Windsor Star

Cinemas squash bedbug rumours

Sniffer dog gives all-clear at Lakeshore

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Besieged by buzzing rumours of a bedbug infestatio­n, Lakeshore Cinemas cleared its name Thursday by calling in the dog.

The cinema called in a bedbug-sniffing dog to root through the theatre Thursday morning. General manager Andy Stockwell said the hound’s search turned up none of the insects.

“There’s been a lot of rumours flying around that theatres are infested with them,” Stockwell said.

“We were confident that there weren’t any problems and it was confirmed this morning.”

Stockwell said the dog, brought from Toronto by pest control company Orkin, would hopefully put to rest the bedbug rumours, which he’s been battling for at least a month. He said he’s been inundated with calls and questions from customers asking about a bedbug infestatio­n.

“It could essentiall­y damage our business,” he said.

“People are concerned about it. I field phone calls every single day about it. There’s no evidence to support it.”

Lakeshore Cinemas isn’t the first theatre to wind up in the rumour mill. Managers at Devonshire Mall’s Cineplex Odeon theatre refuted rumours of a bedbug infestatio­n earlier this week.

Thursday, three complaints about the theatre had been logged online at bedbugregi­stry.com. “many ppl in windsor know of this bc they have been biten,” reads one comment filed Nov. 14.

Pat Marshall, Cineplex’s vice-president of communicat­ions and investor relations, said Thursday there’s nothing to the theatre infestatio­n buzz. She said every bedbug complaint referred to a pest control company. “They have come back and reported that there are no bedbugs in any Cineplex theatres,” she said.

“We’re not making assumption­s. We call experts in and check.”

Marshall said the cases where people claim to have been bit have turned out to be something else, like a mosquito bite.

Chris Ortner, branch manager of Orkin Windsor, said bedbugs have entered the public consciousn­ess, leaving people wary of the slightest bite.

“There’s a lot of paranoia out there now,” he said. “Every time someone sees insects now or gets a rash, they’re very concerned it’s a bedbug bite.”

There won’t be any bedbugs biting at Lakeshore Cinemas, he said. The dog sniffed out all 10 theatres and the common areas and found no bedbugs. He said a dog can find bedbugs with 95 to 100 per cent certainty compared to 35 to 60 per cent for a human technician because a dog’s sense of smell is much sharper.

Ortner said the theatre rumour is one he’s heard again and again. He’s received at least 15 emails, he said, and people regularly ask his staff about theatre infestatio­ns.

Jesse Fedak, waiting in line outside the Palace Theatre downtown, said he’d heard about the rumours. “A few people have been talking about it,” he said. Some people, he said, are bringing garbage bags to the theatre to sit on in the hopes of avoiding bedbugs.

“I’m a little bit nervous but it’s not going to stop me from watching (Harry) Potter,” said the 18-year-old. Even if there were bedbugs, “I’d probably go see a movie if I wanted to.”

Eddie O’Neil, 18, said the bedbug buzz is circulatin­g on TV and at school. “Like anything in the media it’s kind of blown out of proportion,” he said.

The rumours made an impression on 41-year-old Joe Masse, though. “ It’s very possible,” he said, saying he planned to check his seat and its seams for bedbugs before he sat down.

 ?? DAN JANISSE/The Windsor Star ?? Workers pour cement at the water retention project in on the downtown waterfront.
DAN JANISSE/The Windsor Star Workers pour cement at the water retention project in on the downtown waterfront.

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