Library Brings in Company, Dogs to Sniff Out Bedbugs

At 6 a.m. Monday morning, a Jack Russel Terrier entered the Thompson Library with a mission: To seek out any potential bed bugs or their eggs that may be residing in the library.

The dog, which was accompanied by a handler, spent two hours walking around the building.  The handler carried a small vile containing live bed bugs used to give the dog motivation to find all affected areas, with the help of some treats.

Recently, bedbugs and their eggs had been found in a library chair by a facilities employee. The chair was immediately taken out of the library, the area was taped off, and Rose Pest Solutions was called. Since the search, several more chairs were identified as being potentially infested.

“The dog identified 5 different chairs that are potentially contaminated on the third floor, but not where the previous chair was found,” said Robert Houbeck, the library’s director.

Houbeck explained that the chairs were immediately removed and isolated.

“The university’s facilities will spray them with chemicals, then apply heat treatment. From there, they will inspect to see if there are bugs or eggs inside the cushions,” Houbeck said.

Houbeck explained that in order to prevent this from happening in the future, the university is working out a deal with Rose Pest Solutions where they would do a routine walk through with a dog every six months. In between those months, facilities would spray areas where bedbugs could potentially be nesting, Houbeck shared.

The cost of having the dogs come, $500 per visit, “is well worth it,” Houbeck said. While this process has yet to be approved by university officials, Houbeck, “believes this is a step in the right direction.”

Despite the preventative measures, some students are still less than thrilled to find out bed bugs were in the library.

Nickxit Bhardwaj, a junior, called the situation, “unhygienic.”

“Honestly, I used to be at the library a lot and now I am just skeptical about going there every time,” said Bhardwaj.

Junior Emily Kraniak agrees.

“I think it’s disturbing that we’re just now finding out about the incidents instead of being warned about it when the university initially found out about the bed bug problem,” said Kraniak. “I’ve only seen articles written by other people on Facebook and what not, and some people don’t use those platforms, so there still could be students who aren’t aware of the incidents.”

Since the original incident, no emails or official statements had been sent to students informing them of the library’s pest issue until yesterday, when the library addressed it over a Facebook post.

Houbeck commented on how quickly the story spread, saying, “it happened much quicker than we expected. Everyone is connected, through Facebook and social media.”

Houbeck said the situation is, “a learning experience” for all involved.

“As an educational institution, we have an opportunity here to teach students both in and out of the classroom. We need to share how we handle not just situations such as these, but any issues that may arise that could concern students. This could give them an example to look back on if they ever find themselves in a similar future situation,” said Houbeck.