blacklight for book & paper inspection(13 posts)
I think this is a good method and would like to add it to the FAQs but I wanted to give some time for people to opine on it in case I'm missing something.
Before trying the blacklight process, I tried putting my books in the oven, but it just melted the binding and now the books are a mess. Freezing is not likely viable either.
So I decided painstaking inspection was the only way. We know bb eggs flouresce, and many PCOs use blacklights. My PCO tipped me off that not all blacklights work for bb detection, so one shouldn't just go out and buy any old blacklight.
I bought a blacklight from Urineoff--it's supposed to illuminate any urine chrystals you might have missed with the mop so you can clean more thoroughly where needed. This was 10 bucks. I showed it to my PCO and he agreed it was a good tool.
The instructions from urineoff recommended some UV goggles. So I dropped another 10 bucks at my hardware store.
I took some of my books I use for my job. I went in the bathroom where there is no window, with a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol, my blacklight, a magnifying glass, and my goggles. I turned off the light and ran the blacklight over the book, page-by-page, scanning closely. I looked especially closely in the cracks where pages meet at the spine.
This thing is amazing because it illuminates everything more clearly than normal light. With the black light, I could see tiny wood grains in the paper that I couldn't see or feel with my normal senses. This made me confident that if a nymph or egg were on the book, I would have seen it. If not a floresce, I would have seen any sort of tiny bump that might be an egg or nymph. I also used this for some stacks of computer paper, and some other notebook paper.
I know it is a long process, but I have some expensive books that I don't want to live without for 18 months. So it was worth it.
After inspecting my books and papers so far, I put them in 2-gallon ziplocks and labeled them "certified inspected." My concept is to store any books I don't see myself needing and to inspect the others as needed.
Important note: I tried the blacklight on clothes and it does NOT work. Lots of tiny threads and chrystals of leftover laundry detergent floresce. So finding an egg in the middle of that thousand points of light was like the proverbial needle in a haystack.
This seems really useful, Mangy! But did you actually find any eggs or other signs?
(I mean, I really hope you are NOT finding any now, and I don't doubt it works, but I would be interested in hearing experiences of those who've used this method to hit on something.)
I had a similar experience to you with my black light, except mine wasn't very strong (despite taking 8x AA batteries). I suspect it would be a whole lot easier if we had bought some proper expensive UV lights for a hundred bucks or so (ie: the kind they use in automobile workshops, and/or discos) so you didn't have to hold them an inch from the page.
In the end it was easier to look at the books under VERY strong sunlight.
I didn't think it was necessary to go page by page though, just the edges and spines, and a quick flick through, and inspection of pages where I had bookmarks and they could have crawled between.
it's my understanding they can crawl between any pages, not just bookmarked ones. am I wrong?
They are probably more likely to live in pages with bigger gaps, or in the spine or end pages.
you had asked if I had found anything. The answer is no, but the blacklight illuminated everything so extremely well, I am convinced that if there HAD been anything on those books, I sure as hell would have seen it.
I also haven't done all of my books yet, just a few. So I will definitely post if I see anything.
Do you worry at all about bugs and eggs in the bindings where you can't look? I brought all my favorite books to what has turned out to be an infested apartment and I am trying to decide what to do. So. Paranoid. Can't. Decide.
I looked at the creases between pages with the blacklight and felt like if there were something there, I would have seen it. I'm not sure what you mean about "in the binding". Seems to me if you inspect ever page with the black light, and look in the creases where the pages meet the spine, you should see anything. Also, it's not likely to find just one egg in isolation. Most likely there will be fecal specs as well. I'm speculating on this point, though, so if others disagree, please weigh in.
Mangycur I think you are right about the droppings. I was worrying along the lines of what if they were crammed in really really deep into the creases, but that was paranoia. I went to Urineoff and didn't see a blacklight I could buy separately there, but I believe I saw something of theirs at a big pet store where I live.
Can you share the wattage of your black light that does such a brilliant job? I know fluorescent lights have different watts than incandescent, but I was a little surprised to find the pet store one was like 6 watts.
i got my Urinoff blacklight off Amazon--they sold me just the light. It does take a lot of AA batteries. Don't forget you'll also need some basic UV goggles, and maybe a magnifying glass. I found I didn't really need the magnifying glass but I'm glad I have one in case I do find something questionable.
It's important to remember that in many cases, bed bugs won't be in books. Lots of people DON'T have this problem.
If you DO, I'd guess that there would be traces of bed bugs or cast skins somewhere in at least some of the books. So yes, I suppose they can hide in bindings, but I'd be more worried if I were finding signs of bed bugs elsewhere in the books. If none, I'd assume the books were ok.
I'd be most cautious about books kept on, near, or under (!) the bed.
Thanks for the reassurance! Unfortunately, I had my laptop in the kitchen and later found a very young, nearly invisible, clear-with-slight-spots nymph crawling down the cord of my (bagged) white power adaptor. I immediately bagged it a second time and stowed it, since I have no idea how to clean that thing down to the cracks without ruining it. I kept all my favorite cookbooks right by my laptop, and they're all still there in the sublet. So I am worried about those books. My other books in the living room are probably less likely to be infested but I still want to scrutinize them closely before removing them from the sublet.
I know, rationally, that my paranoia-verging-on-OCD is spiking way out of proportion to the likely risk, but I am just going to keep running with it for a while because hearty inspections are the only thing that calms me down and keeps me from impetuously incinerating all the stuff that I took with me to that sublet.
I want to make sure I"m understanding your last post correctly. Lots of people don't have bugs in their books. But shouldn't we inspect them all, even the ones that weren't near the bed, before taking them somewhere else?
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