Bed­bug-sniff­ing Drax clears Caro­line li­braries to re­open

Times-Record - - NEWS - By JACK RODGERS jrodgers@ches­ As­so­ciate Edi­tor Tr­ish McGee at the Kent County News con­trib­uted re­port­ing to this story.

FED­ER­ALS­BURG — Caro­line County Pub­lic Li­braries an­nounced in a news re­lease Thurs­day, Nov. 1, that all fa­cil­i­ties were op­er­at­ing on nor­mal sched­ules.

Drax, a bed­bug-de­tect­ing dog who iden­ti­fied a few sus­pi­cious ar­eas in fa­cil­i­ties last week, re-en­tered fa­cil­i­ties Thurs­day, Nov. 1, and con­firmed the ar­eas were free of pests.

“Drax gave all three lo­ca­tions ‘two paws up’ as of noon to­day,” the re­lease states.

Di­rec­tor Debby Ben­nett said the li­braries were treated with heat, to en­sure the de­struc­tion of bugs, with­out the risk of chem­i­cals harm­ing pa­trons or ma­te­ri­als.

“With heat treat­ment and ver­i­fi­ca­tion of the ef­fec­tive­ness of the treat­ment, we have taken ev­ery pre­cau­tion to en­sure that our col­lec­tion is safe and that our li­brary lo­ca­tions are free of bed­bugs,” Ben­nett said. “As this is­sue con­tin­ues to arise in ho­tels, homes, li­braries and other pub­lic spa­ces, we will re­main vig­i­lant.”

Ben­nett said staff has been trained to rec­og­nize signs of bed­bugs and will con­tinue in­spect­ing ma­te­ri­als re­turned to the li­brary for the pests.

All late fees will be waived from the time of the li­braries’ clo­sures, the re­lease states.

With Eastern Shore li­braries re­cently ex­pe­ri­enc­ing prob­lems with the pests, in­clud­ing the clo­sure of Dorch­ester County’s Cam­bridge fa­cil­ity ear­lier in the month, the Caro­line County Pub­lic Li­braries held K-9 in­spec­tions Oct. 25.

Ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can Li­brary As­so­ci­a­tion, bed bugs are a grow­ing prob­lem na­tion­wide. While the pests do not trans­mit dis­eases, they can be found in nearly any pub­lic space.

At the Dorch­ester County Cam­bridge branch of pub­lic li­braries, the bugs were found in a few sep­a­rate lo­ca­tions, ac­cord­ing to Di­rec­tor Frances Cress­well.

The Ch­ester­town branch of Kent County’s pub­lic li­braries treated their fa­cil­i­ties Oct. 25, but were open in time for early vot­ing polls at 10 a.m. The treat­ment the Ch­ester­town fa­cil­ity re­ceived also was proac­tive, Di­rec­tor Jackie Adams said.

“For all in­tents and pur­poses, we are bed bug free,” Adams said Oct. 24. “We’re go­ing above and be­yond be­cause we un­der­stand the pub­lic’s con­cern and be­cause we want the li­brary to be a safe, open and wel­com­ing build­ing.”

Adams said this is the first in­ci­dence of a bed bug in­fes­ta­tion in her time as di­rec­tor, span­ning sev­en­plus years.

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