New York

Menlo Park Library Closes After Bed Bugs Found

Menlo Park Library is among the latest victim of a bed bug infestation.

The city announced the main library at 800 Alma St. closed Tuesday night because of bed bugs discovered in the public seating area. The library will be closed through at least Wednesday evening, city manager Alex McIntrye decided.

This is the latest Bay Area library to close because of the pests. Palo Alto has closed the Rinconada Library and Mitchell Park Library in the last month or so.

In Berkeley, the North Branch of the Berkeley Public Library closed Sept. 25  after dogs sniffed out bed bugs in the men's restroom, under the desks of the public computer area and in a chair in the adult reading area.

Bed bugs, the city said, are not uncommon at libraries and they can sometimes be transported through the sharing of books.

The New York Times even did a piece in 2012 called “A Dark and Itchy Night,” about the bed bugs finding a “new way to hitchhike in and out of beds: library books.” The article cites cases of bed bugs at the Los Angeles Central Library, a library in Wichita, Kansas and a library in Islip, NY.

The common bed bug, or cimex lectularius, has long fed on blood, caused itchy bites and generally irritated their human hosts, cites the the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  and the United States Department of Agriculture all consider bed bugs a public health pest. However, unlike most public health pests, bed bugs are not known to transmit or spread disease.

Experts believe the recent increase in bed bugs in the United States may be due to more travel, lack of knowledge about preventing infestations, increased resistance of bed bugs to pesticides, and ineffective pest control practices, according to the EPA website.

For tips on preventing bed bug infestations, click here.

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