Pest Prevention

Since 2015, the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library has a rigorous pest control protocol in place that includes regular inspections of the library and bookmobiles and the materials used by the public. Our staff is trained to identify pests including bed bugs, cockroaches, rodents etc. that are transmitted by the public.

What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs (cimex lectularius) are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of humans and animals while they sleep. They are reddish-brown in color, wingless and can live for several months without a blood meal.

Do bed bugs spread disease?
Bed bugs should not be considered a medical or a public health hazard. They are not known to spread disease, but can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep.

What health risks do bed bugs pose?
A bed bug bite affects each person differently. Bite responses can range from an absence of any physical signs of the bite, to a small bite mark, to a serious allergic reaction. Bed bugs are not considered to be dangerous; however, an allergic reaction to several bites may need medical attention.

How did I get bed bugs?
Bed bugs are experts at hiding and are usually transported from place to place as people travel. They travel in seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes and anywhere else they can find to hide. Often people do not realize they are transporting bed bugs with them. (Source:

What are signs of bed bug infestation?
One of the easiest ways to identify bed bug infestation is by the telltale bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body part while sleeping. However, these bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area.

These signs include:

  • bed bugs’ exoskeletons after molting
  • bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets
  • rusty-colored blood spots due to their blood-filled fecal material that they excrete on the mattress or nearby furniture
  • a sweet musty odor

How are bed bugs treated and prevented?
Bed bug infestations are commonly treated by insecticide spraying, fumigation, heat and steam. If you suspect you have bed bugs contact your landlord or professional pest control company that is experienced with treating bed bugs. The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspection for signs of an infestation.