In Case of Bed Bugs (and Other Pests)
What to do when pests are returned in books to the Libraries or when pests are identified that may harm collections or buildings and people.
What do I do if I find insects or other pests in library books or in the library?
1. Monitor for signs of pests. Whenever you handle collections, look for signs of active pests including: live adult or larval insects, fresh frass (insect excrement and debris), and damage (staining, paper dust, webbing).
2. If you see signs of pests or if you are not sure, do not check the book in if it is checked out to a user or in transit. This will help us to determine the source of the problem. Consider it potentially "damaged."
3. Immediately place the books in bags and seal them. Also seal the edge completely with duct tape so the pest can't escape if the seal opens a crack. Have clear "zip-lock" type freezer bags with a piece of white paper inside it near the circulation desk as well as a larger clear garbage bag and duct tape. Placing the item in a clear bag with white paper inside will help make it easier to see the pest or signs of the pest. If possible, avoid crushing insects and capture them in the plastic bag or on a piece of sticky tape for identification.
4. Note the barcode and/or call number, the location, and the time. Notify your supervisor and contact Preservation Services as soon as possible. Do not send through campus mail.
5. You, your supervisor, Preservation Services, UW Environmental Health & Safety, and Facilities staff will then work together to identify the pest, treat the item, and monitor the area for future problems. Treatment for affected books will typically be by freezing at minus 20 degrees C for one week, followed by a thaw period, and refreezing. This insures that both the live insects and any eggs are killed. Pesticides should not be applied to library materials.
6. For typical library and museum pests, including identification pictures, etc. see the following resource: http://www.museumpests.net/treatment.asp
7. For more information on bed bugs, see: http://npic.orst.edu/pest/bedbug.html
What do I do if books with insect damage are brought to my attention by a reader?
1. Remember that they are doing us a favor by alerting us to the problem instead of simply returning books in a bookdrop and exposing us to a larger problem. If their home is infested, they may feel embarrassed. If we react poorly and do not make them comfortable describing the situation, we may not get helpful information from them in the future. Also, an infestation is unlikely to be resolved with one treatment so they may need our help again.
2. Follow the procedures above (What do I do if I find insects...) but also ask the reader if any pesticides were used on the materials. The more we know about how the materials were treated, the more information we will have to determine our next steps.
This work is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License