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Opinions Vary Regarding Bed Bugs and Library Books

Bed bugs

Bed Bug Central’s Jeff White weighs on recent reports that bed bugs can be spread by (and to) library patrons borrowing books.

| December 11, 2012

LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. — Increasing bed bug complaints in public libraries have recently become a heated topic between The New York Times and Reluctant Habits’ Edward Champion. Last week, The New York Times released an article, “A Dark and Itchy Night”, discussing the growing amount of libraries affected by bed bugs.  Shortly after, Reluctant Habits countered the story with “The Bedbug Bunk: How The New York Times Used Fear And Misinformation To Spread Public Library Hysteria” calling it misleading saying the New York Times used fear and misinformation to bring attention to the issue. BedBug Central’s Technical Director, Jeff White, shares his thoughts on the growing debate. 

 “There’s a delicate balance to consider between public education and hysteria when writing these articles”, White said. “The focus needs to be awareness on both ends of the equation: library and patron.”

Regardless of what side of the issue you fall on, borrowing a book with bed bugs is a rare situation and not a risk that should prevent people from using libraries. However, the general public does underestimate the number of libraries who have dealt with this issue, especially in larger cities. As a patron, consumers should know what a bed bug looks like and take a quick glance at a book before borrowing it. That simple five-second glance could prevent an unwanted visitor.

White further states that libraries need to be aware that bed bugs could be an issue and provide basic training to staff on how to recognize a bed bug, answer any questions about the topic and to take a quick glance at a book when returning it to a shelf to be sure it doesn't have an obvious issue. Being proactive can go a long way in preventing an expensive and time-consuming infestation. While there is no real data on the topic, the chance you actually borrow a book with bed bugs is one- in-a-million, but simple information and education is key.  Visiting an online resource like www.bedbugcentral.com can provide libraries and patrons with basic information on how to identify, prevent and treat bed bugs.
 

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