Just when you thought you were safe from bedbugs as long as you never stay in a hotel, go shopping for clothes or to the movies, or, you know, work in an office ... now it turns out you also must refrain from borrowing books. Yes, library books are the latest hiding spot for the pests, who apparently like to cozy up in the spines of hardcover books. As a result, libraries are increasingly tasking staff members with the enviable job of checking books for live bugs, carcasses, or excrement, the New York Times reports. If a book is suspicious, it's sometimes treated with heat before being re-shelved.
And library couches and chairs are at risk too; a library in Kansas recently had to heat-treat all of its furniture and decontaminate hundreds of books after a patron said she got bit in a lounge chair. As the problem grows, more libraries are taking preventative measures like hiring bedbug-sniffing dogs regularly, buying dozens of "PackTite" or "ThermalStrike" heat treatment systems, or putting bedbug traps under furniture legs. How to avoid bringing bedbugs home with your books? An entomologist suggests only borrowing the less-popular ones bedbugs haven't gotten to yet: "Maybe try old history books."