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Bed bugs check out of Oshawa library

By Geoff Zochodne/The Oshawa Express

Multiple bed bug sightings at the Oshawa Public Library (OPL) are forcing it to take new measures to eradicate the insects.

The OPL partnered with the Region of Durham’s Health Department earlier in the year to develop a pre-emptive Bed Bug Protocol, “which outlines our procedure for bed bug prevention, identification and treatment this year,” says a release from the library. Bed bugs had previously been spotted in the Hamilton, Toronto and Windsor public libraries, prompting the protocol’s creation.  

Under the new set of rules, a bed bug sniffing dog was brought into the library branches in October and identified a wall of books at the Northview branch and two chairs at the Legends branch of the OPL that contained bed bugs. The areas were then treated and cleared of the insects.

On November 15, a bed bug sighting was made in the McLaughlin Branch, in the McLaughlin room of the library. The room was closed down and was treated. Though the bugs were found on a pair of chairs, the entire room was fumigated.

“In this case we followed the protocol but we went a little further,” says Margaret Wallace, manager of customer and circulation services at the OPL. “We thought we would treat the whole room.”

A follow-up by the exterminator, which the library has a service contract with, found no trace of bed bugs, notes Wallace. The McLaughlin room was reopened on November 22.

The Durham health department gave a seminar to OPL workers recently to help them in identifying bed bugs. Yet under the health department’s criteria, bed bugs don’t qualify as a public health risk.

“It should be noted that according to the Region of Durham Health Department, that while Bed Bugs are a significant social problem, they do not transmit disease to humans and are therefore, not a health hazard,” says a release from the library.

In his case though, the library eventually went public with the bed bug sightings.

“We don’t have to do this process the way we’re doing it,” says Wallace.

Bed bugs can live inside library books, though their appearances in libraries aren’t common, she says. Library patrons are being asked to report any bed bug sightings to library staff.

Wallace and the OPL are hoping if more people are aware, any future problems can be headed off.

“As human beings, we don’t want to take them (bed bugs) home, and we know our customers don’t want to take them home,” she says.  

The OPL’s bed bug protocols can be viewed on its website, at

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