In a world where bedbugs have an entire city on the edge of its seat, Jill Donchey and her husband Jonathan, of the Upper East Side, are fighting back -- with an invention called The Seat Defender.
"We don't guarantee you won't get a bedbug," said Donchey, who demonstrated the invention in an office conference room, "but it will greatly reduce the risk."
The Seat Defender is like a clear plastic garbage bag, only it's shaped to fit over a chair, including the arms of a movie seat. Donchey says as the recent epidemic of the blood-sucking critters has skyrocketed, her friends have started getting antsy when they go to the local multiplex.
"The buzz in the movie theater was oh my God, are we sitting on bedbugs?" she said.
But does the invention really work? Tim Wong, an exterminator from M and M Environmental, is skeptical. The problem, he says, is the plastic might not cover the base of the chair. So the bugs can crawl down and around and onto the unsuspecting person in the seat.
"Within 30 seconds," said Wong.
He advocates instead not keeping your purse or handbag on the floor, but to bring it to the movies in a Ziploc bag. He also says keep in mind the chances of picking up bedbugs in a theater, are just one of those risks that people need to consider in a big city.
"You're going to find bedbugs almost everywhere," said Wong. "You can. Just like you can catch the flu everywhere."
New York's recent rash of the roving insects who invade apartments and feast on its inhabitants has garnered worldwide attention. Exterminators recommend bug-sniffing dogs, heat and cold treatments, and pesticides. And new laws require landlords to disclose a building's recent bedbug history.