Everyone’s heard of bookworms — but what about book bugs? The City of Warren in Michigan had to temporarily close the Miller Branch public library after a bedbug infestation was uncovered there.
According to Detroit Free Press, a patron had originally reported that a man sitting next to her in the library had bugs crawling all over his body. A librarian escorted the man out, and asked him not to come back. She reported the incident to Mayor Jim Fouts, explaining that the man had previously been a frequent visitor.
Fouts hired Griffin Pest Control to inspect the branch, and the inspection confirmed that there was a bedbug infestation. Bug-sniffing dogs brought in revealed additional hiding bedbugs located throughout the library. Both chemical and heat treatments have since been scheduled in order to eradicate the pest.
“Libraries are supposed to be clean and safe,” said Fouts about the infestation, adding that librarians are now trained to recognize bedbugs, and they will inspect any items being returned to the library for potential insects. “Everyone has the right to use the library, but no one has the right to infect the library and cause it to be shut down because of personal hygiene or whatever the case may be,” added Fouts in an interview with the Detroit Free Press.
While books are an unlikely vector for the pest, the libraries are most concerned about couch cushions located in area libraries where patrons are likely to sit for long periods of time. Bed bugs are a parasitic insect that feed on blood. While they are not dangerous, they can cause skin rashes, allergic symptoms, and welts to form. They can survive up to 300 days without eating. The library was smart to take care of eradication right away, because bed bugs can multiple quickly — within a short lifetime, each female can lay up to 500 eggs.