Mike Fleming

Amazing how a bedbug scare begins. One MSN reviewer’s tweet that a friend had been bitten by bedbugs while watching Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World at the Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto. That fueled a frenzy of reports that festival-goers might not be the only things swarming the movie theaters of Toronto next month. Toronto International Film Festival co-director Cameron Bailey sent a tweet vowing that Toronto would be an  “itch-free” festival and had gotten pest control involved with the theater that holds many fest screenings. Of course, movies play in theaters all over the city during the festival, and what about the overbooked hotels where they keep all those beds?

The Toronto Star this morning reports that it was told by theater-owner Cineplex that the theater was checked thoroughly following the complaint. It seems to them like this might be a case of someone yelling “bedbug” in a crowded movie theater. Not a single critter was apprehended. In New York, bedbug invasions have become so commonplace this summer, the parasites threaten to be part of the charm of the city. So what if there are bedbugs in Toronto?

The New York Times this morning helpfully published a major feature–in the Science and not the Arts section–on the blood-sucking bedbugs. The good news: there is no evidence these critters spread disease, only allergic reactions and scratching. The bad news: it has been incredibly difficult to eradicate the critters ever since DDT and other powerful pesticides were banned. The priority: keep the bugs from following you home. Keep luggage far from beds as possible, and bag up laundry and put it in the dryer on high heat to kill any stowaways when you get home. I’m making sure to bring Benadryl Spray, which I’ve found works well on the bites of Long Island mosquitoes. Hopefully, it doesn’t leave the suitcase I’ll probably keep in the bathtub.

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