Bed Bugs Found in Library Books
by Michael R. Linford, Ph.D.
February 22, 2018
Visit just about any hotel and open the night stand. You’ll most likely find a copy of Gideon’s Bible or perhaps an increasingly-archaic phone book. I’ve been telling people for years that we find bed bugs infesting books—between pages and along the spine. Heat is an effective treatment for insects in books and other hard-to-treat locations. In these conversations, one of the most-often asked questions is, “But won’t the books and paper catch on fire?”
The short answer is a resounding No.
One of our clients, Angel Rivera at the Florida Bed Bug Experts, tipped me off to a recent bed bug infestation at the Brandon Regional Library where the news station interviewed them on the efficacy of heat.
Heat Treatments are Safe for Books
According to an article on Physical Constants for Investigators reprinted from Firepoint - Journal of Australian Fire Investigators by Tony Cafe, the autoignition point—the so-called flash point—of paper is 218°C-246°C, which corresponds to 424°F-474°F. Mr. Cafe has twenty years’ experience as a fire scene forensic examiner and has conducted more than 1500 fire scene examinations. When conducted properly, GreenTech Heat equipment raises the ambient air to a maximum of 180°F in the treatment area. Even at full-throttle, our Titan 800 does not produce more than 250°F at the barrel.
Books Are Treatable—It Just Takes Time
Heat can successfully eliminate bed bug infestations in many places chemicals cannot reach, such as between the sheets of a closed book. If we can successfully heat the interior of a 12' long 4"x12" wooden beam to 140°F, we can raise the temperature within a closed book to levels lethal to insects. Books, like wooden structural members, just take time and energy. Temperature measurement is key.
When treating books, place a temperature probe in the center of the largest, thickest closed book where there will be no direct air contact. Once this hard-to-heat probe reaches lethal temperatures, maintain temperature levels for two hours and you can be assured all the bed bugs harboraging in the books will be dead. Heat makes an excellent addition to any bed bug treatment regimen and often is the most broadly-effective modality killing all life cycles including eggs.
GreenTech Heat provides 24/7 technical support to our clients and extensive presale support to future clients. Your success is the only true measure of our success. As always, please feel free to contact us at 855-GTH-BUGS (855-484-2847) ext 2 with any specific questions you may have.