Despite the name, bed bugs can live almost anywhere these days. Your bed is not the only place that can get infested with these annoying insects. In fact, bed bugs can be found even in…movie theaters! That’s right, the place where you like to enjoy your weekends and relax. Fortunately, there are certainly effective and simple tips on how to avoid bed bugs at the movie theater.
So, how to avoid bed bugs at the movie theater? The two main pieces of advice we recommend to you for avoiding bed bugs at the movie theater is to use a phone flashlight and an insect repellent. It is quite normal to turn the phone flashlight on your phone and have a quick look at your seat, even if the movie had started already. Make sure to spend a few moments on looking for signs of a bed bug infestation (eggs, dark brown spots, and so on). In case you want the bugs to stay away from you and your clothes, then use an insect repellent before visiting the movie theater.
What else can you do to ensure that not a single bed bug appears in your house, after your visit to the movies? How did these insects get to the theater in the first place? And, ultimately, can you sue the establishment for bed bugs? If you want to find answers to these questions please continue reading the article!
Can Bed Bugs Live in Movie Theaters?
Unfortunately, bed bugs can live in movie theaters. In fact, these creatures absolutely adore such locations. We are used to thinking that bed bugs are blood-sucking insects that get out of their hideaways only when we are fast asleep in our beds. However, you don’t have to be deep asleep, in order for a bug to bite you. Moreover, these creatures can use couches and other seats to hide. So, when the lights go down in the movie theater, the bed bugs can get out of their hiding places and attack.
The truth is that a lot of movie theaters are infested. Even the ones that are relatively new ones.
Not so long ago, visitors started using social media and other platforms to complain about bed bug bites that they have got while they were watching the latest blockbuster. Of course, these annoying creatures can turn your day off into a real nightmare.
Why Are There Bed Bugs In Movie Theaters?
How did the bed bugs appear in the movie theater in the first place? They have traveled there on someone’s bag or clothes. That’s pretty much it. If we think about it, the movie theater is a perfect place for bed bugs. There are plenty of seats and other hiding places, the people are relaxed and distracted by the movie, and the lights go off. What can possibly be better for a bed bug?
By the way, these insects prefer to come out when the CO2 level rises and that’s exactly what happens in a full movie theater! Imagine packing the room with dozens (if not hundreds) of people who tend to exhale… The carbon dioxide levels will rise in minutes, and the bed bugs will start leaving their hideaways.
And last but not least, bed bugs prefer movie theaters because there is plenty of food for them (human hosts). While you might be enjoying your coke and popcorn, these insects will be…enjoying you.
Can You Get Bitten By Bed Bugs at a Movie Theater?
If the movie theater is infested, the chances are extremely high that you will get bitten by a bed bug. Even if there are only a few people watching the movie, these insects will react to the change in the CO2 level next to you and crawl towards the ‘prey’.
The main problem here is that the majority of people do not feel anything when a bed bug bites them. The tiny creature injects a certain chemical that acts as an anesthetic. Moreover, the bite might become swollen only after you leave the movie theater. That’s why some people might assume that they got the bite from another place.
Another important issue is that not a lot of people (movie theater administration included) think that the bed bug problem is serious. The theater might receive plenty of complaints about bed bug bites, but only some take them seriously and decide to get rid of the problem.
Can You Get Bed Bugs from a Movie Theater?
The worst part of it all is not the actual bite (though we have to admit, it’s incredibly uncomfortable to know that an insect of some kind had made you its meal), but the fact that you can end up bringing bed bugs into your house!
As you might already know, bed bugs are experienced travelers. They can easily hide in your handbags or even clothes. And once you get back home, these creatures will hide somewhere and then make their way to your bedroom.
Of course, getting bitten in the movie theater is one thing. But experiencing the whole thing again and again in your bedroom is really terrible. In case you manage to bring these insects from the movie theater back to your house, you would, most likely, have to deal with the infestation because even a few bed bugs can result in hundreds or even thousands of these annoying insects hiding in your house in a couple of months.
Can You Sue a Movie Theater for Having Bed Bugs?
In theory, you totally can sue a movie theater. However, be ready to spend a lot of time and effort on the whole process.
In case the bites have gone away in a few hours and you haven’t experienced any problems ever since then all you can really do is file a complaint with the local county department. In fact, that is what you should do, as this might make the managers of the movie theater actually start fighting the problem.
By the way, reporting to the manager of the movie theater should certainly be your first step. The least that the administration can do for you, is gift a few tickets. However, it might be possible that the managers had absolutely no idea that such a problem existed and thanks to you the movie theater will start to fight the infestation.
There have been cases when people sued hotels that had bed bugs and won thousands of dollars. So, you certainly can sue a movie theater. But do it the smart way:
1. Document your injuries (that includes even a single bed bug bite). You can take a picture or a video on your phone. Make sure that the quality is good.
2. Notify the owner or the authorized agent. Ideally, you would want to do that in a written form and then keep a copy of all the correspondence (including the answers of the movie theater representative).
3. Keep track of your lost time. For example, you can’t go to work with bed bug bites. Even if you can’t devote time to your hobbies because of the injuries – you still have to keep track of all of that as well.
4. Note the psychological effects of being a victim. Have you experienced stress, anxiety or sleeping problems after the incident? Keep track of that.
5. Was your personal property damaged? This point can start from having a few stains on your favorite shirt and end with the damage that the bed bugs have caused to your house after you have brought them there from the movie theater.
You can also spend a few minutes to write some reviews online to warn other people about the problem.
How to Protect Yourself from Bed Bugs in Movie Theaters: Step-by-Step Instructions
You can certainly continue going to movie theaters. Simply make sure to closely follow these instructions.
- The first thing you would want to do is check the reviews. In case there is an infestation in the movie theater, the chances are high that at least one guest had mentioned it in an online review. Moreover, if you are from the United States or Canada, you can use The Bedbug Registry – a public database of user-submitted reports.
- Dress in light-colored clothes. The trick is simple – it will be easier for you to spot a bed bug on light-colored clothes as the insects are reddish-brown in most cases.
- When it comes to your clothes, there is another tip. The less skin you expose, the better. Wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants and the chances that you will get bitten by a bed bug will be minimal.
- Carry fewer belongings. Bed bugs would be happy to crawl in your handbag and move to your house. The fewer bags you have – the less are the chances that these insects will become hitchhikers.
- Remember that you can always use a bed bug travel spray. Spray all around your sit in a movie theater. By the way, there are certain smells that bed bugs are not fond of that you can use on yourself. For example, lavender and mint will help keep the bed bugs away from you.
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- Use a phone flashlight and carefully check your seat. Even if the movie has already started, it is ok to get your flashlight out and perform a little examination before settling in the seat for two hours. Look for bed bug eggs, discarded exoskeletons, dark brown spots, bloodstains or even actual bed bugs. You might also notice a specific odor.
- In case you are not ashamed of going the extra mile (which you certainly should not be, especially, if you are allergic to bed bug bites), you can carry a sheet with you. Use a white sheet to spread it on the seat.
- Unfortunately, there are still a few minor things that you would have to do, even after you have left the movie theater. Bed bugs might be hiding in your bags or clothes, so don’t just toss those all-around your house. Thoroughly check your belongings and use a bed bug killer.
How Common Are Bed Bugs in Movie Theaters
Today’s reality is that bed bugs can be found practically anywhere. In hotels, on airplanes, in libraries, and, of course, movie theaters. Unfortunately, it is common to encounter a bed bug in a movie theater and that’s exactly why it is important to acknowledge the problem and take preventative measures.
Don’t let these annoying creatures stop you from watching the movie that you have been waiting for on a big screen. We gave you great tips on how to avoid bed bugs in a movie theater that actually work. So, make sure to use those during your next movie night.
List of Sources
Bed Bug Prevention Methods, Virginia Tech
Bed Bugs: What Schools Need to Know, Michigan Bed Bug Working Group
Bed Bugs, Marshall University