Bedbugs Everywhere: National Security Issue But Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover?

Pardon me while I freak out. I just learned that the AMC Empire 25 in Times Square was closed and treated for bedbugs because two of the critters were found in theater seats in an inspection August3.

I am freaking because I was at that theater July 31, the same night a woman reported being bitten by one. Which prompted the inspection. Ew. This is disgusting — bedbugs are in stores, hotels, offices, and now theaters? In fact, according to a pest control report, sixty percent of the bedbug problem is coming from commercial areas such as theaters, hotels, stores and offices.

Fort Worth spent nearly half a million in April treating a city housing project for bedbugs and was not successful: they just moved everyone out. Dallas exterminators report getting about five calls a week now to check out or treat for the bugs, when all they used to get were five calls a year. In fact, according to the Bedbug Registry, bedbugs have been reported at the following Dallas hotels: Renaissance Dallas, Holiday Inn Market Center, Magnolia Hotel Dallas, Sumner Suites and the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. And while New York and Florida take the lead for having the worst bedbug infestations, Texas is on the list of the ten buggiest states, according to the pest control industry rag Pest Control Technology. And now the Department of Defense has been called in to try and nuke the suckers because other cities — Cincinnati, for one — are having such a tough time eradicating them, municipalities are asking DOD for guidance and government financial assistance to help the less fortunate pay for treatment. Because treating your home or apartment for bedbugs can run in the thousands — five to fifty. And since we were talking about homeowner’s insurance today, I’m wondering: if you do get bedbugs and have to toss out mattresses and sofas and Frette linens, will your homeowner’s insurance cover the loss?

I did go to New York prepared with flashlights for mattress inspections. I left one “boutique” hotel neat C.U. even though the clerk swore they had just passed an inspection — the baseboard behind the bed was so filthy when I inspected for bedbugs I wanted to gag. And the entire hotel smelled so obnoxiously flower-y I nick-named it Hotel Febreeze. (Four stars my rear.) When you have to spray that stuff everywhere, something’s getting covered up .

I emptied and scrubbed my suitcases in the laundry room, then left them out to bake in the Texas sun. But now to think we can pick them up in movie theaters? I predict we are going to hear a lot more about bedbugs this fall because they are rampant in college dorms. I am creating my own bed-bug detection kit – dry ice, dog food bowls for the feet of the bed, and talcum powder.