AMC Empire Theater Latest To Tackle Bed Bug Menace

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/CBS 2) – Bed bugs are taking over Manhattan, and the invasion is getting worse as the creepy crawlers turn up in even more locations.

Bed bugs have turned up at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, the main library in Manhattan, and the Time Warner Building. The bugs have also been spotted in a SoHo “Hollister” store, an “Abercrombie & Fitch” store at South Street Seaport, and an East Side “Victoria’s Secret” retailer.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports

The latest location to report bed bugs is the AMC Empire Movie Theater in Times Square.

AMC Empire 25 had their latest bed bug treatment Tuesday night after a specialist detected bugs in the theater weeks ago.

“We have taken aggressive and proactive steps to help ensure our theaters remain free of bed bugs,” an AMC spokesperson said.

Brittany Clem went through the bed bug nightmare a year ago, when they infested her apartment.

“They’re just huge bites all over your body, and they’re unbearably itchy,” Clem said.

Sarah Jack told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin that she’s ready to go into the AMC Empire after its latest round of bed bug treatments.

“I’ll try to find a few plastic bags and sit on them to be extra cautious,” Jack said.

City Council Member Gail Brewer said coming clean about the problem is a crucial first step.

“People are feeling less stigmatized and saying ‘I have bed bugs,'” Brewer said.

Richard Cooper is an entomologist who wrote the book on bed bugs – literally – as author of “Bed Bugs 101.”. He says they’ve been infesting homes for years, and that’s how they’re spreading to so many businesses and public places.

“It didn’t start in the business – it’s not a reflection on sanitation, it’s not a reflection on their cleaning or the quality of the establishment,” Cooper, also the vice president of BedBug Central, said. “It’s just the fact that there are so many people who have infestations at home that they are introducing them into these establishments.”

Cooper says the key to stopping bed bugs from popping up at public establishments is to be proactive and stop the infestations at home. He says using so-called “climb-up inceptors” on the legs of your bed can help detect and trap the bugs.

“The climb-up device will intercept the insects as they’re coming to the bed and trapping them in the well,” Cooper said. “We [also] want to eliminate contact services, like dust ruffles, so that there are not alternative ways onto the bed.”

Cooper also says a mattress encasement that zips up around your mattress and box spring will help keep the bugs out. Bed bugs also often hitch a ride on your clothes and bags, so less is more when you’re heading out.

“Don’t bring a whole bunch of stuff with you – don’t necessarily bring a big backpack, or a bag that’s filled,” Cooper said. “You could minimize – just bring a small bag that you could easily throw in a washer or a dryer, because heat will destroy the bugs and the eggs.”

Cooper says there’s no reason to panic over bed bugs, but it’s vital to be proactive and learn how to detect them as soon as possible.

Experts say if you can detect bed bugs within a few weeks, you can get rid of them pretty quickly and inexpensively.

The problem is, many people don’t know their home has been infested for months, and that’s when the problem becomes a nightmare.

  • Bed Bug Killer

    I have to disagree with Salim, having bed bugs is not a sanitary issue. They do not care if the place is clean or not but are just after warm blood. Bed bugs are so annoying and should all be killed! – Tracy

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  • rugrats04

    My daughter had over 25 bites up and down the side of her body after returning from July 4th weekend stay in Las Vegas…. we are in the Los Angeles are.

  • salim

    Just Show that Americans are dirty

  • U.N. Owen

    A message to conspiracy nuts, like ‘toy’: the re-appearance of bedbugs has NOTHING to with the ‘government,’ other than the fact that the insecticides we used to use to kill them have been outlawed (ever hear of DDT? No, I don’t think so).

    We haven’t used the proper insecticides for over 20 years, in some instances. THAT – and THAT ALONE is the reason.

    It’s because of paranoiacs/un-educatced people like you that ‘conspiracies’ – big and small are born.

    It would really help if people went to school, and if school was STILL a place to L-E-A-R-N. The continuing dumbing-down of society.

  • U.N. Owen

    Oh my goodness – WCBS JUST noticed bedbugs!!! I guess if it was some b-sh-t like ‘Lindsay Lohan has bedbugs’ they’d have said something A YEAR OR SO AGO!!! Great job, WCBS! right on the ball, as always.

  • New Yorker

    I discovered 2 bedbugs last week at home in Riverdale, Bronx. My wife was reading a book on her Nook and started screaming when she saw one of the bugs on a bed rail I use only when my son sleeps on our bed. we immediately checked the bed for more and that’s when I discovered two small bugs moving inside the plastic corner guards. we killed the bugs and slept on it for one more day but my wife could not take it anymore and she called 1800-mattress and bought a new bed. Money I didn’t intend on spending. But I still think What if there are inside our closets and comeback and ruin my new bed. I wonder if i got them from the hotel in Georgia and North Carolina I visited 4 weeks ago.

  • L

    Bedbugs actually only bite when you are sleeping and motionless in your (once) comfortable bed and suck your blood leaving potentially huge welts on your skin that may scar. They can be found in 5 star hotels and 1 star hotels alike… and getting rid of them is not as easy as gassing your home because they can live without food (your blood) for over a year! It may cost $1,000’s (that’s plural) to get rid of them and a lot of psychological trauma. Do your research, know what to look for to catch them when it’s early otherwise you are doing yourself, neighbors, friends, or anyone who enters your residence or business a disservice.And, no, it has NOTHING to do with immigration, red-necks, or being dirty. I’m sorry, but I don’t have disposable time or money to deal with an issue like this that could take months to “fix”.. So, yes, this is a SERIOUS problem and, for those of you who don’t think so, wait until they feast on you while you’re sleeping. Good luck getting some shut-eye then.

  • Gogo

    Blame rightwing white redneck. They’re pretty filthy. And stupid.

  • Jay

    Bed bugs are a fact of urban life that’s been around as long as humanity. They’re a nuisance, but they aren’t the plague.

    The only epidemic is paranoid, alarmist media coverage.

  • Emperor of the world

    America is exporting roaches worldwide,as you can check for yourself on wikipedia,so dont tell me that americans are superclean and the rest of the world are dirty bums.I smell sweat from people in stores in America-I never did anywhere else yet.American bathrooms in public places smell and look very dirty.And to people who think that the immigrants are bringing bedbugs,here is a short story:a person i know living in Florida went to visit her mother in Austria and her disguisted mother found a cockroach in her suitcase(they`re common in FL).So there,clean americans.

  • Avenger

    I believe the Bedbug exterminating companies are planting the little critters to boost business. Their ads were on the subways months before you even heard there was a problem……hmmmmm what a coincidence?

    • Clifton Strelle

      I happen to believe you 100% on this. I have been pondering this thought in my mind for quite a while. Everyone deals with their own pest problems, but with Bedbugs, that is not really an option. Look at how Bell Environmental just took over subways ads and on air media – – proliferating the need to get “Roscoe,” their bedbug sniffing dog into your house. An investigation is in order, but won’t prove a thing. It is a nasty/terrible problem and will plague this city (of New York) for a long, long time.

  • Tito

    PETA brought them here to save them

  • River

    There are literally dozens of reasons bedbugs can suddenly spread, due to inefficient handling most of the time.
    It is too bad we have those dunderheads who blame everything on their current political dislike. It is ignorance like that, that would assume it was Obama’s fault if an asteroid hit the earth.
    Stupidity is not the reason science has come so far.

  • d

    according to an exterminator specializing in bedbugs here in nyc,
    – yes, we did pretty much eliminate bedbugs in this country decades ago.
    – they’ve been brought back here mainly b/c of an increase in international travel
    – other countries still have bedbugs, but it’s mostly under control, kind of like roaches in this country.
    – since we haven’t had to deal with them for so long, we are ill-equipped to handle them, and are playing catch-up.

  • RoRo

    If you are blaming bedbugs on illegals, you are serious a ! These bugs dont discriminate on race or your lifestyle. You can be clean and they will still want to suck you dry. Stop blaming your meaningless life on illegals. If your are a failure, pick yourself up and take responsibility instead of blaming on the defenseless. Illegal immigrants and bedbugs are two separate issues. And I’m not even mexican!

    • La Femme

      Yaaahhhhh! Thanks for that.

  • Mick Jagger

    Rats on the Westside, bedbugs uptown. This town’s in tatters…

  • Bill

    Who says our ports can’t be bought

  • Jennifer

    Rats on the west side bed bugs uptown.

    • Jay


  • Bill

    Just another byproduct of using cheap labor from other countries…

    • hon l

      sometimes me too

      • mike

        uh what??

    • c.anello

      what product?

  • Toy

    I wonder why we suddenly find ourselves surrounded by something we got rid of decades ago…. This can’t be simply immigration related, can it?… I mean, our government CHECKS everything before it’s allowed into the country, DON’T THEY?

    • StormsNYC

      Its because the pesticides that were previously used to kill bedbugs are now illegal to use, apparently something that kills bugs could be toxic to humans, who knew…

      • CJ

        It is not that the insecticides were toxic to humans, they were toxic to bees and harmful to some animals such as birds and frogs.

    • FedUpWithXenophobes

      Toy —

      The infestation is largely the result of the banning of certain highly effective pesticides — such as DDT. So no, it can’t “be simply immigration related.”

      • easyrider

        shortsighted moron. It is immigration related.

    • NR

      Well, I actually researched this. The bed bug infestation began within the last decade and was brought from European tourists. Bed bugs had been nearly erradicated in the United States for some time.

    • El

      Anyone who thinks this is related to immigration is an idiot.

    • Megan H

      I don’t think it is immigration related. Are you suggesting that immigrants are also to blame for bed bugs? Please educate yourself and try to find the source inside our own culture not other’s.
      Let’s start taking responsibilities for our own actions.

  • Lex

    People need to seriously start taking showers before they leave the house. Especially dirty hipsters that live in bedbug infested buildings in Williamsburg and Bushwick.

    • jim

      it has nothing to do with cleanliness. bed bugs are in the lice family. they take forever to kill if they’ve laid eggs, and simply suck blood. the cleanest hotels in the city have been infested as well… its not about the people, its about where people congregate and sit still for hours at time… educate yourself before you presume to know…

      • Xandos

        You’re right that it’s got nothing to do with cleanliness. However, Bed bugs are in the family Cimicidae, Order Heteroptera, within Class Insecta, whereas lice are in the Order Phthiraptera, which is to day they are most definitely not in the same family. Educate yourself before you presume to know.

  • nathan

    Its only a matter of time until they are in every conceivable place we congregate.

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