are also known to be one of those places heavily infested with bed bugs.
The simple fact that people come in day in and out from these areas doesn’t make it any less of a probability. However, don’t let this fact scare you from going to the movie theaters – there are different ways how you can avoid it.
Why are Bed Bugs Found in Movie Theaters?
Movie theaters are prime locations for bed bugs because they provide an ideal environment for these pests to thrive. Here are some reasons:
The Dark Environment Just Makes Movie Theaters More Inviting for Bed Bugs
The dark, cozy seats and carpets provide a warm environment where bed bugs can easily hide away during the day. They also have easy access to food – in other words, you!
Your body heat and sweat attract these pests, making it even easier for them to feed off of you.
Moreover, bed bugs are notoriously difficult to detect. Their tiny size and color make it easy for them to go unnoticed and spread throughout a movie theater.
Once bed bugs establish themselves in a theater, they can quickly infest the entire space and even spread to adjacent buildings when the infestation blows out of proportion.
A Suitable Hiding Place
Another contributing factor to bed bug infestations in movie theaters is the use of soft, upholstered seating.
These types of seats provide an ideal hiding place for bed bugs, as they can burrow into the fabric and remain undetected for extended periods.
This makes it challenging to identify and eliminate bed bug infestations in movie theaters.
The Surge of People Coming In and Out of Movie Theaters
Since movie theaters are frequented by a high number of people on a daily basis, it makes them the perfect breeding ground for bed bugs.
These pests can easily move from one person to another and spread throughout the entire theater in no time at all.
Brought in By Numerous People
Aside from easy access to a blood meal, bed bugs can also be brought in by different people. Bed bugs can be introduced to movie theaters when moviegoers unknowingly bring infested items.
This could be clothing or bags. This can happen anywhere, but it is especially common in places where people sleep or spend extended periods, such as hotels, dormitories, homeless shelters – and yes, movie theaters.
The resurgence of people staying inside movie theaters provides bed bugs with an unlimited amount of food, and it is highly likely that the problem will not decrease anytime soon.
Reported Cases of Bed Bugs in Movie Theaters
Reports of bed bugs in movie theaters are not uncommon. In recent years, there have been several high-profile cases of bed bug infestations in movie theaters across the country.
For example, in 2010, a movie theater in Times Square was shut down due to a severe bed bug infestation. In 2016, a woman in California sued a theater chain after she suffered bed bug bites while watching a movie.
These reported cases of bed bugs in movie theaters had highlighted the need for increased awareness and prevention efforts.
In addition to these high-profile cases, many moviegoers have reported encountering bed bugs in theaters across the country.
The government has repeatedly warned theater owners to be vigilant when it comes to bed bug infestations and take the necessary precautions to prevent them.
Simple Yet Effective Ways to Avoid Bed Bugs in Movie Theaters as a Moviegoer
There are simple, yet effective ways proven to help moviegoers avoid bed bugs in movie theaters.
Wash Your Clothes in High Heat After Going to the Movies
After seeing a movie, it is important to wash your clothes in hot water and dry them on high heat. Technically speaking, this should be applied even if you haven’t seen any bed bugs in the theater.
Washing and heat drying your clothes (and any other fabric you brought to the theater with you), will help you avoid bringing bed bugs home.
Check Your Bag
As soon as you leave the theater, inspect your bag for any signs of bed bugs. You’ll never know what you could have brought from the theater, so it is best to be on the lookout.
If you can wash your bag, do it. If not, vacuum the interior, ensuring you get all the pockets and hidden seams.
The dark environment inside a movie theater makes it nearly impossible to check and inspect your seats for bedbugs. However, you can always check some reviews on the said movie theater.
Sometimes, people will leave reviews about their experiences in the theater and it is likely that if there were any bed bugs, someone would have mentioned it.
Try to look for comments and reviews mentioning anything about them itching during the show, or finding bites after they left.
Avoid Bringing Personal Items With You
Personal items that you often bring inside the bedroom such as blankets, pillows or stuffed animals can easily pick bed bugs up from the theater and bring them home.
If you’re going out with kids, make sure that you pack as minimally as possible, and put them in the washer and dryer when you get home. Don’t forget the high heat when laundering these items.
They’re resilient pests, and to ensure that you kill these bed bugs, turning the heat up is your best bet.
Check Your Skin
Finally, after you reach home, take a shower and check your body thoroughly for any bites or signs of bed bugs.
If you find any suspicious marks on your skin, start vacuuming thoroughly – including carpets and furniture – as soon as possible.
Don’t wait for these bed bugs to spread and multiply, take action as soon as possible before it causes any more trouble.
Use a Disposable Bag, If Possible
We know that this might not be the most fashionable way to carry items to the movies, but it is definitely the safest. If you can, bring a disposable bag with you and use that instead of your regular day-to-day bag.
This will help prevent bed bugs from catching a ride in your bag and coming home with you.
Avoid Putting Things on the Floor
It’s often tempting to put your bag, purse, or coat on the floor when you enter a movie theater.
While this might be convenient for you, it can make you an easy target for bed bugs. Try to avoid putting your personal items on the floor, and instead place them on your lap, or in your seat, if possible.
Use a Mattress Encasement in Your Home
What does this have to do with anything? Unfortunately, you can’t control bed bugs from movie theaters.
This is something that’s beyond your control, and since you can’t literally inspect every single seat in the theater, your best bet is prevention.
At home, you can prevent bed bugs that may have hitched a ride home with you by investing in a mattress encasement.
This will ensure that when you return home, bed bugs won’t be able to find a place to hide – and adding a mattress encasement to your bed is an easy, yet effective way to prevent an infestation from occurring.
Mattress encasements are an important part of any home’s bed bug prevention and control efforts. Investing in one will help keep you safe from those creepy crawlers, no matter where you go.
Unlike hotels that have a Bed Bug Registry, movie theaters, unfortunately, don’t have it. But that doesn’t mean you should stop going to movie theaters altogether or should start panicking when you visit one.
Remember, there are only a few situations that you can control. And while you can’t control how bed bugs are present in movie theaters, always remember that the first step is always up to you.
Practice preventative measures – and it starts and should be practiced at home. Stay vigilant at all times, whether it be in a movie theater or in a hotel, and your chances of getting an infestation will lessen significantly.