Published October 12, 2010
Bradley Cooper, Renee Zellweger, Howard Stern....
What do these celebrities have in common aside from money, fame and paparazzi camped outside their homes and places of business?
That would be bedbugs.
The blood sucking nuisances have attacked them in hotels, houses, apartments -- even their limousines!
Howard Stern announced on his Sirius XM Radio show that he was still “scratching every minute,” but that his apartment in New York City was now supposedly “100 percent bedbug-free.”
Same with his limo, where trained dogs sniffed out even more of the little buggers.
New couple Cooper and Zellweger had to throw out their mattress according to The National Enquirer. “Renee was really creeped out," a source told the tabloid, adding “Bradley’s been traveling a lot and staying in various hotels, and figures he must have picked up the bedbugs somewhere and brought them home.”
Pop star Lauren Hildebrandt was bit by the bugs while staying at hotels in New York City. “People should be aware of the danger in NYC hotels right now,” she said in a press release, “I couldn’t sleep at night, because I kept thinking they were in my bed.”
While the name of the hotel has not been released, it is suspected to be a luxury chain hotel located in Union Square.
WWE announcer Jeremy Borash tweeted about his attack in late September while staying at a hotel in New Jersey.
“Face got bedbugged in 4star hotel. Inspectors confirmed. Hotel wants me to sign release in exch for compensation. What should I ask for?” Borash said in a post.
And while bedbugs are making headlines in 2010, it's not a new problem.
In 2006 Saturday Night Live’s Maya Rudolph and her director husband, Paul Anderson filed a $450,000 lawsuit stating that immediately after they moved into a SoHo apartment with their baby, they noticed the bites appearing all over their body. “Apparently unbeknown to the plaintiffs, the premises were infested with bedbugs,” court documents said.
Action Pest Control has been working night and day to rid clients of the pests. “The calls have just been out of control,” APC president John Russell said.
The company has added a K-9 Team to their unit in an effort to crack down on the parasites. “The dogs are quite helpful in that we can do roughly 35-50 hotel rooms in an hour,” Russell said.
However, celebrities traveling from five-star hotel to five-star hotel may be at increased risk for the little suckers because “high-end hotels are less receptive to the dogs because they don’t want the prestige of having bedbugs," according to Russell.
“Rather than facing it and saying ‘oh you know what? Bedbugs are a problem in the hotel industry, and we are taking preventative measures,’ they don’t want the dogs to be seen,” he said.
It’s not just the hotels that put celebrities at risk. Their tendency to buy multiple properties and perpetual-motion lifestyles also increase bed-bug risk.
“Moving trucks are a huge concern,” Jeffrey White, a Research Entomologist for BedBug Central said, stressing that once they move infected furniture, they act as vectors infecting otherwise healthy furniture.
Russell and his staff have gotten phone calls from landlords of apartment complexes where celebrities live, and often the client is concerned about keeping the problem quiet. Plus, "anyone that has any type of notoriety thinks that they should get special treatment,” Russell said.
“The scary part is how fast they are spreading, if you look at New York City’s 311 line, in 2005, they had just over 500 calls, and now they have just under 11,000,” Jeffrey White, a Research Entomologist for BedBug Central explained. “A lot of it has to do with people still thinking this is a nursery rhyme you know, ‘sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.’”