Movie theaters aren't always the most comfortable places - despite many modern advances to make them the contrary. The floors are almost always sticky, the smell of stale popcorn is always in the air, and it's an endless pain in the ass when you find yourself sitting in the one chair with the squeaky hinge. If these things are the worst that happens to you in a theater, however, you should count yourself lucky, as you could encounter bed bugs like the ones allegedly infesting one of New York's most popular multiplexes.
New York-centric website Gothamist has published an article claiming that the AMC Empire 25 multiplex - the one located right in the heart of Times Square - has bed bugs living in the seats. The theater has denied the reports, saying that they have not found any evidence to corroborate the stories that have been spreading from patrons. There does seem to be some proof floating around on social media.
The article shares one such example, a Facebook post by a woman whose boyfriend was bitten during a screening and found what an entomologist has identified as possibly eight-week-old nymph:
Ironically, she was at a screening of Jeepers Creepers 3: The Creeper Walks Among Us.
There have been reports about bed bugs at the AMC Empire 25 going back to 2010, but they aren't the only theater that has been experiencing the issue. It was just a few weeks back that we published an article about the Mounds 10 Theater in Anderson, Indiana, which has reportedly been repeatedly infested with the horrible insects. It does make sense that the parasitic, blood-feeding creatures would take up residence in theaters, given that they can burrow into the seat cushions and bite any of the thousands of people who walk through the doors during any given week.
The AMC Empire 25 says that the report has been investigated by a third-party pest control company and that preliminary inspections are done every night. Unfortunately, some movie-goers aren't satisfied. A petition has been launched on Change.org citing the many times that the theater has been infested, and calls for either a warning sign to be placed out front or for a renovation to be done. At the time of this article's publication it has 72 signatures.
For those of you who are concerned about bed bugs about your local theater, entomologist Jeffrey White had this advice to offer:
Take as few items as you can into theater, because that lessens the chance that you'll take something home with you. You can also inspect yourself closely when you come out, because you can see adult bedbugs. And if you really want to be safe, you can take off clothes immediately when you come home and put them in hot dry cycle, which will kill bugs.
Hopefully this is not an issue that any of you will have to death with.