Are you a book lover? Do you have thousands of books that are now infested with bed bugs? It can be a disheartening situation as you certainly do not want to throw those books out. You might have even wondered what you can do to get rid of bed bugs without damaging all your beloved books. So in this guide, we will cover ways to treat library books for bed bugs and also keep your personal books safe from these critters.
Steps to get rid of bed bugs in your home
Whether you are a librarian battling an infestation or a book lover having hundreds of books that are now infested with bed bugs, use the following steps to first eliminate bed bugs from your home. We will then cover ways to get rid of bed bugs inside books without destroying them:
Step 1: Prepare for the treatment
The first step to eliminating bugs from your book room/library is to inspect the affected areas of. If you have bed bugs in one part of your home, chances are you will have bed bugs everywhere. You must also make sure to identify if it is really bed bugs you are dealing with. On this website, you will find hundreds of bed bug pictures. Bed bugs have a flat, reddish brown body that resembles tiny apple seeds. They also give out a weird smell and you might find tell-tale dried blood stains and discarded exoskeletons around your belongings. So inspect all the rooms, and start preparing for treatment. You must declutter all the rooms and remove all unwanted stuff. Chances are that all your furniture, toys and closets are affected. If it is your bedroom, you will definitely find bugs in the bed, headboards, box springs etc.
Step 2: De clutter
Bag all the infested books. (We will tell you what to do with the infested books in a few minutes.) Get rid of items you cannot salvage or no longer need. The items which you wish to salvage need to be bagged. Use plastic bags to keep all the items and place these bags away from the areas to be treated. You can either keep them out in the sun or in the garage. Remember: if a bed bug survives the treatment, it is going to multiple very soon and the cycle will start again. So you need to diligently treat all items including electronics, jewelry, books and clothes.
Step 3: Use integrated bed bug treatment
An integrated bed bug treatment process includes the use of chemicals and other methods of bed bug extermination. You can use chemicals, heat treatment, steam cleaning and bed bug powders or sprays all over the infested areas. In most infested houses, the beds are the first to get affected by bugs. For very heavy infestations, it is best to discard old mattresses. You can also use mattress encasements to trap the bed bugs inside and prevent them from coming out. Next, treat the box spring and headboard with bed bug killing chemicals. You can also steam clean these areas. Steam/heat treatment kills bed bugs as well as their larvae and eggs. You also can sprinkle diatomaceous earth powder in these regions to eliminate bed bugs. Make sure you sleep in the untreated part of the house when your room is being treated with diatomaceous earth powder as it can irritate lungs.
Step 4: Steam and vacuum
At this point, it is essential that you either rent a steamer or buy one. Steam clean all the rooms thoroughly. You must also steam the rugs, carpets, curtains, upholstered furniture items etc. This will kill bed bugs instantly. Steaming is recommended where you cannot use chemical treatment.
Step 5: Wash and launder
Now is the time to toss all your fabrics, linen, clothes etc in the washer. If needed, visit public Laundromats to use commercial washers for washing large comforters, blankets and mattress covers. Wash the fabrics on hottest setting and use a mild detergent or bleaching agent. Let the fabrics dry on hottest setting they can withstand.
Now we will study some ways to get rid of bed bugs from books.
How to get rid of bed bugs from books
Use dry heat
Use a hair dryer to blast each of the infested books with hot air. The heat will kill all adult bugs, their eggs and larvae. You can also steam the bed bugs to death without harming your books. You will need to use the steamer for at least 5 minutes in your book cabinet. This will get the bugs to crawl out of the hiding places. Use care when using this remedy: you do not want to harm your books.
Toss the books in the oven
You read that right! You can toast the bed bugs by placing infested books in a heated oven. Worry not: your precious books won’t catch fire but the heat will definitely kill all larvae and eggs. Preheat your oven to 170 F. (Note that lethal bed bug killing temperature range is 117 to 122 F) Place the books in the middle rack and make sure you spread them out. Keep the books in the oven for at least an hour. This bed bug oven treatment (also known as bed bug hot box treatment)has helped salvage many an infested book.
Spray rubbing alcohol
Make a spray of rubbing alcohol and spray all over the books. This will destroy the bed bugs for good. Test to ensure that the alcohol does not harm your books first before proceeding to treat all books.
Put them out in the sun
Place all of the infested books out in the hot sun. The heat will kill all bed bugs and larvae. You can cover the books with a plastic sheet before placing them in the sun.
Freezing the books will also eliminate the bed bugs and their larvae. You can use plastic bags to wrap each infested book and place it in the freezer overnight. However, this process can take time if your freezer is small and you have large number of books. If it is winter time where you live, simply cover the books in plastic bags and place them in the snow. This option can eliminate bed bugs from books easily.
Dust diatomaceous earth powder on the books.
Diatomaceous earth powder has very sharp molecules which rip the exoskeleton of bugs killing them instantly. This remedy will make your books dusty and smelly but is an effective and natural way to get rid of bed bugs in libraries and homes. You will have to vacuum the entire room after 2-3 days of this treatment to remove dead bugs. Repeat this treatment once every 15 days in your library to eliminate all of the newly hatched bed bugs.
Can your books be saved when there is a heavy infestation?
Unfortunately, in case of massive bed bug infestation, there is no choice but to discard all infested items. If it is possible, keep the books covered for a few months inside plastic casing. This will starve the bugs and kill them. However you must remember that bed bugs can remain dormant for several days, so continue making periodic inspections to ensure you have completely eliminated them. Freezing or heat treating books in a microwave oven are the best ways to eliminate bed bugs in books. You can also contact a professional pest management company to get your premises professionally treated with bed bug killing chemical treatment.
Preventing bed bugs in libraries
If you suspect that your local library is the source of bed bugs in books, you need to alert them. In case it is the public library, you need to contact your local town office. The entire community can get involved in helping save thousands of infected books in the library. It is very important to educate people about how bed bugs spread. When the community helps pitch in, you can make better efforts to prevent bed bugs from infesting our homes and damaging our precious public resources.