Saturday, October 20 , 2018, 9:12 am | Fair 69º


Bedbugs Found in Santa Maria Public Library Computer Room Force Short Closure for Cleaning

Pests appear limited to the one room, where carpet was cleaned and upholstered chairs were discarded

Bedbugs were found in the computer room of the Santa Maria Public Library this week, but appeared to be limited to that spot, according to an inspection of the facility.

“We feel pretty confident it was just in one room,” Librarian Mary Housel said.

A customer complained Monday about receiving an insect bite while in the library’s computer room located on the first floor. 

City staff found bedbugs under one chair, which was covered in upholstery. That chair and others like it in the room were discarded.

Bedbugs, known by their scientific name of cimex lectularius, are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed on the blood of people and animals while they sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The bugs are reddish-brown, wingless and can live several months without a blood meal. They range in size from 1mm to 7mm, or approximately the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny, the CDC said.

Found across the globe, bedbugs’ presence does not equate to cleanliness, with the pest even discovered in five-star hotels and resorts.

Professional exterminators inspected the entire two-story library building to determine the extent of the infestation, Housel said.

“They checked the whole library and they didn’t find bedbugs in any other area,” Housel said, adding the bedbugs were found before it became a bigger problem.

“Any chair that had upholstery on it was inspected,” Housel said.

The computer room was treated and the carpet underwent steam cleaning. The computer room does not have any books in it, just computers, chairs and tables, she said.

The computer room will reopen Wednesday morning. 

Libraries and other public buildings across the nation have had to deal with infestations of bedbugs requiring treatment and the Environmental Protection Agency has recommended steps to take to protect yourself while in public places.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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