Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Reader questions (do not fit into other categories)

what to do about books?

(17 posts)
  1. bugsandbooks

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Nov 17 2007 10:35:05
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    Hi,
    I think I might have bedbugs, woke up with bites one day and saw a brown creature crawling on my notebook, which I have on the bed, along with some books. I've found one bug on the wall and put it in the freezer to have it identified later, not sure if it's a bedbug and hope against hope it's not. I've been checking the mattress, bedding, etc., and haven't seen any trace of bedbugs. I do continue to have some bites. I'm scheduled to move next week, and am afraid of bringing them with me. I live in a furnished place, and am concerned mostly about my books and other small items. I have stacks of books on the floor next to the bed. How do I make sure I don't bring bedbugs with me? Will freezing them in the freezer section of the refrigerator work? How long can eggs survive? Any other advice? Ironically (or not), I'm moving to a place that had bedbugs that are now supposedly gone. Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. Bites44

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Nov 17 2007 13:10:55
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    Unfortunately, bugs will crawl into books, especially if left near a bed. My niece gave me a book at a time when she didn't yet know she had bugs. I found a lovely adult bug at midnight when I was reading the book. What a shock. That’s how I have come to the situation I am in.

    So I threw out all the pocket books in the bedroom. In the living room I had some very nice art books, stored in a wooden coffee table and they were near the floor. I threw those out also. Several pocket books I have placed into a chest freezer and they have been there for several weeks. Not sure what I will do with those, based on the controversy on how long to freeze and at what temperature. From what I can gather not enough experimentation has been done. Maybe someone here knows of same.

    I have a lot of books in two bookshelves in the LR, and I am not sure how I will deal with those. I suspect that most books will be ok if they were not in the bedroom, or near a sofa that has been infested. Now I have read that one should inspect books, linens etc for nymphs and adults. I believe one could miss the nymphs very easily, and the eggs would be almost impossible to see.

    I even put two pocket books into the oven at 65 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes, but the binding fell apart and the pages became loose.

    That's all the small bit of advice I have--right now freezing seems to be the only thing I can think of.

  3. mrbill0626

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Nov 17 2007 15:20:52
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    bugsandbooks:

    Somebody wrote on here not long ago about getting a dryer rack to put into your clothes dryer (not in a laundramat dryer, but your home dryer, if you have one). This, supposedly keeps the drum from turning or something and you can set stuff (like books) on the rack and run the dryer for a few HOT cycles The rack is supposed to stay level, I guess, as the dryer runs and the heat should kill any bugs or eggs that inhabit your books or whatever you place on the rack. But I couldn't tell you where to buy a dryer rack or how to install it. Maybe an appliance store would have them.

    Another thing you might try is put the books into a plastic bag, like XL ZIPLOC bag(s), then get some Diatomaceous Earth (DE)and sprinkle some of it into the bags, and in or over the books. If there are any bugs or eggs in there and the eggs hatch and nymphs or bugs crawl around in the DE, they'll die in about 10 days, as they'll be killed by the DE. This is kinda "iffy" but it's worth a try. If you want info about DE and how to get some, go to the FAQs on here and there should be somewhere on there a link for Diatomaceous Earth. You can also do a search of this web site for these terms:dryer rack and DE to find more info.

    Hope this helps!

    Mr Bill

  4. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Nov 17 2007 15:57:55
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    mrbill,
    someone recommended the shoe drying rack (on the useful stuff page) for drying shoes. I don't think anyone has recommended it for books or other items and I am not sure this is safe. It's probably best not to recommend methods which neither you nor anyone else has tried and proven safe and effective.

    Freezing is an option, and the controversy centers on temperature and time. So find out how cold your freezer is, and we can advise based on that.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  5. mrbill0626

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Nov 17 2007 17:08:31
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    NoBugs:

    I don't have a freezer.
    What's this I've read on here about cold storage? Is that someplace where I could put items that I suspect of being bed bug-infested? Where could I find such a place in my town(Cincinnati, OH)?

    Thanks

    Mr Bill

  6. kraystone

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Nov 17 2007 17:10:10
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    I have a lot of books on my shelf too... but they are so packed together.

    Wouldn't they be squished if I force another book in? In the past, I did find a squished silverfish in my comics, maybe because I ran out of shelf space and forced another book in. Unknowingly squished it and became a dried specimen.

  7. buggedmama

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Nov 17 2007 18:04:34
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    I just put a tote container full of books outside for the winter. I doubt that they were exposed, in any case (in my LR which so far shows no signs of bugs), but I just don't have time to deal with them right now. I will do something other than just exposing them to cold temperatures before I ever bring them back in the house, but I just don't have time right now. My hopes is that cold + something else will mean 0 bugs.

    eta--if I had the books on my bed, I would be a lot more cautious with those. yuck yuck yuck I hate these bugs.

  8. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Nov 17 2007 18:33:13
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    Mrbill, my comments about freezing were directed to bites44, who mentioned the controversy around freezing. To find a frozen storage, you'd have to phone around.

    We have a FAQ on getting rid of bugs in your stuff, and it pretty much has all the info. I know of.

  9. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Nov 17 2007 18:34:48
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    bugsandbooks,

    I missed this the first time I read your post, but how do you know the new place is bed bug-free? I'd ask a lot of questions about when it was infested, how long it was treated, if it was treated WHILE people lived in it, and how long since they were gone. People who react to bites are more reliable gauges of them being gone than those who don't. I just wanted to sound that warning.

  10. goingaway

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Nov 17 2007 22:23:07
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    Crackpot idea with no testing whatsoever in the form of a question...? Do not try this at home. Unless you have already, in which case, tell me what you learned.

    Has anyone tried baking books? Like, in the oven, as with cookies.

    I imagine you'd need to have a good thermometer in your oven (the sort that chefs use to make sure the internal oven temp is what they want it to be) to make sure to keep it at a low (for ovens) temp... maybe 200F. One would have to watch the oven like a hawk to make sure there was no fire happening, and I would in theory, out of my own crazy brain consider putting them on a glass or ceramic (non-metal) dish to avoid hot spots where the oven racks are...

    Wild speculation. I may try it anyway with some old books I don't love, but if anyone has experience with this, or better ideas, please please tell me! My books are much loved, and I will be sad to part with them. Plus I need some of them for research papers.

  11. itchyincharmcity

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Mon Nov 19 2007 15:20:23
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    Search around, I read a post where somebody baked her books for an hour. It sounds dangerous but I just might try it on the four books that have been sitting on the bedside table forever.

    Another member posted about fanning the books open over the bathtub, then vacuuming. What patience!

    My PCO was noncomittal on the issue of bagging the books vs. leaving thenm out. He said if I think they're clean, go ahead and bag 'em. But if I have reason to believe they aer harboring bugs then I should leave them out during spraying. So that bugs crawlign out will cross the poison. I guess that means I'll have to sleep on the floor next to my bookcase.

    I am leaning toward leaving them out mostly becaseu the prep work is a nightmare and I don't think I have enough time to get to the books.

  12. cosbear

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Mon Nov 19 2007 17:55:04
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    I am not 100% sure this will work but I had a great many books which I wanted to keep. Some are collector items and not super valuable, but valuable, and gaining in value every year. Many are reference books of various kinds. I don't look at them regularly but don't want to give them up. I put them in double zipper freezer ziplocs and then into plastic boxes and stored them in a storage locker. I plan to wait a couple of years and get them out. I think that should be long enough to ensure that any bugs that might have been in there are dead. It wasn't terribly expensive to do, but not cheap. The cost was a tiny percentage of the value of the books overall. Do you folks think that 2 years should be enough? Later... cos

  13. currentinsomniac

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Mon Nov 19 2007 18:04:43
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    Two years should be a good amount of time for any/all bugs to die inside sealed bags. There's controversy on how long they actually can go dormant. Many sites say only 3-12 months, but the general consensus here is 18 months (which I'm more inclined to believe).
    I think you'll be just fine in your plan of 2 years.

  14. stamps

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Mon Nov 19 2007 18:22:18
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    goingaway --

    I believe I read somewhere that the problem with baking (or freezing) books is that the paper is good insulation and the temperatures at the cores of the books won't reach the extremes that the outsides will. Someone suggested inserting foil in the books every few pages to increase the thermal circulation throughout the book but of course that also poses a higher risk of scorching the pages.

    But same deal if you consider freezing, maybe insert some sheets of foil between the pages?

  15. Bites44

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Mon Nov 19 2007 22:45:21
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    Re the baking of books. I was the one that first mentioned this and now I understand that I should not have. Sean at Bugresource talks about putting things in the oven. But of course, you have to watch to see that nothing burns. Could have a disaster.

    I did experiemnt with two books that had fallen to the floor during the night. I watched them very carefully to see they did not burn.

    Both times the glue in the binding "came apart" and my books ended up in pieces. (Even at the lowest setting) I would not recommend this practice. Sorry about that gals and guys!!!!! I should edit my original post but maybe not a good idea.

  16. (deleted)

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Mon Nov 19 2007 23:32:30
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    This thread probably covers this topic best, be sure to read to the bottom to read Crushworth's post: http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/197?replies=28

    In general, you can use tags in your posts and click on those tags to find similar posts. I know the search box is a bit more difficult. But "books" is how some posts here have been tagged in the past and it's a useful way to find previous conversations.

  17. Bites44

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Mon Nov 19 2007 23:36:28
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    Nobugsonme, previously you wrote: "Freezing is an option, and the controversy centers on temperature and time. So find out how cold your freezer is, and we can advise based on that."

    Sorry, I missed that somehow. Just checked my chest freezer again, and it is -10 Celsius (14 degrees F).

    I have read so many different things on freezing my head just spins. My own Government website (Canada) sez to freeze at 0 Celsius for 2 days, can you imagine. I have emailed them to ask where they got this information. Still waiting for an answer.

    Yes, I have read the FAQ's here, and I guess I would have to get my freezer down to -17 celsius or 0 F. And of course that is not going to happen.

    Nobugsonme, I must thank you for all the help you give daily, I read your responses as much as I am able.


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