Windsor

Bedbugs close 14 branches of Essex County Library

An entire public library system in southwestern Ontario has been closed down after staff found bedbugs at its Leamington branch.

'As a proactive measure, we arranged for a site inspection of all branch locations,' library system says

Bedbugs, such as this one at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, are wingless, reddish-brown, blood-sucking insects that are oval shaped and resemble an apple seed. The pesky bugs have been found in The Essex County Library system. (Carolyn Kaster/The Associated Press)

An entire public library system in southwestern Ontario has been closed down because of bedbugs.

The Essex County Library system, which serves several rural municipalities surrounding Windsor, said late Monday staff found bedbugs at its Leamington branch.

The Essex County Library said on its website it would close all 14 branches "in order to fully assess the issues."

"As a proactive measure, we arranged for a site inspection of all branch locations," the library said in the online post.

Leamington Deputy Mayor Hilda MacDonald said in on the library's Facebook page that bedbugs were "also in other branches, not just Leamington."

In his own reply on the same post, Mayor John Paterson said bedbugs were also found at the Lakeshore and Kingsville branches. Calls to The Essex County Library were not immediately returned.

The library was quick to note online that bedbugs "are not a public health concern."

Here are more details about the pesky bugs, which are more commonly the scourge of schools:

  • Wingless, reddish-brown, blood-sucking insects that are oval shaped and look somewhat like an apple seed.
  • Live four months to one year.
  • Can survive for long periods without a blood meal.
  • Eggs are whitish, pear-shaped and approximately the size of a pinhead.

"They do not carry disease or viruses. They are classified a 'nuisance' by public health officials," the library's online statement reads. "However, to reduce the spread of the insects, we are taking proactive steps to limit their spread."

The library does not want its members to return borrowed materials to the library — yet.

Anyone who has concerns about borrowed material is asked to put it in a sealable freezer bag.

The library will not issue late charges while the branches are closed.

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