Bed bugs and libraries

by nobugsonme on January 12, 2009 · 2 comments

in bed bug epidemic, bed bugs, libraries, spread of bed bugs

A blogger named dawnwing describes an incident at the library she works at:

A lot of the talk yesterday revolved around a bizarre incident from last week – a customer returned several books on tape that were crawling with bed bugs, bed bug skins and bed bug poo. Obviously they all had to be discarded. I didn’t recognize the description of the customers (adult son who lives with his mum, who has a colostomy bag that goes unchanged). I googled bed bugs and discovered a few facts : they were quite prevalent during the 30s and 40s before powerful pesticides like DDT began to be used. Now DDT is not so favored and bed bugs have begun to enjoy a resurgence. I was scratching for most of the day yesterday, am scratching now from writing this.

Bed bugs make great hitchhikers.

I would venture, though, that these folks must live in a seriously infested home to bring in items in such a state.

I hope that they are getting help.

And I am really glad these librarians were able to recognize what the problem was.  They were lucky: if it was a very small problem (for example, one bug hidden in an item), it might not be spotted and the items might simply be reshelved.

These days, with bed bugs spreading so extensively, it makes sense to carefully inspect anything you are bringing home, or anything you’re taking in which was in someone else’s home.

And about the scratching: the power of suggestion (the very idea of bed bugs, as it were) can lead to itching in many cases.  But anyone who has had any contact with bed bugs should definitely be alert to their possible presence at work or home.

They hide well.

Stealth, thy name is bed bug.

1 James Buggles January 17, 2009 at 8:43 pm

“I hope that they are getting help.”

That’s a laugh. Not only are they not getting help but it’s obvious they don’t care. If the librarian noticed the bed bugs right away, I’m sure the irresponsible customer did as well — and didn’t care.

This blog is a national treasure but it has always been too pro-tenant. Except for the homeless, everyone lives somewhere. And we know the world has more than its fair share of bad apples. So this simple syllogism suggests that lots of tenants are to blame for their bed bug problems — and many don’t care or see it as a problem.

Wake up people. Tenants are often as bad as landlords.

2 nobugsonme January 18, 2009 at 2:09 am

Hi James,

I don’t disagree that many tenants need to take responsibility for their bed bug problems.

In this case, the other blogger described the individual in question as possibly needing care of some kind. (If the colostomy bag is unchanged, it’s probably so the bed bugs are untreated also.)

In cases like this, it’s not always a simple case of blame. If someone has issues (social, psychological, physical) — as it sounds like the caregiver does in this scenario — then they need help. And it isn’t always obvious who’s going to step in.

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