There was recently an article in the New York times which reported on the rising incidence of bedbugs both in library books and in library furniture in the USA. A horrid idea, you take a book from the library, curl up in bed with it, and promptly find yourself crawling with small but nasty bedbugs.
Note added later:
There is apparently some confusion about this problem, so as Kyle has suggested below, it might be a good idea to read this article as well: http://www.edrants.com/the-bedbug-bunk-how-the-new-york-times-used-fear-and-misinformation-to-spread-public-library-hysteria/
On with the story none the less:
It seems that the little nasties love to crawl into the spines of hardback books at night as you sleep peacefully in bed, lay their eggs there, crawl back into your bed and get on with their lives. You then return the book to the library, and the next unfortunate who borrows that book imports a load of highly active bedbugs into their house – a very efficient way of spreading the plague I feel.
I have no information about libraries in other countries, but apparently it is a problem all over the USA, and libraries are having to come up with ways of dealing with it in order not to lose all their clients.
This ranges from (believe it or not) using specially trained bed bug sniffer dogs to locate specific books or furniture that is infested, placing infested books in extremely cold rooms for a week or so, or equally going the other way and heating them to 140 degrees for 4 or 5 hours in specially designed bed bug killer ovens.
To give you a hand in understanding the way the wee beasties operate, her is a rather serious video that will tell you everything you need to know about bed bugs…. Enjoy it!
Quite why this problem should be occurring now is unknown, as far as I can find out, it has never been a real problem in the past, though it must have occurred a few times I imagine. But now it is working its way to epidemic proportions all over the USA, and isn’t restricted to lower income areas either, but seems totally democratic and occurs in all income level areas.
Equally, I don’t know if this is simply a part of a general increase in the incidence of bed bugs over all the country, but I get the impression that it isn’t like that, but simply that the bed bugs have recently realised that the spines of hardback books are an ideal breeding ground, and taken to it with a will.
Obviously this is causing an enormous amount of consternation both on the part of the librarians and their customers, quite a few of the latter have announced that they will never use their libraries again, after the experience of finding their home suddenly infested with bed bugs after borrowing a library book – understandably.
Ebooks are the answer.
However, there is an answer for those clients, borrow ebooks from your library, and do it online, so you run absolutely no risk of infestation – until bed bugs manage to breed a digital version of themselves we won’t see any bed bugs in our ebooks….
Share with us:
Has this horrid experience ever happened to you?