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BROWARD (CBSMiami) – A librarian turned a dead bolt on the front door of the Ethel Gordon library in Oakland Park Tuesday at noon, threw open the door and exclaimed, “Hi, come one in, we’re open and ready for business!”

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The library had been closed for five days.  You would expect to find bookworms in a library, but not bedbugs.  But that’s what closed the library last Thursday; blood-sucking bedbugs with faces only a mother could love.

“We had one patron in the computer area come tell us that he was itching as he sat in the chair over there,” said Library Director Heidi Burnett.

A city inspector quickly found bedbugs in the library chairs upholstery.

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How did they get there?

“Bed bugs typically are brought in on people.  They’re hitchhikers,” said Bill Robles, owner of AAA Pest Control, called in to corral the creepy critters.  “They’ll get on furniture, they’ll get on people’s clothing.”

It’s believed someone brought them on their clothes or in a book bag or a book to the library.  It was immediately shut down for treatment.  Signs on the door warning, “Danger, Peligro – Deadly Poison.”

Bedbugs typically are treated with insecticide dust or spray, but in the case of the library, no page was left unturned.  AAA Pest Control covered the entire building with a tent and pumped it full of deadly gas that left nothing alive.

For good measure, the upholstered chairs were replaced.

But might someone recently have checked out more than books?

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John Salmo, a regular in the stacks, was checking out some books Tuesday and wasn’t worried that he might have taken vermin home with him during several visits to the library last week.

“No, it doesn’t bother me.  I know how to get rid of them,” Salmo said.

Actually it can be tough getting rid of the noxious nits, even finding them.  There are bedbug blood hounds that are sometimes employed to sniff them out.  The hope is the little buggers didn’t leave the library.  Burnett called it an unprecedented infestation.

“This is it, and I’ve been a librarian my entire adult life,” Burnett said, chuckling.  “I hope this is the only one.”

AAA Pest Control guarantees its extermination – that cost the city $6,800 – for only two months.  The reason?

“Bedbugs travel,” said owner Robles.  “Someone could easily come back into the library with bedbugs on their clothing or in a book.”

It would have to be bedbugs – plural – given that it takes two to tango.

“They start laying eggs and multiply and do what bugs do,” Robles said.

If you find yourself itching at home, pest controllers say you should examine the creases along the bindings of your mattress where bedbugs tend to hang out when they’re not biting you.  You should also check around and under the cushions of your upholstered furniture.

It is important to call a reputable exterminator quickly, because the infestation can quickly spread to every material crevice in the home, including the clothing in your closets and drawers.

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