10 Things You Need to Know About the Recent Bedbug Incident at DPPL

First Things First:

Currently, January 6, 2020 the library is bedbug free.  (whew!)  Between September and November 2019, a small number of bedbugs were found at DPPL in specific chairs on the 3rd and 4th floors.  On November 23rd, DPPL proactively conducted a library-wide professional extermination of the building. It included full inspection, contact treatment of affected areas, and the application of a top to bottom barrier treatment to all areas on all floors of the library to prevent future occurrences.

If you visited the library last fall, you may have seen Des Plaines Public Library dealing with an unpleasant consequence of operating a building servicing 400,000 people and circulating almost 1.5 million items annually: Bedbugs.

Yep, gives us the creeps too.

The reality is that the discovery of bedbugs in doctor’s offices, hospitals, schools, colleges, hotels – and yes – libraries is becoming routine.

Pesticide use has accelerated bedbug evolution and more and more are finding their way (well actually “hitchhiking” their way) into public spaces. Bedbugs are transmitted on people's clothing, in their belongings and at the library, in books and other returned materials, regardless of cleanliness or lifestyle.

Bedbugs are not dangerous, they do not transmit disease.

But yes. We agree.

They are gross and we don’t want them in the library.

Here’s what you need to know (and probably more) about the issue specifically at Des Plaines Public Library:

1.  We are taking this (very) seriously.

We absolutely understand your concern and want to let you know we are taking this very, very seriously.  It is our priority that everyone  – staff and patrons –   feel safe and comfortable at the Des Plaines Public Library.

2.  We are - and have always been - vigilant.

Chairs quarantined, area cordoned off on DPPL's 3rd floor in accordance with bedbug inspection best practices, November 18th, 2019. The entire area received professional contact treatment November 23rd. This area, and the entire library, is currently bedbug free.

Chairs quarantined, area cordoned off on DPPL’s 3rd floor in accordance with bedbug inspection best practices, November 18th, 2019. The entire area received professional contact treatment November 23rd. This area, and the entire library, is currently bedbug free.

DPPL is vigilant about looking for pests.

Because of this, we caught the recent occurrence of bedbugs at DPPL early, before it became a major problem. 

We have a long-standing pest procedure in place to daily look for, identify and if necessary quarantine furniture and areas and treat as necessary. We daily inspect all returned materials and conduct physical inspections of all furniture and common library spaces. We also have a contract with a professional pest control service to inspect the entire building in depth, monthly.

3.  First Sighting (Maybe)

On September 17th, one unidentified bug was found on a wall in the 1st floor sorter room.  All DPPL staff were notified, and although it was an isolated incident, DPPL chose to proactively  fumigate the entire room.  No additional bugs have been found in that area as of January 2020.

4.  Second Sighting

On Saturday October 5th, a patron reported seeing one bug they believed to be a bedbug crawling on one of the orange lounge chairs on the north end of the 4th floor.

Trained staff immediately collected the insect for identification, as per our “pest” procedure. The chair on which the bug was spotted, as well as an adjacent chair, was covered and sealed with plastic and the area was cordoned off from patron access on Sunday. Chairs were then removed to a safe location and sprayed with a broad spectrum insecticide for elimination of bedbugs and their eggs.  All staff were again notified, and as a precaution, area was cordoned off from patron use for one week.

No additional bugs have been sighted in that area on the 4th floor, as of January 2020.

5.  Third Sighting

On November 18th, additional bugs were spotted on two chairs on the north end of the 3rd floor.  We again quarantined the chairs and cordoned off the area. 

Upon inspection, trained DPPL staff identified several bed bugs on both chairs. At that point we decided to call in our contracted monthly pest control service, Orkin Pest Control Services, to examine the building from top to bottom. 

All staff members were once again notified, and pest control experts went floor by floor on November 20th. While they found no evidence of widespread current problems, they did identify additional areas of concern that needed to be addressed quickly and eliminated completely to contain future growth.

6.  Findings From Orkin

On November 21st, Orkin presented their findings, options and estimates for treatment to DPPL management.

We deemed the situation urgent and opted for the most comprehensive extermination service available, at a cost of approximately $22k. 

Due to the need to act quickly, DPPL staff made a recommendation to proceed to the library board at a meeting that night. The board approved the expenditure.

Treatment was administered after the close of the library on Saturday November 23rd.  The library reopened for business as usual at 1pm on Sunday November 24th.

7. The Treatment

Contact treatment was applied to of all areas where bugs, or evidence of bugs, had been identified during the building examination.

An application of a top to bottom barrier treatment to areas on all floors of the library to prevent future infestation was also adminstered.

A follow up scan post treatment to confirm we are pest free and additional spot-treatment if needed.  

8.  DPPL Is Currently Bedbug Free

Affected areas have been re-inspected and no new evidence of bedbugs have been found at DPPL, as of January 2020.

9.  Going Forward

Going forward we will continue daily inspections by trained staff, monthly inspections by Orkin Pest Control Services and spot inspections and treatments as needed. 

If you do see a bug in the library in the future, please report it immediately to a staff member.

10. It Takes a Village

Help us keep your library pest free. Regularly examine clothing and personal items for hitchhiking bedbugs, especially after traveling or staying in hotels.  Inspect library materials before returning them to the library.  Want to learn more?  Stop by the reference desk and we'll be happy to steer you in the right direction.


Feel free to contact us with any additional questions you may have at  We will respond and add to an FAQ list that will be added below.

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