23 October 2015

Checking out bedbugs from the library

"...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 [ed: clever name], 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...

To reassure skittish patrons like Mrs. McAdoo, libraries are training circulation staff members to look for carcasses and live insects... Others vacuum the crevices of couches, and some furniture is being reupholstered with vinyl or leatherette to make it less hospitable to insects...
Lots more information at the New York Times source article, published in 2012.


  1. Okay, that's creepy and I'll be scratching myself for the rest of the afternoon.

    What's fascinating is that bedbugs are evolved from batbugs--ectoparasites of bats. Apparently from the days that humans shared caves with bats, a subset became generally human-specific. Even today, distinguishing between bedbugs and batbugs requires a strong loupe or a microscope (in the batbug, the thoracic hairs are longer than the batbug eye is wide).

    Here are just a couple of links (note: I have no business interests in either of these companies):




    1. One further note: Just because batbugs prefer bats doesn't mean they won't take a chomp out of a convenient human, or for that matter another mammal.


  2. Yep. Outgassing, bedbugs, etc.
    Libraries are done for. Scrap the overhead of these overpriced, climate controlled warehouses and distribute e-books to every family in the country instead.


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