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How to prevent bringing bed bugs home in library books?

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  1. nancytd

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Wed Sep 1 2010 16:15:26
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    I check out about 10 books every 3 weeks. This is one of the sources of infestation I have a suspicion about. Also, it's definitely not a clean library at all. I'm going to return my books and never go there again just because it's a grose place. I'm going to commute to a nice one. However, I still don't want to just bring library books home that could have eggs. I want to buy a Packtite when they're in stock again. In the meantime, how can I make sure the books are egg-free before brining them inside? I was thinking of putting them in large ziploc bags (if I can find them) and freezing them. Any other ideas because that's going to be quite a task since our freezer is small? Some of these books can be large. thanks!

  2. nancytd

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Wed Sep 1 2010 19:14:53
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    Edit: I just read a story about bed bugs actually being in the library books when patrons with infested homes return them. There was a library that actually traced it back to a specific patron and wanted to charge him for fumigation. It's probably not fair because who knows who else did the same thing. Usually I would be reading right now (nerd alert) but I no longer feel good about bringing used or shared items inside our house until I can get the pack tite Anyone know when it will be available? It's expensive but much less expensive than buying new books all the time. I was thinking it also makes second hand shopping safe in general as long as the item fits. So it's a money saver in the end.

  3. DeedleBeetle

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Sep 2 2010 11:33:37
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    i got a Nook (e-book reader) and i love it...purged my books and don't imagine ever buying used books on ebay again or going to a real libray that isn't on line.

    If i just have to have a "real" book (like this reaaaaaaaly great used book from a second hand shop my sister just gave me about old time pirates -- not these modern ones who are not very romantic at all-- i mean, Gee whiz.. i would never dream of getting kidnapped and tormented by these new day pirates for crying out loud -- they don't even have cool boats with masts to tie me to and rum and peg legs and eye patches! ) <^.^> then i put it in plastic baggie and then toss it into my next PackTite load.

  4. HuntforBedBugBinLaden

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Sep 2 2010 12:00:56
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    As a librarian I feel that I have to speak up-- please do not freeze or super heat library books. Freezing will definitely damage them-- heating might damage them. Many libraries have collection maintenance divisions with personnel qualified to deal with paper items. If you are suspicious, please send the items back to the library with your concerns. Sorry... but library books are public property.

  5. parakeets

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Sep 2 2010 18:02:41
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    I just wanted to add that freezing won't kill eggs.

    Do you still have bedbugs? I'm not so sure it is good to take books from the library until you are certain you are bedbug free.

  6. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Sep 2 2010 20:17:58
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    Also, it's definitely not a clean library at all. I'm going to return my books and never go there again just because it's a grose place. I'm going to commute to a nice one.

    Bed bugs are not attracted to dirt. Plenty of very clean, upscale places and people have gotten bedbug infestations.

    Bed bugs are a pest of exposure: if you're exposed, you might develop an infestation.

    As with everything bed bug related, there is a chance that library books might introduce bed bugs into the home. But there's also a chance that sitting down on an upholstered chair at a restaurant will.

    If we were talking about a library at ground zero in an area with a lot of infestations, I might be more cautious. However, I check out a lot of library books from many different libraries. (I teach at a university, in a humanities department. We kind of kick the posteriors of most other people when it comes to our book habits. When our library doesn't have a book I need, I order it through interlibrary loan. I probably have books from 5 or 6 different libraries total in my home and office at present.)

    I'm not saying that you cannot possibly get bed bugs from a library book. But it's about risk assessment. Your could pick up bed bugs from your luggage being next to the luggage of someone else with an infestation in the cargo hold of a plane. However, I fly about 25,000 miles every year, and that hasn't happened to me yet.

    I go through a very high volume of books, and I've never seen bed bug evidence in one. So statistically, this may not be the best place to focus your energy as other avenues of infestation are probably more likely.

    Either way--even if you're one of the statistically rare ones--the cleanliness of the library has nothing to do with whether it's more prone to bed bugs or not. If a patron, wealthy and squeaky clean, walks in with a hitch hiker, the poshest library in town could have a problem. Alternatively, a library with a lot of homeless people isn't at any risk at all if none of them have bed bugs.

    Debunking the idea that bed bugs go hand in hand with dirt and slovenly habits is one of the key parts of raising the public's awareness about bed bugs as a threat to all of us.

  7. nancytd

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Sep 6 2010 14:18:58
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    bedbugsocal-My reason for thinking my library likely has bed bugs isn't because it "looks" dirty or messy. It's because there are a lot of infestations in my town. A lot of apartment buildings around here are infested. Also, it's just an extraordinarily unpleasant library. I could explain but it's quite grose. Well, I will say many of the books have food and other things in them. I realize that's unrelated to bed bugs but perhaps the types to leave that in books are more prone to get items from the garbage that may still appear okay for household use, which could easily pickup the bugs. I have no idea how my area got a lot of infestations. Btw-If you read my first post you would see I always had at least 10 books at home. This isn't particularly unusual. Our library like all others offers interlibrary loans spanning a few counties. A lot of people enjoy reading a lot-not just teachers at universities. yawn. *rolls eyes and leaves*

  8. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Sep 6 2010 17:41:51
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    All I have to go by when I respond to a post is what's in the post itself. In your original post here, the one I quoted in my response, you said that the library was definitely "not clean." You also called the library "grose" [sic].

    For most people, calling something not clean and gross is pretty much the same as calling it dirty.

    I think there's a bit of a leap in logic in one of the points you made above when you say:

    I will say many of the books have food and other things in them. I realize that's unrelated to bed bugs but perhaps the types to leave that in books are more prone to get items from the garbage that may still appear okay for household use, which could easily pickup the bugs.

    That sentence basically says that people who are willing to garbage pick and leave food in books are more likely to end up with bed bugs.

    It would be just as logical for me to say that rich people are more likely to get bed bugs because they travel more often and stay in hotels or visit other countries more often.

    What I was trying to stress is that bed bugs are a pest of exposure. If you are exposed, no matter what socio-economic level you come from, how well or neatly you keep house, or what ethnic background you come from, you may end up with an infestation.

    As for mentioning what I do for a day job, I thought that talking about what I did and where I worked might give people a mental image of the sheer volume of books I'm talking about being around every day. I could have gone and counted how many books I currently have stacked on each dresser in the bedroom and how many stacked on the back of the toilet and how many I have on each self and then gone on to catalog how many of those are library books.

    But that seemed like a waste of my time, so I went with shorthand.

    If you're really that deeply concerned that you got bugs from library books, I'm not trying to stop you from worrying about that because nothing I say will change your mind.

    But I see a lot of people here do what I did--which is that once a person becomes aware of bed bugs, that person begins to see bed bug risk everywhere, and then has a hard time evaluating which of those many possibly risky places are actually most likely to be an issue. I know I did. After being exposed to bed bugs I viewed every piece of fabric on every person or piece of furniture as a possible infestation vector. I stopped accepting hard copies of papers and didn't want to bring papers in hard copy into my home for fear of infestations through students. The idea of staying in a hotel seemed like a terrible risk.

    Over time, I grew to evaluate how much of a risk any particular activity had for me.

    It's possible to bring a bed bug home from a library--in any part of town, with crumbs in the book or not.

    But at a certain point, trying to figure out every single possible venue of introduction and eliminate it can result in living a life with no pleasures at all. And I don't want to see people waste a lot of energy on something that isn't very statistically likely.


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