Wethersfield Library Takes Precautions Against Bed Bugs

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

WETHERSFIELD - The Wethersfield Library took precautionary steps in the last week to assure it wasn't bugged.

Bedbugged, that is.

Library Director Laurel Goodgion said Tuesdaythat as a precautionary measure she recently arranged for the library to be tested four times a year for bedbugs, insects that can nest in books.

The first check, done with bug-sniffing dogs, was last Thursday and identified several small "areas of concern," Goodgion said. The dogs paw the ground when they smell a bedbug, but no critters were actually found dead or alive, she said.

"The only bug we've seen was one that the health department loaned us so we could see what it looks like, but that one was dead," Goodgion said.

Library personnel removed all materials in the suspect areas, enough to fill two hand carts, Goodgion said. The exterminator brought a trailer that heated the books to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit for a significant period, sufficient to kill any bugs in the books.

"We were overly zealous," Goodgion said. "There might have been one bug in one book."

The library has ordered its own heating unit to kill bedbugs, if necessary, she said. The unit cost $274, she said.

More and more libraries are facing bedbug infestations, Goodgion said. She decided to become more proactive after a staffer returned from a conference where bedbugs were a topic of discussion.

"I thought it would be a good idea to be preventive even though we saw no evidence of bugs in the library," she said. "We're being very careful to stay ahead of this because they are becoming so common."

Bedbugs have made a big comeback in recent years. The insects burrow their way into furniture, books and other items, emerging to bite humans. Infested items often have to be thrown away.