Every month we like to highlight recent news stories that illustrate just how much of a problem bed bugs have become for communities across the country. You might think it would be difficult finding news stories to fit the bill, but nothing could be further from the truth. It seems like every few weeks there’s a news item that catches our attention, and we pass the most interesting ones on to our readers.
This month we thought we’d try something a little different. With a brand new year under way we thought we’d take a look back at some of the more shocking bed bug stories of the last year. Some of these stories may surprise you. Some may even give you the creeps. But all of these stories prove one thing for certain – bed bug infestations can happen anywhere, and they are not to be taken lightly.
Dateline Philadelphia – Bed Bugs Invade Pennsylvania Public Transport
In September of 2018 a passenger on one of Philadelphia’s cross-town buses discovered she was sharing her seat with some very unwelcome fellow travelers. As the bus was approaching her stop, Crystal Lopez naturally reached out to pull the bell cord. That’s when she noticed a cluster of crawling insects on the seatback in front of her.
Looking closer she realized the seat was covered in bed bugs. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just the one seat and Ms Lopez soon discovered that a few of the blood sucking little beasts had already crawled onto her arm and had begun to settle in for a meal. The video footage Lopez shot soon when viral, and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority were forced to quarantine a number of their buses and take the necessary steps to fumigate for the apparent infestation.
Dateline Disneyland – Couple Shares Hotel Room with Bed Bugs
Disneyland has often been called ‘the Happiest Place on Earth’, but Ivy Eldridge’s visit to the famed theme park in April of 2018 was anything but “happy”.
After checking into Anaheim’s Disneyland Hotel Ms Eldridge expected to spend a few fun filled days with her family, visiting Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and rubbing elbows with Mickey and Donald. What she got instead was a restless night in a bed bug infested hotel room. Ms Eldridge says her Disney themed holiday was ruined when she woke up to find herself covered in bed bug bites. She is suing the hotel for damages.
According to her lawyer, “This was not a situation where a person sustained one or two bites. Ms Eldridge was bitten throughout her body, including, but not limited to, her face, ears, neck, arms and back. She was absolutely butchered”
Dateline New Your City – Times Square Multiplex Crawling with Bed Bugs
Dinner and a movie shouldn’t end with an attack by bed bugs. But that’s just what happened at the AMC Empire 25 Multiplex in Times Square in October of 2017. During a showing of Jeepers Creepers 3: The Creeper Walks Among Us movie goers reportedly found themselves sharing their seats with some unwelcome companions. Ironically, considering the featured film that night, theater patrons found themselves being bitten by bed bugs while they tried to enjoy their evening’s entertainment.
Unfortunately, incidents like this are not as rare as they should be. Movie theaters, with their darkened atmosphere and upholstered seats, are an ideal hunting ground for bed bugs. So much so that Councilman Mark Levine has introduced legislation that would require theater owners to annually certify that their seats and auditoriums have been inspected and are free of bed bugs. Theater owners who fail to comply with the new legislation, or who are found to be operating theaters that are infested with bed bugs, would be subject to a hefty fine.
Dateline California – 3 Year Old Scarred by Bed Bug Bits
Our final story has been several years in the making. When the Martinez family settled into their new apartment in Inglewood, California the last thing on their minds was bed bugs. Then, one morning in 2012, their son Jorge woke up covered in red spots. Naturally his parents were concerned, and rushed the boy to the nearest hospital. The diagnosis? Young Jorge was covered in bed bug bites, and his reaction had been so severe that his body would be scarred for life from the loathsome pests bites.
Ms Martinez and her husband quickly informed the management of their apartment complex. They were told to dispose of their bedding and an exterminator would be out to handle the infestation. Unfortunate, the ensuing response was inadequate and the family continued to be plagued by bed bugs.
The Martinez family finally moved out of the infested apartment in 2014, and sued the apartment complex’s owners and management for breach of warranty of habitability, emotional distress, negligence and breach of contract.
The ensuing court case dragged on for years, and only now has a jury verdict been handed down. Amusement Six Apartments, the management firm responsible for the Martinez family’s apartment complex, were ordered to $1.6 million in damages. Meanwhile, 8 year old Jorge still has scars on his legs and torso from the ordeal.
These are only a few of the more shocking bed bug stories to hit the news in 2018. But what’s really shocking is there are plenty more where these came from. Bed bug infestations are on the rise throughout the country, and the problem has become so great that stories like these are now all too common. These stories are also a valuable reminder that bed bugs can turn up anywhere, and that anyone can find themselves on the wrong side of a bed bug infestation.
Published by Scott Palatnik
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