Brandon library closed for bed bug removal

- One Hillsborough County library has bigger problems than overdue books. Bed bugs were discovered at the facility Tuesday morning.

Tuesday morning before the branch opened at 10 a.m., staffers found the bloodsucking critters nestled between the pages of several books recently returned to Brandon Regional Library. 

Those books were immediately thrown out.

Workers say they thoroughly inspect every item before it goes back on the shelves.

In this case, officials tell FOX 13 News the bugs likely came from one patron who has an infestation at home. 

Pest specialist Connor Keller with Insect IQ says bed bugs are still a huge problem.

“I’m probably doing six to 12 jobs a week, everything from residential houses, to apartments, to government facilities, doctors’ offices, hospitals, you name it and bed bugs are showing up in it,” he said.

Keller says the insects are great hitchhikers. They crawl into bags, onto clothes, and even inside books that people unknowingly carry around. 

Adult bed bugs are smaller than an apple seed, so they’re easy to miss.

“They come out at night when you’re sleeping, they’re attracted to your carbon dioxide output and your heat you generate while you sleep,” said Keller.

The branch isn’t taking any chances. The library is closed while the building is inspected and heat treated to ensure any bed bugs still inside are killed.

The Director of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library, Andrew Breidenbaugh released a statement:

“The safety and comfort of our library customers and our staff are our top priorities. All Tampa-Hillsborough County libraries are routinely inspected and treated monthly by a professional pest control company, and all materials that come into the libraries are examined for signs of pests and various types of other damage. As soon as staff at the Brandon Regional Library discovered a few insects in recently-returned books, they immediately took steps to notify the pest control company, which confirmed the insects were bed bugs, and the decision was made not to open the library for business. Although the books were in a workroom, the company will be treating the entire building with a heat remediation method that is safe, clean, and highly effective. We're looking forward to reopening the building later this week and getting back to providing services to the many residents who depend on us.”

It's an inconvenient shutdown for some avid readers, regular patrons, and scholarly students. But it's worth it to make sure the bed bugs don’t spread.

The Brandon Regional Library is set to reopen Friday.

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