Bed Bugs are the New Bookworms at the Library - What’s a Librarian to do? USBedBugs can Help

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As the Bed Bug Invasion Hits Libraries across the Country, Offers Tips to Library Personnel on Protecting and Preventing Bed Bug Infestations

PackTite Closet Portable Heater for Bed Bugs

“It is really not surprising that bed bugs have been found in libraries,” says Adam Greenberg of “Many people love to curl up in bed with a good book. If the bedroom is infested with bed bugs, the book can provide the perfect place for them

There’s something new on library shelves—bed bugs. Libraries love bookworms, but they are not so sure about book bugs. Just like hotels, airplanes, movie theaters, hospitals, office buildings, retail stores, and homes where bed bugs lurk, now the tiny creatures are showing up at the library. The revelation that libraries are grappling with bed bugs comes as dozens of libraries across the country are reporting bed bug encounters. Bed bugs have been spotted in book drops, library chairs, shelves and, of course, books. In 2009 The Denver Public library had one particularly notorious example of a patron returning a number of infested antique books which caused the books to be destroyed to prevent further spread of the insects.

The common bed bug (cimex lectularius) has been known since ancient times and was mentioned in the writings of both Aristotle and Pliny. Though largely eradicated in the United States in the mid-20th century, they have made a comeback in recent years, possibly due to the rise of international travel as well as the banning of the insecticide DDT in the 1970s. According to the 2011 Bugs without Borders Survey conducted by the NPMA, the blood-sucking pests have been found by 99% of all pest management professionals over the past twelve months—up 4% from 2010. Bed bugs are invading everywhere people live and gather—from homes to laundry facilities according to the survey.

“It is really not surprising that bed bugs have been found in libraries,” says Adam Greenberg of “Many people love to curl up in bed with a good book. If the bedroom is infested with bed bugs, the book can provide the perfect place for them to harbor and lay eggs. When the book gets returned to the library, the bed bugs get checked in. Libraries need to take a proactive approach in the battle against bed bugs.”

Libraries with a mission to lend books to the public must be extremely vigilant and develop procedures to keep the bookworms of the insect kind out. Here are some tips to help minimize the risk of libraries becoming infested with bed bugs.

1. Train library staff to recognize bed bugs. Libraries need to take a more proactive approach to deal with the epidemic. Bed bugs by nature are reclusive, but they do have tell-tale signs that can be easily identified by a well-trained staff. When inspecting books, library staff should look for live bugs and dark brownish to black spots (fecal stains).
2. Routinely Check all Returned Books and quarantine contaminated books that are suspected of having bed bugs. Seal the book in a plastic bag and isolate until it is deemed safe. Remember an adult bed bug can live over a year without feeding, so be sure all bugs are dead before placing the book back in circulation.
3. Make a Plan once bed bugs are found. Industry experts recommend that bed bug eradication treatments in public establishments should be performed by a pest management professional. The library should be checked periodically for bed bugs and their tell-tale signs by the custodial staff. They also should consider canine inspections which have shown to be up to 97% accurate in detecting bed bugs.
4. Check Upholstered Furniture Regularly and when feasible replace with non-fabric furniture. Bed Bugs have recently been found nesting in upholstered chairs in libraries in Colorado and Arizona.
5. Heating Contaminated Items to a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit for at least an hour is an effective method of killing bed bugs, their larva and eggs. Portable heaters manufactured by PackTite are designed specifically for this purpose and are an effective way to quarantine and gently heat books, magazines, clothing and any suspected object. Additionally, a pest control professional can advise on larger heat systems for libraries.
6. Monitor Book Return Areas with active monitor that use heat and/or CO2. Monitors are inexpensive and will detect bed bugs within days of their arrival, before they multiply and spread.

Every librarian should be aware that at some point bed bugs may rear their ugly heads. Once bed bugs are found, library personnel need to follow necessary steps to ensure that the source of infestation is eliminated. offers an assortment of pesticide-free products to detect and treat bed bug infestations in their home or business.

At, our mission is to improve the quality of life for those dealing with bed bugs and to prevent further spread of bed bugs throughout the United States while minimizing use of harmful pesticides.

Founded in 2006, is a division of NorthShore Care Supply, an online medical supply retailer. Beginning with selling mattress encasements, the company received numerous inquiries from people desperately looking for additional products to detect and prevent bed bugs. As the bed bug infestation in the U.S. has grown rapidly, the company has become the leader in products for dealing with bed bugs in homes, hotels, apartment buildings, colleges and any facility where people sleep. The website is now a fast growing marketplace featuring a wide selection of pesticide-free bed bug prevention and protection products. For more information, visit

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Kristin Pugliese
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