New Method of Infestation

Going to library to check out your favorite book? You could be checking out your worst nightmare…a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs have found a new way to get into homes and that is though books checked out in public libraries. They hide as unassuming stowaways on your favorite novels and get into your bed when you lay down to do some reading. Because they are so small, they often go unnoticed. This allows the infestation to grow. Be vigilante and be sure to check anything that goes in and out of your home to prevent infestation.

READING in bed, once considered a relatively safe pastime, is now seen by some as a riskier proposition.

That’s because bedbugs have discovered a new way to hitchhike in and out of beds: library books. It turns out that tiny bedbugs and their eggs can hide in the spines of hardcover books. The bugs crawl out at night to feed, find a new home in a headboard, and soon readers are enjoying not only plot twists but post-bite welts.

As libraries are scrambling to deal with the problem, so are some book borrowers. Not wanting to spread the misery, considerate patrons sometimes call ahead to discuss with librarians how best to return lent materials from their bedbug-infested homes. Usually, a meeting is arranged so the patron can hand off the offending books or DVDs in Ziploc bags to an employee outside the library.

John Furman, the owner of Boot-a-Pest, a team of bedbug exterminators based on Long Island, said he has had hundreds of clients buy a portable heater called PackTite to kill bedbug life, baking any used or borrowed book as a preventive measure before taking it to bed.

 

Mark Lillis of Schendel Pest Services examines quarantined crates filled with library books in Wichita, Kan. Credit Steve Hebert for The New York Times
But others have stopped borrowing books altogether. Each month, Angelica McAdoo, a jewelry designer, and her children used to bring home a stack of books from the Los Angeles Central Library — until Mrs. McAdoo heard that the library had had a bedbug scare in September. She had already battled bedbugs in her two-bedroom apartment in East Hollywood and hired an exterminator, who sprayed the perimeter of her bookshelves with pesticide, among other precautions.

For now, she is buying books at Target and is ambivalent about borrowing library books again. “I will not step foot in a library ever again — right now,” she said.

To reassure skittish patrons like Mrs. McAdoo, libraries are training circulation staff members to look for carcasses and live insects. Some employees treat suspect books with heat before re-shelving them, to kill bedbugs, which are about the size of an apple seed when fully grown. Others vacuum the crevices of couches, and some furniture is being reupholstered with vinyl or leatherette to make it less hospitable to insects.

As Michael Potter, a professor of entomology at University of Kentucky in Lexington, noted: “There’s no question in past few years there are more and more reports of bedbugs showing up in libraries.”

Pest-control experts say the bugs are increasingly moving from homes, dorms and other lodging to settings like retail stores, offices and libraries, migrating not only in book spines, but also on patrons or their belongings.

And some librarians are not only confronting the public relations challenges in their communities, but trying to get ahead of the problem rather than hiding its existence.

Read more at: http://nyti.ms/1NyjG7d

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