Bedbug-sniffing Drax clears Caroline libraries to reopen
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.