Bed Bugs in Books: A Complete Guide on How to Treat Books for Bed Bugs

Bed bugs in books: how to treat your books for bed bugs. If you are dealing with an active bed bug infestation, there might be a good chance that the bugs made their way to your books. Books are one of the common bed bug hiding places.

If you think that your books might be infested with bed bugs, then there are a few important things that you can do to try and get rid of the problem. First of all, you will need to inspect your books for any signs of bed bugs.

Look for tiny black spots on pages or covers of the book, which are actually bed bug droppings. Then thoroughly examine each book’s binding to check if you see a bed bug hiding on the side.

How to Treat Books for Bed Bugs

Treating bugs with heat is the only 100% way to ensure your books are safe, even if you don’t see bugs on your books. Using a heater for bed bugs will allow you to treat all your books safely inside a chamber.

In more detail, we will cover what to do about bed bugs in the books below.

Reasons Why You Might Find Bed Bugs in Your Books

First, let’s talk about why you might find bed bugs in your books. Remember that not everyone reacts to bed bug bites, so your friends may not even know they have a bed bug issue.

If you are anxious about picking up bed bugs in books, it’s a good idea to heat treat all books in one of the portable bed bug heating chambers like the Thermal Strike. I use my Thermal Strike weekly, giving me peace of mind.

  • Bed bugs like to congregate in dark cracks and crevices. A book is the perfect harborage spot for a bed bug. If you read in bed and place the book down, a bed bug may crawl into the book to hide.

  • A likely cause of bed bugs on a bookshelf is when you place the book you read in bed back on your bookshelf. There is a possibility that you are putting a book on your shelf that has bed bugs.

  • You brought a book home from the library with a bed bug inside. This is a common reason why someone may have found one bed bug in a random place but can’t find more.

  • If you place your book bag down at school, a bed bug can crawl into it. A bed bug can easily crawl from another student onto your book bag.

  • Perhaps you slept over at a friend’s house and borrowed a book. If they unknowingly have a bed bug issue, the book you borrowed may have a bed bug hiding inside.

  • If you read in bed at a hotel, then there is a chance that you will pick up a wandering bed bug.

Can Bed Bugs Live in Books?

Can bed bugs live in books

Yes, bed bugs can live in books. They can live in the book’s spine, between the pages, or on the cover. If you have a bed bug infestation, then it is likely that they are living not only in your bed but in your bedroom furniture and belongings.

Bed bugs love to come out at night to bite you while you sleep. So if you want to try to catch one, it’s best to check your bed between 11 pm, and 4 am. We suggest you study bed bug pictures to help you identify what they look like.

If you have a lot of books around your bed, then there is a good chance of bed bugs in your books.

During the day, they will hide in small spaces around your room. These cracks and crevices can include hiding inside books.

Books are one way you can transfer a bed bug from one room to another. We cover how fast bed bugs spread and answer “Can bed bugs be isolated to one room?” here.

Do Bed Bugs Hide in Books?

Yes, as we mentioned above, a bed bug can easily hide in a book. Library books are at high risk for bed bugs because they go in and out of people’s homes. It’s common for people to read in bed; therefore, the chances of transferring a bed bug from a book to your home are high.

Another reason why bed bugs hide in books is because we read in bed. Often we will fall asleep reading, leaving the book as a good hiding spot. After a bed bug feeds on you for up to 15 minutes, it will crawl away and look for a dark crevice to squeeze into. If a book is sitting in its path, it may just decide to stop and harbor inside the book.

Can Bed Bugs Live on Paper?

Bed bugs can easily live on paper, especially if it’s a book, where they can hide between the pages away from the light. During the day, bed bugs do not like to be disturbed by light; they are nocturnal.

Being nocturnal means they are active at night and prefer to do all their blood-sucking at night. However, remember that this does not mean they will exclusively feed at night. A bed bug will also provide in the daytime if they do not have a blood source close by at night.

How to Treat Books for Bed Bugs?

There are many ways you can treat books for bed bugs. Below we will cover some of the more common ways you can treat your books for bed bugs. We will also mention various scenarios and which scenario would be better for each method.

bed bugs in books- what to do

Option 1: Heat Treatment

Heat treatment is one of the most common and effective ways to treat books for bed bugs. You can use a portable bed bug heater like the ThermalStrike Ranger or the ZappBUG Oven 2.0 to heat treat your belongings and kill all life stages of bed bugs, including eggs.

I personally use the ThermalStrike for any books that I bring into my home. Even if I buy a brand new book, I will still put it through my bed bug heater.

A heat chamber will be the best option for you if you have a lot of books. It will take some time to heat treat your belongings, but it will be worth it in the long run.

This method is also excellent because you can use it on other items in your home, like clothing, shoes, and blankets. Just knowing that you have the ThermalStrike will allow you to have some peace of mind.

Option 2: Freezing

Another popular method for treating bed bugs is by freezing. You can use a professional company that does Cryonite freezing to kill all life stages of bed bugs, including eggs. However, some people opt to place things in a regular food freezer.

According to the “Guidelines for Prevention and Management of Bed Bugs in Shelters and Group Living Facilities” by Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann and Cathy Pichler, New York State IPM Program, Cornell University, some bugs can recover from being frozen in a household freezer.

A household freezer will not shock the bed bugs system enough to kill them instantly. Instead, it brings the internal temperature of each bug down slowly, which can, in turn, allow the bugs to wake from freezing.

However, to kill bed bugs with a freezer, you must quickly freeze them at an extreme temperature. This quick temperature shock is precisely what Cryonite does.

Option 3: Pesticides

You can also treat your books for bed bugs with pesticides. Many different pesticides on the market will kill bed bugs. You will want to make sure you choose a pesticide specifically designed to kill bed bugs and safe to use around children and pets.

One of the most popular pesticides for bed bugs is Crossfire. This pesticide is liquid and can be sprayed directly onto bed bugs and their eggs. You need a pest control license to purchase Crossfire in many districts.

Keep in mind that unless you are a licensed pest management person, you shouldn’t try to treat bed bugs with pesticides. You can worsen the problem by causing the bed bug population to scatter and become resistant to the chemicals.

Option 4: Hiring a Professional

If you have bed bugs in your home, you may want to consider hiring a professional to eliminate them. An experienced expert who uses an integrated pest management plan can quickly and effectively eliminate all of the bed bugs in your home.

A licensed pest management company will also give you the best advice on how to treat your books. Many companies will use the low prep method, so you do not have to bag all of your books.

How to Make Sure There Are No Bed Bugs in Your Library Books

How common are bed bugs in library books anyway? From my professional experience, I would say they are relatively common. Think about it; you are borrowing a book other people took into their bed.

If you check out some books that are unknowingly infested with bed bugs, you can accidentally get bed bugs in your car too. It would be best to place any library books into a plastic bag before setting them down on your car seat.

You’ll need to place the book into a  heater for bed bugs when you get home. These portable heat chambers will kill any bed bugs or bed bug eggs that may be within the pages of your library book.

If you don’t want to purchase a bed bug heater, you’ll need to inspect each page of the book for signs of bed bugs. Checking each page does not guarantee that a bed bug egg or nymph is not hiding between the binding and pages.

Final Thoughts for Bed Bugs in Books

Bed bugs in books are a common problem, but there are ways to treat them. You can heat the books, freeze the books, use pesticides, or hire a professional. All of these methods will kill bed bugs and their eggs. Choose the process that is best for you and your situation.

Make sure you use a bed bug heater on any new or used books you bring into your home. Doing this will ensure that you do not accidentally introduce bed bugs into your home.