The secret didn’t stay hidden from the town for long as moviegoers start to understand what the unexplained inspection is for: bed bugs.
Bed bugs are small, brown-red colored insects and can often be so small, they can pass through a stitch hole in a mattress. These bugs can lay one to five eggs (500 in a lifetime) a day and are cunning survivors. They can often live without a blood meal for months, though they cannot fly or hop — only crawl.
On Friday night, Matthew Wendt’s niece and a friend did what any other young person in Lodi do, which is head to the movies. However, instead of a spectacular cinematic experience, they walked away frustrated.
“I’m really inflamed, red, itchy, and in pain,” said Wendt’s niece. “I seriously got out of bed, took off my clothes and looked in the mirror and they were everywhere,” she explained.
Both her and her friend’s bodies are covered in bites that are undoubtedly from bed bugs. These bugs are attracted to the CO2 and warmth given off my humans. They have been shown to travel over 100 feet in a night but tend to live within around eight feet of where people sleep — and apparently where they sit.
The girls, who did not wish to be identified due to the potential of being teased at school, headed straight to the doctor’s office where the bites were confirmed as those from bed bugs.
“I was scared, nervous,” said the girl. Matthew Wendt contact the theater as soon as the bites were identified. To their dismay, the theater opened on Saturday as usual. Later that day he eventually got a call from the manager.
“He called me and said that they actually found bed bugs inside the theater,” Wendt said.
Wendt claims that he was very disappointed with how the theater handled the situation. Apparently this was not the first time the cinema had a bed bug problem, either. In the wake of his frustration, Wendt posted a picture of his niece’s bites on the cinema’s Facebook page to raise awareness of the problem — and the photo has generated a lot of attention.
The only response from the theater were posted signs stating an inspection was taking place. The staff eventually posted a response on the Facebook page saying that a pest control service is coming Monday.
The theater hopes to resolve the issue once and for all, but it is often difficult to kill bed bugs. Modern bed bug populations are very resistant to the insecticides used for their demise. Hopefully the theater is looking into heat remediation for bed bugs.