The North Platte Library was closed Thursday night after bedbugs were found on “a couple chairs,” Mayor Dwight Livingston announced Friday morning. The library will remain closed until Tuesday for cleaning and inspection. He said the infestation is isolated.
Livingston said the city is working with extermination experts who have dealt with similar situations in the past.
He said the experts “assure us the problem can be taken care of with their proposed plan of action.”
The chairs were removed.
Livingston apologized for any inconveniences.
“We want to make sure that every precaution is taken to protect our patrons and employees,” he said.
Bedbugs are all too common. They were found in October at the Liberty House, a North Platte home for people with emotional and behavioral disabilities. A few months later, they were found at a motel on the north side.
Both times, Public Transit Director Marilee Hyde ordered bus drivers to stop picking up passengers from those places. Efforts were doubled to exterminate them in those places.
Hyde said Friday that the city buses are inspected nightly to be sure there are no bugs aboard.
"We have the right equipment to be sure," Hyde said. "We hang up a 'bug bar' each night that attracts any bugs that are there. If we ever find any, the bus is fumigated immediately."
Liberty House owner John Pinkerton suspected bedbugs migrated there in January on former residents of the Pawnee Hotel. Several residents moved out of the Pawnee during the winter of 2012-13 when the main boilers quit working. The Pawnee closed a couple months later. It had bedbugs during its final weeks, according to several people, but director Sandy Schade said then that the bugs were confined to a handful of rooms and were being exterminated.
Bedbugs have also shown up at times in hospitals in Omaha and a few years ago appeared in University of Nebraska dormitories.
"You can't mess around with them," Hyde said. "You have to bring in a professional. If they get in the walls of the building, you really have a hard time getting rid of them."
Bedbugs are small, oval and brownish and live on the blood of animals or humans. Adults have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control.
Bedbugs can move quickly over floors, walls and ceilings, but they do not fly. Females may lay hundreds of eggs, each about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime of several weeks, the CDC says.
Immature bedbugs, called nymphs, shed skins five times before reaching maturity and require a meal of blood before each shedding. Under favorable conditions, the bugs can develop fully in as little as a month and produce three or more generations per year.
Bedbugs are active mainly at night and usually bite people while they are sleeping. The bites are painless at first but later turn into itchy welts.
Cleaning infested areas will be very helpful in controlling bedbugs, but getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments.
“Generally it is safest and most effective to hire an experienced pest control professional for bedbug extermination,” the CDC says.