VENTNOR – The Ventnor Library and Cultural Arts Center reopened Wednesday, Aug. 8 after bedbugs discovered in the building were exterminated.
The building was closed Tuesday morning after bedbugs were found hiding in the furniture in the library. It reopened Tuesday morning at the regular time after a specially trained bedbug sniffing dog cleared the building of the nasty critters.
The city hired a pest control company at a cost of $1,800 to exterminate the building after the Atlantic County Public Works Department removed the furniture and disposed of it at the Atlantic County Utilities Authority.
The dog, a Dachshund named Bo, and his handler confirmed at 7:30 a.m. that there were no more bedbugs in the building, according to City Administrator Maria Mento.
“No more cloth chairs,” she said.
Mento said the exterminator would install 24 pitfall monitors, which take advantage of the bedbug’s natural inclination to craw vertically on surfaces. Apparently, the traps contain a lure that mimics human scent to attract them to the trap.
The company will continue to monitor the building and inspect for the next six weeks at an additional cost of $650, Mento said.
Although the building has been cleared, bedbugs were also found in the metal book drop outside the building, Mayor Beth Holtzman said.
“That’s were people drop off books after hours,” she said. “Apparently, people are transporting the bedbugs in their books.”
Books that were in the bin were wrapped in plastic and removed by the county, Holtzman said.
The county will pay $774 to get a ZappBug oven, which can be used to kill any bugs and their eggs that are found in the bin.
“I asked the inspector to go to every bookshelf in the library to see if there were any bedbugs on the shelves, but they found nothing,” Holtzman said.
Library staff will be trained on how to use the bug zapper, which heats surfaces to above 120 degrees Fahrenheit and kills the bedbugs and their eggs within minutes, Holtzman said.
According to Atlantic County spokeswoman Linda Gilmore, the drop box will not be used. Patrons are asked to either delay in returning their books during which time fees will be waived Aug. 8-11 or if returning in person, to do so by providing books or materials in sealed bags.
“These materials will be properly scanned and treated before being returned to the shelves,” Gilmore said in an email.
“Meanwhile the library remains open for business. We appreciate the cooperation of our patrons and are working to minimize the inconvenience to the public,” she said.
Common bedbugs are great hitchhikers and often get into bookbags and luggage traveling from one infested area to another. They are not known to transmit diseases, but they can bite as they are attracted to human blood.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, victims can get allergic reactions to bites, which can sometime be severe and cause secondary infections.
According to the EPA website, “Experts believe the recent increase in bed bugs in the United States may be due to more travel, lack of knowledge about preventing infestations, increased resistance of bed bugs to pesticides, and ineffective pest control practices.”
For more information about how to prevent an infestation in your home, see www.epa.gov/bedbugs/top-ten-tips-prevent-or-control-bed-bugs.