Bed bugs found in Lincoln Center’s Daniel H. Koch Theater and Metropolitan Opera House

by nobugsonme on October 17, 2010 · 10 comments

in bed bugs, bed bugs in the workplace, bed bugs in theaters

Bed bugs have recently been found in Lincoln Center, in the David H. Koch Theater, where the New York City Ballet and New York City Opera perform, and in the Metropolitan Opera House.

The New York Observer reported Wednesday:

According to an October 8 email that just came across our desk, Lincoln Center has had an outbreak of bedbugs in the dressing rooms at the David H. Koch Theater. The email is from Mark Heiser, the theater’s managing director, and says that treatment for the problem is under way.

The Observer also reports

…bug-sniffing dogs apparently found the vermin in the carpets and costumes of the dressing rooms.

Like a lot of stores and public places in New York City, bed bugs were detected in the Koch Theater by a canine scent detection team. It would be interesting if the news media would report whether visual inspections were being used to confirm these alerts, as bed bug experts such as Michael Potter and Louis Sorkin suggest should be the case, or if these dog alerts were confirmed another way (for example, Rick Cooper suggests the use of a second dog team to verify alerts).

This article in the WSJ’s Metropolis blog noted the Koch Theater’s bed bugs were limited to one dressing room only.

Metropolis also noted Thursday that this finding prompted the Met to conduct its own inspections of non-public areas. (The Met has been monitoring public areas including the lobby and auditorium since August.)

Metropolis quotes a statement from the Met,

“Bedbugs were discovered in some isolated locations but not in any public areas. There was no evidence of infestation. Those areas identified will be treated this afternoon.”

Note: opinions differ on how many bed bugs you need in order to use the term “infestation.” Make no mistake, even one bed bug is a problem, and the plural was used in both of these cases.

I am envisioning a pest control team doing its work in Viking helmets, Elmer Fudd-style, to Wagner’s “Flight of the Valkyries.”

Thanks to bugbitcha and others who drew our attention to this story.

1 Winston O. Buggy October 18, 2010 at 7:50 am

If it was the opera “Die Fledermaus,” it may have been a bat bug, Cimex adjunctus.

Interesting to note that here as in several of the recent high profile bed bug sightings, it has been employees that have unwittingly introduced them into the work place. This points to the need for prevention protocols which will limit introduction and spread in the event of introduction. Obviously this differs from type of location as well as location to location. In intake and interview settings establishment of isolated spartan interview areas may be one direction, reduction of personal clutter another. In call centers and stores we may see a return to the old cashier style see through purses. Stricter locker and don’t bring your world to work policies may be in order. The sooner we move toward these unfortunately draconian type of measures bed bugs will continue to be unwittingly introduced and the expense to establishments, agencies and venues will have serious economic consequences. Some of the recent names have spent over a hundred thousand dollars to deal with low level infestations. Certainly not a sustainable reality.

2 Lou Sorkin October 18, 2010 at 12:01 pm

A few weeks ago a woman who attends our NY Entomological Society meetings brought be a bed bug that she collected as it crawled on her and she was in the seating area of one of the theaters.

3 Bradley Skierkowski October 18, 2010 at 1:02 pm

The government is closing in on the bed bug problem. I heard they were working on something that will work similar to DDT without the cancer. LOL

4 bugbitcha October 18, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Winston O Buggy makes a great point, but in a large theater complex like Lincoln Center, I think it was just a matter of time before the bugs were discovered. But it brings to mind a question that I have been pondering…what should your protocol be when your work place has been identified as having bed bugs? Most of the information I have seen addresses what to do if you have bed bugs at home. What steps should one take to keep them out of your home when you KNOW your workplace has them? Any one have any good ideas?

5 Bugbuster October 19, 2010 at 10:18 am

Lou – I’m curious to know what you do when you go to a theater or movie theater to protect yourself. A little freaked out by your comment about the woman who captured on at Lincoln Center, since I go to the opera a lot!

6 CiLecto October 19, 2010 at 9:32 pm

IIRC, the Bugs Bunny episode ends with a dying Bugs asking “What? You were expecting a happy ending?”

7 pest control services dc October 25, 2010 at 7:58 am

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Thanks for this information….

8 Bradley Skierkowski December 27, 2010 at 11:15 am

Don’t forget whats up Doc?

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