Bedbug FAQs

Bedbugs are a growing concern in the Lower Mainland, affecting public spaces, hotels and private homes. As many readers are already aware, the Cameron Branch of Burnaby Public Library closed for two days in October order to allow us to treat the facility for bedbugs. This was in addition to an earlier bedbug incident at the Bob Prittie Metrotown Branch in September, where books were removed and treated and affected areas steam cleaned.

The following FAQs are in response to the most common questions we've had from patrons.

How are you addressing bedbugs at BPL?

All four branches of Burnaby Public Library have been inspected by a pest control company. A detection dog visits each site, sniffing for bedbugs throughout the facility. If bedbugs are found, affected books are removed from the collection and heat treated by the pest control company. Surrounding shelves are also treated, as well as furnishings. When books and other materials from the affected areas are returned to the library, they are immediately sealed and removed from the library and are also treated.

What should I do if I find a bedbug in a library book?

You should seal the book or other library material in a plastic bag immediately. If you don't have a resealable plastic bag at home, secure the bag as tightly as possible with a twist tie. Please return the item to us in the sealed or well secured bag. Please notify library staff of the problem when you return the item. Books and other materials will be treated or discarded at our discretion. You should not attempt to heat treat or otherwise treat library materials yourself.

Can’t I just heat my library books in the oven? I’ve checked and there are sites on the Internet that say that works just fine.

Both pest control professionals and fire departments caution against heating books in an oven. From the pest control perspective, in order to kill bugs and/or eggs, the core of the book must be at 130°F for three hours, which would require much longer than just three hours. There is also the problem of uncertain heat circulation and temperature control. Fire departments don’t recommend heating books in an oven because the books could burn and cause a fire.

What if bed bugs are found in my home?

Let library staff know so they can check items you have borrowed when they are returned. This information will be kept confidential. Return the items to the library in a sealed plastic bag. If you don't have a re-sealable plastic bag at home, secure the bag as tightly as possible with a twist tie, then put a second bag around the item and secure it.

What do bedbugs look like?

The New York City Department of Health website includes a helpful guide to identifying bedbugs. The website also includes a PDF in multiple languages to help residents identify three common pests: bedbugs, cockroaches and carpet beetles, which may be confused with bedbugs.

Where can I learn more about bedbugs?

Excellent information on bedbugs, including more information on how to identify and prevent them, is available from the Vancouver Coastal Health website, from HealthLink BC and from the BC Ministry of Health. You can also call the Burnaby Public Health Unit at 604-918-7605.