Covering Louisiana

Nov 30, 2011 7:04 PM by Jenise Fernandez

Theater denying claims of bed bug problem

The Grand 16 on Johnston is denying claims made by the Independent that the theater has an ongoing bed bug problem.

"They've all been inspected. Each auditorium, each seat. There's not a seat in this area that has a bed bug in it."

Southern Theaters Regional Director Eric Kullander says in recent years, people have complained of bed bug bites at the Grand 16. The theatre investigated each claim and found nothing.

"The minute we have a complaint, we will not have one more person sit in that seat," said Kullander.

He says once someone claims they've been bitten, management quarantines the seat and whether or not they find bed bugs--the seat is treated.

The Grand 16 uses dogs to look for bed bugs, for this inspection, they brought in a two-year-old Border Collie named Deuce.

"We train dogs to detect the odor of bed bugs," said Jim Latimer, inspector and trainer.

KATC chose a random theater and put Deuce to the test. He sniffed around auditorium 8, he stopped at one seat, but no bed bugs were found.

Latimer says there's no way to stop bed bugs from spreading, but suggests people be aware of their surroundings.

"Be proactive. If you go into a hotel, check around the mattress and check behind the bed board and talk to management, ask them what they're doing to address this issue," he said. And what do you look for? Although hard to see with the naked eye, Latimer says a flashlight will help spot them.

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