Hillsborough County has closed it’s Brandon Library branch for the next couple of days, after library workers found bedbugs in some recently return books.
6:11 PM EST February 21, 2018
Brandon, Fla — Well, you’ve heard of bookworms, but how about book bugs?
In this case, it’s bed bugs – found inside several books recently returned to a Hillsborough County Library branch in Brandon.
“That’s … not wonderful,” said Marjorie Hawkins, who was grossed out but the nasty news.
Hawkins was planning to return a few books at the Hillsborough County library branch in Brandon Wednesday, but found it was closed – at least until Friday – because of bed bugs.
The parasites were found living in the spines of several books recently returned to the library branch on Vonderburg Drive.
“It doesn’t’t make you happy,” said Hawkins.
Bernice Israel, who also arrived to see the “closed for building maintenance” sign was also disappointed and a little unsettle by the news.
“This is a community place and it’s so easy for people to take things home and then we have a breakout,” said Israel.
County officials say the books with bugs were actually still in a holding area, dropped off a few days ago, and when an employee went to go check them out. That’s when they found bed bugs.
The books, they say, had not yet made their way back into the main part of the public library, but officials decided to close off the entire branch out of an abundance of caution.
“I don’t want them in my house,” said library visitor Donna Worl, “So I can appreciate that.”
The county is killing the bugs and any possible eggs they’ve laid by using a $6,000 thermal remediation treatment; turning up the heat so that the air inside the building gets hotter than a sauna…about 140 degrees.
“It’s going to get hot enough to kill insects, not hot enough to damage anything or create fires,” said Angel Rivera with Florida Bed Bug Experts, another local company not performing this particular job.
Rivera says the blood sucking pests can live 10 months without eating and over a year without oxygen. So, he’s not certain that whoever checked out the bedbug-infested books last is the only one who may have an issue.
“It could have been checked out several times and got into several different homes before someone found the problem,” said Rivera. “We can only guesstimate based upon the size of the insect, the amount of eggs that were located in the spine with it, as to how long that infestation was wherever it was prior to being the library.”
Rivera says 70% of us don’t react to bed bug bites. So you might not realize they’re around until there’s a full-blown infestation. A single egg-laying female is all it takes.
“One bed bug will make about 30,000 in 30 days. The next 30 days it becomes exponentialized, where it can be as many as 1.5 million,” said Rivera.
Hillsborough County plans to re-open the library branch in a couple of days. Rivera says if the thermal treatment is done properly, anything inside the building should be bedbug free.