Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, a Cornell University entomologist and New York state Integrated Pest Management Program field expert, said since bed bugs are transported by humans, on belongings and clothes, it made sense borrowed books could be a method or vehicle of bed bug movement.
"Bed bugs will not stay on books on the shelf for very long -- they need to be around their host -- so the most vulnerable time for a book to have bed bugs is when they are returned to the library from a bed bug-infested home or area," Gangloff-Kaufmann said in a statement. "A simple inspection of the cover, the spine and edges of pages would be sufficient to make sure a book was not carrying a bed bug."
However, if a librarian or borrower suspected a book was infected with bed bugs, Gangloff-Kaufmann has some advice.
"Place the book in a Ziploc bag of the appropriate size and put it aside or return the item to the library and have the librarian put it aside," she said. "Eventually, and by that I mean within one to two weeks or sooner, bed bugs hiding in the book will start wandering around the bag looking for a way out. The eggs would have hatched. Keeping the item in a warm, sunny area -- as opposed to a cool, dark area -- will speed up their death from dehydration."