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Bedbug Infestation Forces Closure of Library in Suburban Detroit

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The Association Press (AP) and ABC-7 in Detroit are reporting today (Friday, June 13, 2014) that the City of Warren closed the Miller branch of the Warren Public Library. Warren is a suburb of Detroit. A small city in its own right with a population of approximately 134,000, it is the Detroit’s biggest suburb and the third-largest municipality in Michigan.

Warren is home to the U.S. Army’s Detroit Arsenal. A number of corporations and one GM division are also headquartered in town.

On Saturday, an inspection of the Arthur Miller Branch Library turned up a single bedbug. This led to the discovery of an infestation.

To prevent the infestation from spreading, the Miller Branch closed Thursday. The central library, known as the Civic Center Library, and the other two branches – the Maybelle Burnette Branch and the Dorothy Busch Branch – remain open.

As a precautionary measure, Mayor James R. Fouts has banned the Warren Public Library from accepting donations of second-hand books because bedbugs can enter libraries inside books. W.P.L. staff members are undergoing training to recognize bedbugs and to carefully inspect books as patrons return them.

All three branches closed for budgetary reasons on July 1, 2010. The W.P.L. was supported exclusively through a library millage that had not raised since 1957, when it was set at .5 mills, and had actually been lowered to .4873 mills. On August 3, 2010, voters approved a higher millage and the three branches re-opened later that month.

In a press release dated Thursday, June 12, 2014, the City of Warren stated, “Warren has taken emergency preventive actions to stop the spread of bedbug infestation after the Miller Branch was closed…”

No date has been set for re-opening the Miller Branch…

After an insect that resembled a bedbug was found at the Miller Branch last Saturday, Mayor Jim Fouts immediately signed an emergency purchase order to hire Griffin Pest Control to inspect the Miller Branch for possible infestation. The inspection confirmed that the insect in question was a bedbug.

Bedbug-sniffing dogs were then brought in by their handler to search the library for the possible presence of additional bedbugs. The highly-trained dogs alerted the handler by sitting down when they found a ‘hot spot’ which alerts the handler to the possible presence of live/dead bedbugs, their eggs, and/or larvae. Heat and chemical treatments have been scheduled for the Miller Branch to exterminate any possible presence of these pests.

On Wednesday, the Warren Civic Library Branch – located in City Hall performed an inspection of that branch by engaging the bedbug-sniffing canine team. During the inspection, the dogs alerted the handler to several areas of the library, including several chairs. While no live or dead bedbugs were found, items that the dogs found have been quarantined, and they will be heat treated for 3-4 hours at a temperature of 135 degrees by the pest control company.

The library staff is being trained to recognize bedbugs, and staff will be instructed to carefully inspect items for possible infestation when they are returned to the library. If there is evidence of infestation, the item will be quarantined and disposed of or treated.

Additionally, the library is implementing a preventive strategy by developing policies and procedures which will include a thorough inspection policy.

In the press release, the City of Warren stated, “Mayor Fouts said he has prohibited any donation of used books to the branch libraries because ‘bedbugs often hide in used books.’”

“I am also directing the library staff to be on the alert for visitors who might have bedbugs on them,” stated Fouts.

He praised Library Director Oksana Urban and the library staff for taking immediate corrective action on the bedbug infestation. “They nipped the problem at its bud,” Fouts stated.

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