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1. Types of rodents, characteristics, and how to
protect your library from these types of
2. What to do if you are invaded
3. Providing correct information as librarians
4. Policy matters in your library
5. Resources for help
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6. WHATTO LOOK FOR:
• Rodent droppings around food packages, in drawers
or cupboards and under the sink
• Nesting material such as shredded paper, fabric, or
dried plant matter
• Signs of chewing on food packaging
• Holes chewed through walls and floors that create
entry points into the building
• Stale smells coming from hidden areas
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13. WHATTO LOOK FOR:
• The four types associated with damage to library
materials: the American cockroach, the Australian
cockroach, the Oriental cockroach, and the German
• All four species have large mouth parts and a
fondness for starch, thus book cloth and paper are
• Cockroach damage can be recognized by multiple
light patches on book cloth surfaces—sometimes
down to the thread—and ragged edges on paper
• Cockroach droppings can also be detected in the
feeding area in the form of pellets
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23. WHATTO LOOK FOR:
• There are more than a quarter million species of
• The dermestidae family of beetles (commonly
referred to as skin beetles) has been known to
damage leather bindings
• These beetles are also called larder beetle, hide or
leather, carpet beetle and khapra
• Some damage books directly by eating paper and
binding materials, but it is their larvae that cause the
30. WHATTO LOOK FOR:
• Termites play a vital role in nature.They break down
dead wood and other cellulose materials.This is
helpful in the ecosystem and the balance of nature .
When they attack buildings - they are a pest and
cause over $5 billion in damages in the U.S. each year!
• Termites are usually cryptic & don’t come out into the
open - makes them difficult to detect
• Termites are mistaken for flying ants
• Termites build protective tunnels (of their saliva &
fecal matter) – found near foundations of infested
• Dry wood termites enter buildings by swarming in
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38. WHATTO LOOK FOR:
• Silverfish are wingless insects that are silver in color.
Growing no more than 3/4" long as adults, their
bodies are thicker in the front, then taper off toward
the back like a teardrop
• Although they cannot fly, silverfish run quickly if
disturbed. Silverfish live up to eight years of age,
according toTexas A&M.These critters are nocturnal
creatures that reproduce quickly
• Infestation - irregular or notched damage to paper or
• Fecal pellets (small, dark & loose)
• Yellow stains on paper or fabric
• Small irregular scrapings on book
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43. WHATTO LOOK FOR:
• Presence of live and dead bed bugs
• Shed exoskeletons
• Bed bug frass (feces, eggs, crushed
• Staining (blood) from crushed bed
bugs (blood-filled fecal matter)
• Sweet musty odor
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48. Bug photo by Allison Taisey-Cornell/Cornell University; dog photo by Theresa Madonia/Islip PL; Green Book photo
by Kathryn Leonard/University of Washington; Lamson photo by University of Washington; inspection photo by
Farrell Howe/Kalamazoo PL
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Accessed October 15, 2014.
/management/pestcontrol.html. Accessed June 30, 2014.
Source: Murvosh, Marta. “Don’t Let the Book Bugs Bite.” Library
Journal. July 24, 2013. Accessed June 24, 2014 at
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Indiana State Library
Librarians will be able to identify 6 different pests that can potentially invade their library as well as methods for controlling, treatment, and eradication of the pests.
You may never see a rat or mouse unless the infestation is severe.
Did you know that Rats are capable of gnawing through cinder block, lead and aluminum sheeting, wood, plastic, and sheetrock!
These pests can affect your library however. Look for the following signs of an infestation:
Handy comparison of droppings
Rodents' fecal matter and urine are especially damaging.
Both rats and mice use paper to make their nests and many fine books have lost chunks of text through their jagged gnawing.
It is generally better to trap rodents than to use a poison that will allow them to crawl into building crevices and die, for rodent carcasses are breeding grounds for insects that also damage library and archival materials.
Insects pose a serious threat to collections of all types.
The environment that is the most damaging to collections—high humidity, poor air circulation, poor housekeeping—is the most beneficial to insects.
Libraries and archives can provide insects with food, water, and shelter if the building is accessible and conditions welcoming. If insect damage is evident in a library collection, a careful survey should be conducted using sticky traps to see what types of insects are causing the problem
These insects seem to be found in every part of the world, and they are tenacious. There are 3,500 types of cockroaches, and they can be divided roughly into urban types, that live exclusively indoors, and outdoor types, that breed and survive outdoors in tropical regions, but which often move indoors when conditions are favorable.
Substantial damage to library materials can be attributed to various large species of cockroaches. Fecal material, streaking, and chewing damage can happen "overnight."
In addition to the direct damage to library and archival materials, one must be concerned with the suspicion of cockroaches as disease carriers. Many references can be found in the literature documenting a variety of disease organisms in and on cockroaches and their fecal material. In more recent years several studies have shown that people are allergic to cockroaches, particularly to the German and American species.
Cockroaches exhibit a gradual metamorphosis. Eggs are formed in a double row encased in an egg capsule projecting from the rear of the abdomen of the female. The egg capsule is dropped and may hatch within a day or up to 2 months later depending on the species. Nymphal cockroaches emerging from an egg capsule have no wings and crawl about seeking a food source. After developing through a series of stages (instars) the cockroach will emerge as an adult capable of reproduction.
Mouse verses cockroach – mouse pointed & cockroach have ridges
Cockroaches leave feces or droppings that are easily identifiable. The feces of small cockroaches are black and resemble ground coffee or black pepper. Larger cockroaches leave black or brown droppings which are cylindrical in shape and have ridges down the side.
German, American and Oriental cockroaches’ feces and saliva contain problematic proteins and allergens, which may trigger asthma attacks.
Stained with poo
The American cockroach (Periplaneta Americana) hides in dark areas during the day and emerges at night. This species regurgitates a sexual attractant in the form of a brown liquid (atar), often seen on library materials. Approximately 40 millimeters in length, it is reddish brown. It is largely an indoor insect, preferring moist, warm areas
The Australian cockroach (Periplaneta Australsiae), smaller than the American, has light or yellow markings on its thorax and wingtips. Commonly found in moist tropical areas, this insect can live inside.
The Oriental cockroach (Blata Orientalis), also known as the water bug, is large and dark brown or black. It prefers cooler moist areas such as drains and inhabits the lower floors of buildings
Although capable of living outdoors in tropical environments, German cockroaches are most commonly found indoors, with a preference for the warmer and more humid areas of a structure. In homes, these insects will typically be found in kitchens and bathrooms, but can move to other areas of a home if food and moisture are available.
In most cases, German cockroaches are introduced into a structure or residence when bags, boxes or cardboard containers are brought into the building. They may even be brought in with used appliances. In multiunit apartment buildings, German cockroaches can easily move between units, using the shared plumbing and pipes as a highway.
German cockroaches are scavengers, capable of feeding on most any food source available, including toothpaste, soap and the bindings of books. These pests are known for their ability to capitalize on the availability of even the smallest amounts of food by feeding on crumbs missed during cleaning or feeding on the dirty dishes left in the sink overnight
German cockroaches are known for their ability to reproduce quickly. Female German cockroaches only need to mate once for the production of young. After mating, and under normal conditions, they will produce, on average, 4 to 6 egg cases during the course of their lives, with each egg case, or ootheca, containing approximately 30 to 40 eggs. This egg case is then carried by the female until 1 to 2 days before hatching. Depending upon the conditions, the average time for development, from egg to adult can range from 54 to 215 days, with an average of approximately 100 days. As adults, German cockroaches can survive anywhere from 100 to 200 days.
Once cockroaches make themselves at home in a building, it can be very difficult to kick them out.
They can snack on your food, damage wallpaper, books, and electronics, and some species of cockroach also spread germs to humans.
Serve these pests an eviction notice and keep them from coming back by choosing a bait, insecticide, trap or barrier approach that works best for you.
The bacon or larder beetle (Dermestes lardarius) is roughly 7 to 9 millimeters in length. The rear of the body is pale with black spots, while the rest of the body dark brown. The larvae feed on leather bindings and, when fully fed, bore into the text blocks of books to construct a pupation chamber (to change into a beetle).
The cigarette beetle (Lasioderma serricorne)is a small, light-brown flying beetle that commonly infests books. The beetle's larvae are one of the types popularly known as bookworms, with eggs laid on the spine of a book and along the edges. Immediately upon hatching, the larvae tunnel under the binding cover, especially down the spine area. The insect then proceeds to tunnel up to 10 centimeters into the paper text, where it pupates into an adult beetle. The adult leaves a round exit hole, as well as powdered paper on the shelf. One of this beetle's favorite foods is dried flowers and spices; these should not be brought into the library.
The bread or biscuit beetle (Stegobium paniceum) is a small (2 millimeters) reddish brown insect with very small larvae. The larvae feed on starch materials, especially the rice or flour paste used on endsheets and bookspines. A borehole of approximately 1 to 2 millimeters runs parallel to the height and width of the book.
The larvae of the drugstore beetle (Stegobium paniceum) are also often referred to as bookworms. This beetle is found in moist storage areas, and the larvae can actually tunnel all the way through books, from one cover to the other. As with the cigarette beetle, piles of paper powder signal that this insect is active.
The best way to avoid insect infestation is to keep storage and display areas clean. Dust and debris provide food and shelter for insects. In addition, food should never be eaten near the collection since the smallest crumb can become an attractant.
Bookworms aren’t really worms they’re actually the larvae of several species of beetles. While these insects don’t generally attack modern books, they pose a significant threat to antiquarian books. The critters seem particularly fond of the glues used on the backs of older books, particularly those of Italian provenance. From the backs of the books, the insects often move on to the block, munching right through the pages.
In any case, a visual inspection of your collection is the first and best way to prevent insect damage, and regularly scheduled inspections should take place routinely. Look at, under, and around each piece in your collection using a bright light. Check storage boxes, envelopes, and display cases thoroughly. Framed items should also be inspected regularly. The adhesives used in framing may be an additional draw to insects, which can do all their damage within before any signs of them occur outside the frame package.
By far the most damaging of all insects are termites, abundant in tropical regions. The damage to all paper-based materials can be catastrophic, in that entire collections can be rendered useless by the severe nature of the attack, often before an infestation problem has been recognized. There are three main types of termites: drywood, dampwood, and subterranean.
However, while ants have a distinct pinched waist, the termite is tube shaped. Termites also have four wings of equal size, while the flying ant’s four wings are two distinct sizes. Lastly, ants’ antennae have an elbow or bend, whereas termite antennae are straight.
Subterranean - live in almost every state (except for Alaska) – commonly found in Indiana
Dampwood – lives in dense forests
Drywood – warmer climates
Termites are social insects in that they have an organized structure in a colony with a king, queen and various castes, each of which have a specialized function. Each caste has its own characteristics.
Termites eat all cellulose materials, including wood, paper, binding cloth, and binding board. Some protection from termites can be given by the building design (use of metal shielding over wooden foundations, painting any exposed wood), but the best remedy is cleanliness, prevention of moisture, and constant vigilance. Termite infestations can usually only be dealt with through the use of pesticides applied by a qualified operator. There has been some success with buried traps that attract subterranean termites.
This prefers dark, moist, and moderate to warm conditions. Silverfish tend to graze on the surface of paper and seem to prefer coated paper. Paper that is slightly ragged and thinning at the edges is usually the work of silverfish. Silverfish are ubiquitous, and their small flat shape makes it easy for them to be concealed in cardboard boxes and other items brought into a library.
Consume and damage glue in book bindings, book covers & paper materials.
Damage wallpaper & wallpaper glue
Damage to tapestries & other fabrics
Silverfish are medically harmless and are noted simply to damage goods and contaminate food in your home. Infestations of silverfish can easily go unnoticed, since these insects travel and reproduce quickly, and are active at night. Since juvenile silverfish grow faster in humidity, the best way to prevent them is to control your home's humidity levels with a dehumidifier. Although do-it-yourself treatments work to kill the occasional silverfish, it is best to hire a pest control professional for infestations.
The two main ways bed bugs will enter your library are through returned/donated library materials and on the clothing or belongings of anyone entering the building. They can be found in carpets or upholstered furniture, but will also hide in non-upholstered areas they are less likely to be disturbed.
The best way to prevent a large collection-wide infestation is to train staff to spot evidence of bed bugs on incoming books (donated AND returned) and ILL bags, as well as around the library itself.
Top 10 spots to pick up bed bugs
Public Libraries (check pages & spines)
Movie threatres (cushy upholstered seats)
Planes, trains and buses (closely inspect belongings)
Daycares, schools & colleges (stuffed animals & cubbies)
Places of worship
Business offices (carpet or furniture)
Laundry facilities (bb victims are often instructed to wash & dry infected clothing using extremely high heat)
Hospitals and nursing homes
Consignment, thrift shops and yard sales (stay away from used mattresses, couches)
Bed bugs are a growing problem in public buildings around the United States in part because of an increase in international travel from countries where the insects thrive. Additionally, bed bugs developed resistance to certain pesticides and that contributed to the resurgence of the common bed bug in the United States
Libraries are not ideal environments for the tiny oval-shaped Cimex lectularius, which prefer to be near sleeping people. However, a number of public and academic libraries from California to New York have been challenged in recent years by bed bugs, having to close several buildings while a pest control company treated furnishings and books. That’s because bed bugs can stow away on books, clothing, and belongings such as backpacks, then be transported to other locations, including libraries. “There is no cut-and-dried way to solve this problem,” says Farrell Howe, marketing and communications director for the Kalamazoo Public Library (KPL), MI. “You have to have a plan in place.” KPL temporarily closed two of its five branches in February to treat for bed bugs.
Although libraries are at lower risk of bed bug infestation compared with hotels, hospitals, and other public buildings where people sleep, Gangloff-Kaufmann says that if bed bugs get established, they can be difficult to eradicate.
Presence of live and dead bed bugs
Bed bug frass (feces, eggs, crushed bodies)
Staining (blood) from crushed bed bugs (blood-filled fecal matter)
Sweet musty odor
See the above linked fact sheet for help in identifying these
Adult bed bugs, in general, are:
about the size of an apple seed (5-7 mm or 3/16 - 1/4 inch long);
long and brown, with a flat, oval-shaped body (if not fed recently);
balloon-like, reddish-brown, and more elongated (if fed recently);
a “true bug” (characteristics of true bugs include a beak with three segments; antenna that have four parts; wings that are not used for flying; and short, golden-colored hairs); and
smelly, with a “musty-sweetish” odor produced through glands on the lower side of the body.
Young bed bugs (also called nymphs), in general, are:
smaller, translucent or whitish-yellow in color; and
if not recently fed, can be nearly invisible to the naked eye because of coloring and size.
Bed bug eggs, in general, are:
tiny, the size of a pinhead;
pearl-white in color; and
marked by an eye spot if more than five days old.
5 mm is about ¼ inch
Bed bug eggs in creases of leather chair
If evidence of bed bugs is discovered:
Immediately quarantine the book by placing it in a zip-lock style bag
Use clear packing-style tape over the seal to ensure the bag does not come open
Place sealed book into a large plastic storage bin (clear is best so that you see what is inside)
At this point, you will have two options:
Discard and replace the book(s) – For a small number of affected books
Treat the book(s) – For a large quantity of books
Treatment options - heat (bed bug ovens), freezing (time consuming & $$$), Low oxygen treatments – expensive & requires professional assistance
All books will need to be cleaned with a dust brush after treatment to remove the residual evidence (bodies, frass) before returning them to circulation.
Nitrile gloves - These are useful for situations involving mold, excessive dust, animal damage, as well as pest situations, and do not contain latex.
Zip-lock-style bags in a few different sizes for containing suspicious books
Clear packing tape for sealing the books in the bags
A large, clear home-style storage bin to further contain any quarantined books while considering options.
Inexpensive pest traps – These can be placed around your library in inconspicuous areas as well as in your book drop to monitor for pest activity.
Steps You Can Take
1. Reduce clutter. Clutter serves as an ideal habitat for bed bugs whether at home, school or office. By reducing clutter in your workplace or school, you provide fewer places for the bed bugs to hide and fewer opportunities for them to hitchhike to your home.
2. Keep your belongings stowed separately from those of other people. If there is a known problem with bed bugs in the office or school, consider storing your belongings in a plastic bin.
3. Be vigilant in areas where bed bugs are most likely to be found, which include break rooms, storage areas (coat closets or cubbies), offices or lounges with upholstered furniture, or areas where people may rest.
4. Establish a monitoring program so that if a bed bug is found in an area the status of that area will be formally tracked.
Multiple sightings in the same area could indicate an infestation or multiple reintroductions from someone’s home.
5. Educate the staff so that they know what to do if a bug is found that appears to be a bed bug.
6. Discourage panic and the stigma associated with bed bugs. These are counterproductive and can make treatment more difficult.
Vacuum daily to pick up any stray bugs before they settle in.
http://www2.epa.gov/bedbugs/protecting-yourself-bed-bugs-public-places. Accessed July 21, 2014.
WHAT DETECTION & PREVENTION LOOK LIKE (Top row, l.-r.): Telltale signs of bed bugs are the appearance of dark spots on book pages; Polly and her handler Phillip Sitzman do the sniff test for bugs at Islip PL; one solution used by Kalamazoo PL is the PackTite, which kills bugs on items through the application of heat (inset); (bottom row, l.-r.) manual inspection of materials can also uncover the tiny culprits; at the opposite end of the temperature spectrum, freezing can also do the trick, as endorsed by Stephanie Lamson, head of preservation services, University of Washington.
To make sure you know what you are dealing with
Put it in a bag to prevent further infestation & tag it (date, if you know patron name, suspected insect)
For the occasional item with a bed bug that a patron returns, Gangloff-Kaufmann recommends placing it in a Ziploc bag and putting it aside for about two weeks in a warm, sunny area. This gives any eggs time to hatch, and any bed bugs should die of dehydration. However, waiting for bed bugs to die of thirst may not be practical for libraries dealing with large volumes of materials, or located in communities where the pests are a problem.
To prevent pest infestations that we have discussed earlier, you will need to thoroughly inspect your buildings inside and out for each type of pest.
Discourage rats and mice from taking up residence on your property by removing food and water sources, and items that can provide them shelter:
Seal holes inside and outside the home to keep rodents out. This may be as simple as plugging small holes with steel wool, or patching holes in inside or outside walls.
Remove potential rodent nesting sites from your property, including leaf piles and deep mulch.
Clean up food and water sources in and near your house.
Keep kitchen garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids.
Turn compost piles to cover newly added food scraps.
Stop feeding outdoor birds while you are controlling an infestation or feed only huskless items that leave less residue that can be food for rodents.
If insects have secured a foothold within the building, you can impede their mobility by securing inside doors, especially those leading to areas such as a kitchen or restroom. Consideration might be given to fitting these doors with a weather seal. Other steps to take: • Cracks in inner walls or the floor should be filled to prevent insects from entering and infesting cavity areas.• Exhibit cases and special storage cases should be fitted with gaskets to ensure tight-fitting seals.• Fittings, cases, and room corners should be regularly vacuumed and the vacuum bags checked for insects. Filled vacuum bags should be disposed of outside the building immediately after removal.
One of the things that many libraries do not consider is the fact that they invite pests into their building sometimes by creating a hospitable environment OUTSIDE of the building.
Cornell University advises that libraries consider the following steps outside their buildings to discourage pests from coming into their workplaces in the first place:
Do not plant shrubs or trees close to a building, and avoid flowering species.
Remove vines, ivy, and other climbing plants from the walls or roof.
Use a wide gravel or paving surround to the building, ensuring that there are adequate and effective drains to prevent water from entering the structure.
Do not attach lights to buildings, as they will attract flying insects. Insects tend to be attracted by ultraviolet, so lights close to a building should have low ultraviolet output. Lights mounted away from the building should be the mercury-vapor type with a high ultraviolet output.
All garbage and rubbish, including garden and library waste, should be kept in a vermin-proof container away from the building.
Ensure that all roof drains and downspouts are kept clear of debris and in good condition.
Bird and other animal nests should be removed from the building.
Seal all unnecessary holes in the building, and seal and caulk around holes for electrical cables, water pipes, telephone connections, and waste pipes.
Doors and windows should be tight fitting and kept closed at all times, and insect screening of an appropriate small mesh size should cover every opening.
When designing a new building, consider the installation of a revolving door.
Source: https://www.library.cornell.edu/preservation/librarypreservation/mee/management/pestcontrol.html. Accessed June 30, 2014.
Making the building inhospitable from the inside
You can also deter the entrance of insects by using solid, impermeable construction materials such as brick, stone, concrete, and steel. If possible, observe these additional steps:
HVAC systems create wet and moist areas, and central systems have condensate drains. HVAC should be located in a basement area rather than on the roof, and steps should be taken to ensure that there is no standing water and that condensate drains are always clear. This may not be possible in all libraries, so be aware that you need to check these areas more often for possible infestations.
2. Keep your collections separate from restrooms, janitors areas, and workspaces.
Condensation on cold water pipes can be avoided by wrapping them with an insulation material.
A quarantine room (or space) for the inspection of newly acquired material should be established as close to the goods entrance/loading dock as possible. If incoming materials appear to have some form of insect damage, they should be covered tightly with plastic sheeting and insect sticky traps should be placed under the plastic to check for possible infestation.
Keep the interior of your building clean. This means dust and remove dirt that insects feed upon regularly. Water spills should be immediately mopped up, and care must be taken when washing windows and floors that excess water does not permeate the structure through cracks in the walls or floor.
Keep food consumption and preparation areas away from collection areas—ideally in a separate building. It is preferable that food and drink not be consumed in reader and staff areas, although this is often difficult to control. Spills and food debris should be carefully removed and waste receptacles emptied regularly. Receptions and events involving food and drink should not be held in a reading room or adjacent to a collection area.
Refrigerators and appliances that combine heat and moisture are popular habitats for insects. Areas under and around appliances should be regularly cleaned, and sticky traps placed if necessary.
Source: https://www.library.cornell.edu/preservation/librarypreservation/mee/management/pestcontrol.html. Accessed June 30, 2014.
Bedbugs like to hide in small narrow crevices and openings. To me, the smoother and harder the furniture, the less likely that a bedbug would find a place to hide.- Ease of decontamination. Is it something you can scrub? Does it have thin cushions that could be put through the dryer? Would the finish stand up to steaming?
With cushy, upholstered seats and plenty of human hosts, the movie theater is prime real estate for bedbugs looking for a meal.
Plastic furniture - Mario Bellini furniture designer since the 1960’s (urban planning & furniture)
During furniture upgrades or remodels, consider replacing woven fabric with bed bug–resistant materials in vinyl and faux leather,
Bed bugs fall into the cup and can’t escape; staff members check the cups
A bed bug–detecting canine visits IPL quarterly as a precautionary measure. Many libraries where bed bugs have been a problem pay for monthly or bimonthly visits from a dog, which can cost up to $500 a visit. At IPL, Polly, a rat terrier from Arrow Exterminating Company, usually leaves just as patrons arrive, and the patrons asking about the canine appear to be reassured, Schubart says. “[Polly] is pretty adorable. The patrons actually enjoy seeing the dog,” she says.
Library Journal, July 24, 2013
A freezer set at or below -20° C (-3° F) can be used to kill insects, which should be exposed for three to four days. Books should be placed in plastic bags and, on removal from the freezer, conditioned under a constant air current from a fan. Freezing is best for occasional infestations, not for routine treatment. A simple chest freezer can be used.
Heat can also be used to kill insects in infested materials. Temperatures of 50°C (120°F) will dry out insect bodies. In tropical areas, infested books can be placed in a metal container wrapped in black plastic and left in direct sunlight for a few hours.
Because of the possible health risks, insecticides should be used with great care and with full knowledge of the effects on humans and library materials.
Research is being conducted on safe and natural insect repellents, such as compounds made from Neem, which will help to render collections safe. Combined with freezing and heat treatment for small infestations, natural repellents can help to control insects while maintaining an environment safe for humans
Cold is best for rare or delicate books, UW’s Lamson says. She recommends freezing at minus 20° Celsius for a week, followed by thawing and then refreezing to kill any newly hatched bed bugs. Ask a regional conservation or preservation expert to recommend a disaster recovery firm with a freezer,(Library Journal, July 24, 2013)
Listserv community – post questions to see how others are dealing with this situation
Local schools and government – check to see if there are any outbreaks in the community
Indiana State Library – for help or suggestions
Dispel information that bed bugs are NOT only found in dirty homes. Anyone can have bed bugs ANYWHERE, regardless of your social class, income, or other factors.
Libraries need to provide information in three areas of pest control:
How to treat bedbugs
Source: Murvosh, Marta. “Don’t Let the Book Bugs Bite.” Library Journal. July 24, 2013. Accessed June 24, 2014 at http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2013/07/lj-in-print/dont-let-the-book-bugs-bite/#_
Kalamazoo Public Library in Kalamazoo Michigan has a dedicated webpage on their library site highlighting information about this topic. http://www.kpl.gov/guides/bed-bugs/ (SHOW PAGE). Their library has spent several thousand dollars treating 2 branches for bed bug infestations.
Most of the librarians LJ spoke to try to be understanding of patrons who are battling bed bug problems at their homes. Generally, DPL doesn’t contact patrons to inform them of pests in a book. “If the person is at the desk, we try discreetly to let the customer know,” Plunkett says. “We want to make sure we’re respecting privacy.”
When a patron intentionally contaminates materials with pests or damages an item in a misguided attempt to destroy bed bugs, library administrators say they will block library cards and consider holding the customer financially responsible. KPL will charge patrons for damages if they try to treat a book themselves, Howe says. In an extremely unusual and highly publicized case, a DPL patron in 2009 repeatedly brought back infested materials, including interlibrary loan items. Ultimately, the patron was banned from the library and ordered by the Denver County Court to reimburse $2,800 of the $4,550 cost for material replacement and treating the bed bugs, says Jen Morris, DPL spokeswoman.
Wichita libraries have suspended a patron’s borrowing privileges in a few cases until receiving a note from a pest control company showing a successful treatment. “We will not take that step unless we are really confident of that chain of custody. That’s not an easy call to make,” Berner Harris says.
To prevent public panic over bed bugs, communicate calmly, professionally, and be matter-of-fact and up-front, Howe says. Dispel misinformation, such as the inaccurate assumption that a dirty home will attract bed bugs. Remind patrons that bed bugs don’t transmit disease. Kalamazoo designated a bed bug team of three people to respond to queries about the insects.
Wichita librarians help guide cash-strapped patrons to resources, such as the United Way, according to Berner Harris. Denver has collected resources online, and reference librarians are prepared to help people get information about bed bugs. “It’s a community issue, and we try to lead them to the resources,” Plunkett says.
At Hastings-on-Hudson, Feir explains to inquiring patrons that public buildings often deal with a variety of health hazards or nuisances that library workers can’t control. One patron asked whether Feir could turn away people who are suspected of having bed bugs. Feir responded, “No, you can’t,” comparing it to turning away a patron showing signs of illness.
Lamson suggests talking to patrons about the Bed Bugs Without Borders Survey, which found that libraries are among the least affected public buildings. Pest control experts surveyed in 2011 reported that only eight percent of their library customers needed help with bed bugs, but 80 percent of hotel and motel customers had found bed bugs.
The risk of finding bed bugs in the library varies by community, though dense urban communities may be at higher risk. “If you live in one of those hot-spot areas, you might be at risk, but most people are not at risk,” Gangloff-Kaufmann says. Adding, the odds of a library patron bringing home bed bugs in a book are extremely low. People are more likely to catch the flu at the library, Lamson says, and Gangloff-Kaufmann confirms.
If bed bugs are found, tell the community what the library is doing to take care of the problem, library leaders say. In Wichita, Berner Harris took advantage of the public relations opportunity provided by the photogenic bed bug–sniffing beagle called Ms. Liberty Belle to reassure patrons. “We put the dog on our Facebook page,” Berner Harris says.
Also ones on Silverfish & mice
Here are some samples from libraries across the country:
Denver Public Library: posted on their website as well at http://denverlibrary.org/returning-materials-have-come-contact-bed-bugs-or-other-pests
Returning Materials that have Come into Contact with Bed Bugs or Other Pests
If Library materials have come into contact with bed bugs or other pests while in your possession, DO NOT return them through the book drop. Place items in a securely closed plastic bag and call your nearest branch to make return arrangements. To prevent the spread of bed bugs to other parts of the collection, Library staff will quarantine the items to assess the extent of the damage and will determine whether the item(s) can be cleaned or must be removed from the collection
You need to have an integrated pest management control policy set up for your library. Try to include the following steps within the program:
1. Establish an inspection or surveillance program or system for the facility that will yield prompt awareness of a possible problem.
2. Determine the extent and nature of the possible problem, that is, the pest species, their density, and location.
3. Devise an Integrated Pest Management plan for prevention, control, or elimination of the problem.
4. Oversee the implementation of the devised plan and be willing to modify it as indicated.
5. Monitor the results of the effort.
Source: http://www.unesco.org/webworld/ramp/html/r8820e/r8820e02.htm. Accessed October 15, 2014.
Let’s end with a pleasant picture (stop scratching)!!!
Manchester Central Library, March 2010
Manchester Central Library (UK)