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Concerned about getting bed bugs from library books


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Well, the title pretty much explains it.  I thought people were just being paranoid when I heard about this.  Unfortunately, the more I research it, the more I realize this is indeed a concern at libraries.  Our librarian even confirmed that there have been a couple cases at our actual library. 

I certainly do not want to buy every book my children read, but I also very much need to not have bed bugs at this point in life.  We have purposefully avoided electronic devices for our kids, so digital books aren't really a great option either. 

I have actually considered buying like a bed bug killing oven thing to treat any incoming books, but I'm not sure how reliable those are.

Does anyone have any experience with something like that?  Do you all just not worry about the possibility?  I really want to follow the WTM plan for history with my kiddos, but the library book thing is proving to be an issue.  Sigh.  Any thoughts? 

Thanks.  ?  

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I would start by asking the library what they do to mitigate this risk.

Then, if still concerned, inspect books before bringing them home Keep them in a set place (a plastic bin perhaps) and require that they be read at the kitchen table if you are really concerned.

Utilize your library's ebooks. Those are guaranteed not to have bedbugs, lol.

I wouldn't not check out books.

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I think we simply need to accept some risk in going about our lives. Just about anyplace can have bedbugs; those little suckers can survive all over the place. I refuse to become a hermit. The chances that I randomly bring in enough bedbugs to colonize my house is still pretty tiny, as long as I’m not buying secondhand mattresses, carpets, or upholstered furniture.

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Bedbugs can be small, but they're not invisible.  In most cases, a simple visual inspection is enough - open the cover, check the inside binding on either side, look at the outside of the pages. You will either see bugs or you will see dark spots where they've pooped.

However, there are two sorts of books you should avoid if you're worried about this, because they're harder to inspect. First of all, any book with deckle edges. I learned to my horror that if those are kept by the bed, bedbugs love 'em. Secondly, hardcover books with a loose binding so there's space between the spine and the pages.

If you're still worried, you might consider keeping all library books in a closed ziplock when not in use. It's a good idea to keep library books together when they're not actively being read, anyway.

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Honestly, it's not something I worry about because I don't think it's a likely scenario that I'd have enough on a specific book to get an infestation or have more than 1 book at a time or in a close space of time to have enough.

That being said, what about one of those huge ziploc bags to hold all library books not currently being read? https://www.amazon.com/Ziploc-Double-Zipper-X-Large-4-Count/dp/B003U6A3EY

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From what I understand, leaving a car in the sun gets it hot enough to kill bedbugs, at least where I live. If I were concerned, I'd just go to the library as the first errand, then leave the books in the hot car while I went and did other things. If the other things didn't take long enough, I could leave the car in the drive way with the books inside for a while. 

I think our library rats books they suspect have been exposed. I've occasionally gotten a book that smells strongly of mothballs.

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I think I've been told that a couple of days in the freezer also works. I don't put library books in the freezer, but I do freeze things that I buy secondhand. 

My DH's job (medical field) is a more likely source of bed bugs for us than library books, and so far, we've been okay. 

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On 6/25/2018 at 8:27 PM, kbutton said:

I think I've been told that a couple of days in the freezer also works. I don't put library books in the freezer, but I do freeze things that I buy secondhand. 

My DH's job (medical field) is a more likely source of bed bugs for us than library books, and so far, we've been okay. 


It's my understanding that freezing only works it it's 0 degrees or colder for at least 4 days. Most household freezers aren't that cold.

As to the OP, this is not something I have ever worried about.

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