Questions from Pest Meetings with Staff

I met with the majority of staff to talk about Pests in the library.  There were questions and I promised I’d post those so everyone would know the answers to them.

  • Are Friends of the Library areas checked when Scout visits?  Yes – Surprisingly, there has been little problem there. It could be reasonable to think that books stored in peoples homes might present an issue for us. Apparently, not at this time.
  • Do we put up signs when an area is removed for treatment?  Yes – Typically this is done by Maintenance staff as the area is emptied for treatment.
  • Some people sleep in the library, is this a problem since bed bugs are attracted to sleeping people?  Yes.  While the issue is not as much a problem as people sleeping in beds in homes, hotels, etc. it can be an issue.  We have a policy that prohibits sleeping.  If you see someone sleeping and are not comfortable waking them up, contact a manager or security.  They can address it for you.
  • What is Scout’s schedule?  Scout, the bed bug dog, visits once a month.  He does not follow a specific day of the week, so I can’t give you a list of dates.  Based on Scout’s availability, he visits about 3-4 weeks from the last visit.  Scout was here on June 17 so approximately the middle of each month, but that will vary.
  • Is there a treatment for a bite?  For most of us, treatment with an anti-itch creme or ointment is all that is necessary.  Occasionally, some people are allergic to the bite and may require additional treatment.  We advise visiting with a health professional if the simple treatment doesn’t help.  It should respond similar to mosquito and chigger bites for most of us. Remember, bed bugs do not carry disease.
  • Some of the Red Carpet customers are homebound or bed-ridden.  Is that a bigger problem?  It has that possibility.  We don’t know the situation in people’s homes or in congregate living sites.  Red Carpet staff work with individuals at various situations every day and are sensitive to those conditions.  If we need to address a Red Carpet customer differently we can do that.
  • Will we offer classes for the public?  At this point, we have decided not to do that.  It is always an option in the future if situations change.
  • Is there heat damage in “cooking” items?  Books do not seem to be an issue.  Occasionally, a very old plastic book jacket will react, but that is not common.  So far, most DVD’s and CD’s do not seem to be affected.  I’m sure that will depend on situations.  If it happens, we will determine if we need to change a course of action or if a person needs to be billed for the damage.  Circulation determines those factors.
  • Do we track and/or notify people if their stuff comes back with bed bugs? This is a sensitive issue as most people will be offended by accusing them of having bed bugs.  However, re-occuring situations can and will be tracked, when possible, to stop the problem.  We have done this on at least one occasion already because of a repeat offense.
  • What can I do personally to protect myself from taking bed bugs home from the library? We do not have a perfect protection but due to the life styles of bed bugs, our exposure as staff is minimal. If you are concerned, changing shoes and clothes before you leave home and work can be done in extreme cases.  Inspecting books, DVD’s and CD’s before taking them home and bringing them back to the library is a good practice.  This is most likely staff’s exposure.  Bed bugs do not behave like ticks and drop off of branches or leaves onto your body.  They are not going to drop off of a shelf to get to you.  They are not aggressive that way.  They will probably be hiding in a book and accidentally get taken home with you.  Based on the hits that Scout has made, even that possibility is probably not very likely. There have been very few bed bugs discovered here given the large number of items and people that go in and out every day.

Thank you for your help in keeping this problem under control.  Everyone has done a great job!

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