Exterminators work to clear bed bugs from U of U library

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SALT LAKE CITY -- It’s been a working weekend at the University of Utah, where exterminators are eradicating bed bugs in the J. Willard Marriott Library.

Students encountered locked doors at the library Sunday, but a note on the door said classes will still be held Monday.

Steve Sternfeld brought his grandsons to the library, unaware of the infestation.

“I feel really bad for the university,” Sternfeld said. “It’s a lot of hassle for them.”

Max Pia, owner of Pest Pro in Salt Lake City, said he’s already seen cases that have spread from the library to the community.

“We have been dealing with a few students that have picked it up from the university,” Pia said.

And bed bugs can be hard little critters to kill.

“They’re up there with cockroaches,” Pia said. “You’ve got to spray basically everywhere where they’re living.”

The exterminator said he uses three rounds of professional strength pesticide to treat home infestations, but it’s not the only tool in his arsenal.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends an integrated approach when battling bed bugs, combining the careful use of pesticides with: heat treatment, vacuuming, sealing cracks, and removing clutter.

Pia said bed bugs leave raised bumps and swelling on the skin similar to mosquito bites.

“They’re not a big danger to humans. They don’t spread diseases,” he said.

But Sternfeld isn’t too keen on blood-sucking parasites, and he said he hopes the university gets the infestation cleared up soon.

“I teach in this building on Tuesdays,” Sternfeld said, “so I really hope they have it open on Tuesday.”

School officials said Sunday the first level of the library will be open Monday, and classes would be held as usual as crews worked to clear the bugs from the other levels. The library was expected to be fully reopened by Tuesday.