Hide your books, hide your beds, ‘cause these bugs are everywhere. If you get grossed out easily maybe you just shouldn’t read this, but it’s better to make sure you know what season it is, especially those who use public libraries. So why am I getting that creepy crawly itchy feeling? The nuisance of bed bug season.
They invade homes, beds, and—take a deep breath—BOOKS! With winter here in full swing (even though they’re year-round), these little pests are looking for a nice warm place to live and they’ve made their way into our literature. Ew… According WBAY News, The American Library Association is giving advice to public library goers on how to avoid these blood-suckers.
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Michael Draney, a biologist from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, explains their behavior and what to look out for:
Bed bugs are definitely attracted to inanimate objects that have narrow spaces that they can hide in… They’re small insects and they hide in very small spaces, and so you wouldn’t necessarily know that you were carrying them around so it is certainly possible you could move bed bugs from one place to another.
Exterminator Josh Erdman also tells us about where they may pop up:
Typically bed bugs are found in the spine of the book. They can be found in between the pages. Bed bugs are very flat unless they’re fed, so they can squeeze just about anywhere… Bed bugs spread because when they reproduce it’s a very kind of violent act and the females run, and when they run they go to your clothes or to a book next to the bed, that kind of thing.
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Erdman advises readers to flip through the pages loosely and check the spine before and after taking out a book. You will often find their skins left behind, since they shed as they grow. Yes, you’re right: That is repulsive. You may even spot some fecal matter staining parts of the page and spine; it looks like small little pen dots.
It’s advised that if you find an infested book, seal it in a plastic bag and notify the librarian upon returning it. Although the chances you may find the parasites in your next read may be low, I sure as hell ain’t taking that chance…unless it’s a really good book.
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