Thursday, January 10, 2008

bed bugs, killing their eggs

Information from

“But what to do about these pests? First, believe it or not, check for
bats. Bedbugs often feed on bats. If the bats decide to move into your
attic, it won't be long before the bedbugs decide to take a look at
the rest of the house. Eradicate the source and you've gone a long
way towards eradicating the bugs. Another possible carrier is the

“Bed bugs are mostly found in bedrooms as they generally feed at night
when the host is asleep. When not feeding they live in the bed frame
or cracks and crevices around the room. They do not harbour in the
mattress or bedding material. They are reddish brown in colour turning
blood red after feeding. The adult reaches approximately 5mm in length
and passes through five nymph stages over a period of time to 128
days. The female lays her eggs in batches of 10 to 50, they are white
in colour and deposited on various surfaces with a thin glue. They
take on average 10 days to hatch and can mature into adults within one
to two months given ample food.

The female is then ready to start laying eggs. The speed of
development depends on temperature and food availability.
Surprisingly, bed bugs can live longer without food and can go without
feeding for up to 140 days; the adult typically lives for about 10
months but can survive for a year or longer in cool buildings. This
sensitivity to temperature means bed bugs will start to die if
temperatures drop below 9ºC or rise above 36ºC. However, modern
buildings have created ideal conditions for the bed bug with central
heating and easy access to adjoining properties being commonplace.”

I have found no incidence of books infested with bedbugs, but I
should think that any of the extermination methods below would work on
bedbugs as well. Are you quite certain your books have been infested?

“Adult female bedbugs lay two to four eggs a day in crevices in
upholstery, furnishings, baseboards or other trim, picture frames, or
pretty much anywhere else they can find a suitable crack in close
proximity to humans.”
“Adult bedbugs often live in structural cracks and gaps in bed frames,
night tables, and headboards; as well as in mattresses and structural
elements of a room. There, they lie in wait until you hit the sack and
fall asleep -- and then they make their move.”
“You should also remove all clothing from the room, including any that
is stored in closets, trunks, and night tables. Clothing should be
washed or dry-cleaned as appropriate to the fabric. In addition, any
luggage you have used recently should be available for inspection and
possible treatment by the pest control operator. (Bedbugs often
hitch-hike in baggage.)”

“By day they hide in dark, dry places in beds, mattresses, cracks in
walls and floors, and furniture; they are also found behind pictures
and wallpaper; hiding places are also used for breeding. The bugs are
frequently abundant in bedrooms in warm climates.”
“Infestations can be detected by the examination of possible hiding
places for the presence of live bugs, cast-off nymphal skins, eggs and
excreta. The excreta may also be visible as small dark brown or black
marks on bed sheets, walls and wallpaper (4). Houses with large
numbers of bedbugs may have a characteristic unpleasant smell. Live
bugs can be detected by spraying an aerosol of pyrethrum into cracks
and crevices, thus irritating them and driving them out of their
hiding places.”

“These are nocturnal animals. They don't like light, and so they hide
during hours when the room is lighted and feed only at night. Their
hiding places can include virtually ANY tiny crack or opening into
which they can squeeze their flattened bodies. This commonly is
bedside furniture such as night stands, chairs, or dressers, as well
as the bed framing and creases and folds on the mattress. They may
hide under lamps, behind pictures on the walls, under the covers for
electrical outlets, or even on the ceiling under the plates for
ceiling lights and fans. They may crawl into items stored under the
bed, or wander into the closet for the multitude of possibilities

“Even with the excellent tools available to the professional pest
management industry, it likely will take several visits to your home
to eliminate the bedbugs, once they have become well established.
These are tough insects to get rid of. The females can deposit up to
200 eggs over a period of several weeks, gluing them to surfaces
within their hiding places. Bedbugs cannot fly, but they crawl very
rapidly, and now are being found in rooms away from the bedroom as
well. They squeeze into wall voids where it is difficult to place an
insecticide, adding to the difficulty in their control.”

“Most important, though, would be to carefully examine our beds and
rooms for the bits of evidence of bedbugs that were discussed earlier
- fecal blood spots, bites over our bodies, and the insects themselves
behind pictures on the walls or in the folds of the mattress. We might
even notice a funny smell in the room that could be associated with
bedbugs. You could purchase some small glue pads to place under the
bed or under dressers, and possibly capture the bugs as they crawl out
from their hiding places. If these are used they must be placed where
household pets will not get them stuck onto their fur.”

From AntiqueWeb’s section on book preservations:
“I have an infestation. How can I get rid of bugs in my books?
Identify the bug if possible (trap one with sticky pest strips) and
try to answer the following questions that a professional will ask
1. Is the insect already dead or alive and how many insects are there?
2. How many books are affected and with what kind of damage?
3. Have you seen insects like these elsewhere in your home?
4. Where have the books been stored and are they damp or moldy?
5. How valuable and old are the books?

Isolate the affected books by placing them in a tightly sealed plastic
bag. Seek assistance from an entomologist. A local university or state
extension service should be able to put you in touch with one.
Fumigation must be performed by professionals under controlled
conditions. Non-chemical preventive measures against insects include:
1. Seal entry points including windows, doors and put filters on vents.
2. Keep room temperatures and humidity levels low (insects need water, too).
3. Keep the environment clean and dusted, and don't store books near
food or rubbish, etc.
Dessicant dusts like diatomaceous earth or silica, can be used around
the perimeters of a room, but will not be effective for insects with a
winged portion of the life cycle.”

Per the NY Historical Society, in this old post, microwaving books is a poor idea!
“Someone mentioned the use of a home microwave to kill bugs in books. I
strongly discourage such use for a variety of reasons the first being
the possible damage done to the paper at the fiber level. Other reasons
include the reaction of glues to microwaving also other components of
the binding may curl or cockle due to moisture being driven from them.
However, in my file of Horrors I did run across a short article from the
NY Post, March 27, 1989 where two forestry professors at Syracuse
University had talked about preserving books by tossing them in a
microwave and "nuke 'em for a minute". They did mention that some of
the glues melt and any metal associated with the book causes sparking
and they did have a few problems with charring the covers!!! but they
felt that they were close to practical use. It was a very short
article, but there was no mention of the effect on the paper. PLEASE
do not try this.”

Yet another site gives the green light to microwaving books! Note that
this is mentioned as working for silverfish and booklice. We don’t
know if it is effective on bedbug eggs.

“Books infested by silverfish and booklice can be placed in a kitchen
microwave oven for 30 to 60 seconds (Brezner 1988, Brezner and Luner
1989). Most books can undergo this treatment without any damage. The
glue on paperback book bindings may soften initially, causing the book
to curl a little, but if the book is set on a flat table, it will soon
straighten out. This treatment is not recommended for very old books
made of parchment or other fragile paper, or for books with gilding or
color illustrations that may contain metallic salts in their
paints—metals and microwaves don’t mix.”

“You do need to worry about taking the pests with you. Bed bugs may
be transported from place to place on clothing or in luggage or
furniture, and they can migrate from house to house. Eggs are
generally laid in cracks, not on people or clothing. The bugs are
nocturnal and during the day, they hide in cracks in the walls, under
the baseboard, in the springs of a bed, under the edge of a mattress,
under wallpaper, and in similar places. My advice is to fumigate
before leaving, only take furniture that is irreplacable. Get a new
box spring and mattress, eliminate most of your clothing and only
take freshly laundered clothing to your new place.”

“…depending on the material it is then frozen at -30 C for one week
after which it is reexamined and then refrozen if any signs of
activity remain. This is repeated until no traces of insect life are
left. The freezing process is necessary because even if all visible
insect remains have been removed, there could still be thousands of
microscopic eggs present which cannot be removed manually. Freezing at
the prescribed temperature will kill all insect life stages.”

“Once the infested materials are found, they should be isolated
immediately (archival boxes sealed inside bags are sufficient) and
then put through the above freezing process. If proper facilities are
not available on site, cold storage facilities can often be rented, or
cold storage trucks called "reefer" trucks can be brought on site.
Caught in time, infestations are relatively easy to control. With the
recent replacement of toxic chemical fumigants with the freezing
process, there is no risk to human health. If proper preventative
measures are in place, however, infestations should not arise.”

The idea of inspecting and brushing the gutters, page by page sounds
like an effective way of removing bedbug eggs:
“If clear evidence of infestation is discovered, the following action
should be taken:
• Isolate infested material from non-infested material immediately. If
in doubt, treat all material as if affected.
• Take books and papers from shelves and thoroughly dust them,
preferably outside. Brush book gutters carefully, page by page, to
remove hidden eggs. Remove and brush book jackets and plastic covers.
If this is done indoors, brush onto waste paper and then bag and
discard the waste.
• Move or dismantle shelves and carefully dust and vacuum the site,
including under rugs and carpets.
• Only reshelve books after thorough checking and cleaning.
Insecticides and mothballs are not recommended, as they can have
harmful effects on human health as well as on books and papers. It
should also be remembered that insecticides have little effect on
insect eggs, which may hatch weeks after sprays have ceased to be
effective. However, if the infestation persists a professional pest
control company should be contacted.”

Radio Frequency:
“The possibilities for radio-frequency insect pest control are
enormous. Radio-frequency insect pest control can be used to manage
insect infestations in libraries books, vellum books, papers and
documents, archives papers and documents, museum collections antique
textiles, oriental rugs, furniture as well as stored spices, nuts and
milled grains. It may be a solution to the problem of finding
suitable, safe and effective alternatives to fumigation libraries
books and documents. For a pesticide to be effective it must be toxic
so at some point the residual effects will be harmful to an innocent
species. Absolutely no chemicals are used by Midwest Freeze-Dry
during treatment in the radio frequency field.”

I suggest you call the local library and ask who they would recommend
to deinfest your books. Library archivists are pros in book
restoration and will more than likely have some good ideas. Before
spending large amounts of money though, be sure you actually have
bookbugs, er, bedbugs!

If any part of my answer is unclear, please request an Answer
Clarification, before rating, and I will be happy to respond.

Sincerely, Crabcakes

Search Terms
Book preservation + insects
Book preservation + bedbugs
Bedbugs + books + removal
bedbugs feed on
Microwaving books + bugs
bedbugs feed on + books
Bedbugs feed on
Freezing books + bugs
RF + books + insects

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