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Bed Bugs Now Creeping Into Our Libraries

Bed bug problems have been reported in libraries from Connecticut to California and the Lehigh Valley is no exception

Bed bug alerts are nothing new for hotel guests -- but libraries are now looking out for the insidious pests.

A bed bug-sniffing dog was brought to the Lower Macungie Public Library recently after bed bugs were found in DVDs returned through the library's book drop.

Library staff tightly bagged and discarded the DVDs and the pieces of rug that lined the bookdrop. The library was then closed until an inspection by an Ehrlich exterminator.

Director Kathee Rhodes wanted to go even further to ensure the library was pest free, so she called in Dino, the bed bug-sniffing beagle from Good Night, Sleep Tight to give the final word.

Dino was very interested in one sofa and --  though an inspection revealed no bugs in it -- the sofa was removed, Rhodes told Patch.

Bed bug infiltrations have been reported in libraries from Connecticut to Oklahoma to California.

Bed bugs have been described as "perfect parasites" by Patch blogger Marten Edwards.

"Bed bugs painlessly suck our blood while we are sleeping and creep away immediately after they are finished with their meal," Edwards wrote in a June 2012 blog post.

Richard Pollack November 28, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Whereas bed bugs do occasionally visit libraries, personnel there might benefit by conducting a bit more research before taking further action. Although they acted with good intent, those efforts were based upon questionable guidance. Disposing of the CDs, removing the sofa, closing the library and relying upon a dog's nose were each unjustified. Whereas these steps might seem intuitively wise, they're actually wasteful and counterproductive. In many such cases, the presumed 'bed bugs' are actually other kinds of creatures that deserve far less reaction. Obtaining a rapid, independent and expert evaluation of the specimens is critical before taking action. Even if bed bugs were confirmed, there would have been more appropriate steps to pursue.
Rosemary B November 28, 2012 at 01:07 PM
What could possibly be more appropriate then getting rid of the items?I have a big fear of bedbugs and know neighbors who have spent thousands on getting rid of them and on having to replace items that are infested. See,s like a small price to pay for the employees peace of mind and the library patrons peace of mind. But if there is a better way to go. please share it.
Joan Perry November 28, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Sorry, I have to agree with getting rid of the items in question. Bed bugs are extremely easy to bring home and hard to get rid of - read for yourself here http://www.pestcontrolexperts.com/where-do-bed-bugs-come-from While they don't necessarily spread disease, who wants to deal with bites all night? It would only be a matter of time before the library was getting sued some sort of way. BTW, dogs are often used to find bedbugs.
Janet Persing November 28, 2012 at 11:38 PM
So, Richard, what is your solution to this problem?
New World Orphan November 29, 2012 at 12:11 AM
haha if you think that's bad visit the Allentown Public Library then!!!
Richard Pollack November 29, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Rosemary & Janet: Appropriate responses would include the following: 1. Ensure that the pests are properly identified. The vast majority of presumed bed bug samples I've received (and these number in the thousands) were not bed bugs. Many are other kinds of insects (most innocuous) and yet others were merely bits of debris. I've not seen the samples in this case, but I do encourage folks to resist the urge to jump to conclusions. 2. Perform a calm and careful risk assessment. Even if those creatures were genuine bed bugs, the objects could be rendered free of bed bugs. The DVDs could simply be wiped with a soft clean cloth, and the case shaken over a sink or outdoors. Different options exist for books and other items. As far as the sofa, if no bed bugs were observed or detected, why remove it? 3. Install and monitor low cost surveillance devices (such as non-adhesive insect glue traps) in strategic locations in the library (or school, business, apartment, etc). These can provide evidence of bed bugs, cockroaches, filth flies, diverse beetles, and yet other creatures. 4. Develop rational integrated pest management plans that specify carefully considered and measured responses. This would include coordinating an intervention with a licensed pest management professional. Responses would ideally be proportional to the threat. For more information and guidance, visit my educational site at https://identify.us.com
Ben Miller November 29, 2012 at 03:30 AM
Richard, One of my kids' friends brought bedbugs into my house and it was a nightmare. It cost me $1500 to get rid of them, the bug guy had to come spray three times and each time, I had to launder all our clothes and bedding and linens. It was a horrible experience and by the way you're talking, you clearly have not been through it. Worst part is that the bug guy told me that bed bugs were almost completely wiped out until the hippies got ddt and its derivatives banned... In the past, one visit for a hundred bucks would have killed them.
Richard Pollack November 29, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Ben, Sorry about your nightmarish experiences. Yes, it can be difficult and costly to eliminate bed bugs, but it does not always need be so challenging. I think you could have saved much time and effort by not laundering all your clothes. I'm not convinced that really helped you. Unfortunately, such laundering is one of several controversial steps required or recommended by some pest control folks. In many cases pesticides do need to be reapplied. Did you get a written plan and warranty of some sort that explained that and the associated costs? If not, then you might seek another pest control company in the future. I frequently have stayed in or visited infested dwellings around the world, and I've maintained bed bugs as part of my research, but I've been able to keep clear of an infestation at home. How? I practice what I preach when I travel and when guests visit. See my website for more guidance. Finally, banning DDT likely had nothing to do with the recent resurgence of bed bugs. Many bed bugs are resistant to that insecticide now.

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