Tacoma Public Library is bringing in a pest control company to inspect and treat the 97,000-square foot Main Branch after library staffers found the bugs in some recently returned books Wednesday afternoon. The branch at 1102 Tacoma Avenue South is expected to reopen Tuesday, February 27. All scheduled events and programs at the Main Branch have been canceled until it reopens.
In recent weeks the Main Branch has received bedbug –infested materials from three individuals in two separate residential buildings. Those items were immediately quarantined, treated, and discarded. While searching for materials previously returned by these same patrons, library employees discovered material that showed evidence of bedbugs.
"The Main Branch is closed out of an abundance of caution until the pest control company can arrive. The soonest they are able to come is Sunday, February 25." Library Director Kate Larsen said.
Initial inspections using “insect inceptor” cups show the exposure is likely quite minimal, but the pest control company will use a bedbug-sniffing dog to locate any areas where the insects may be present. At that point, the pest control expert will consult with Library staff and make a recommendation on the best treatment options.
In general, bedbugs (Cimex lectularius) have been making a comeback in the United States over the past decade, pest specialists say, and libraries throughout the nation have been infested because so many people spend time in these public buildings, or return infested material to their libraries.
All Tacoma library staff inspect returned books thoroughly, and Tacoma Library will bring in bedbug-sniffing dogs to all locations on a regular basis if that’s deemed a necessary precaution. In the meantime, residents are urged not to return material that has been in an infested home. Instead, please contact your neighborhood branch for instructions on what to do with material that may be infested.
For more information about bedbugs, the Centers for Disease Control has a web page on how to prevent and manage them. Go to cdc.gov/parasites/bedbugs/faqs.html