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Incident report: Inspection shows no evidence of bed bugs in Cabell Library

November 28, 2017

Following up on a minor incident of reports of bed bugs in Cabell Library, an exterminator made a full inspection of the building 2 to 6 a.m. Friday, Dec. 1.

No evidence of bed bugs was found in any study spaces on any of the five floors.  

Here are details about the matter:

On Nov. 10, a VCU student reported to staff at James Branch Cabell Library she had fallen asleep in a chair on the second floor of the library and when she woke up, she discovered bug bites on her arm. The report came in at 6 a.m. By 10 a.m., the seat she used and other nearby upholstered seats--most of them individual study booths on the second floor--were immediately removed by library staff.

The seats were relocated to the library’s specially equipped quarantine room (used to isolate library materials with mold or parasites) later that day and then decontaminated by the university’s contract exterminator on Friday, Nov. 24.

A second report of bed bugs was received on the evening of Nov. 28. Staff immediately removed additional chairs identified by the reporting student from the second floor and relocated them to the library’s quarantine room. These chairs are being decontaminated by the university’s contract pest exterminator.

All these chairs will be professionally cleaned and returned to service before the beginning of the exam period.

To ensure that these steps addressed the problem, the university’s contract exterminator inspected the entire library building with a specially-trained, bed bug-sniffing dog between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. Friay, Dec. 1.

The examination did not reveal any additional evidence of bed bugs remaining anywhere in Cabell Library.

According to University Librarian John E. Ulmschneider: "We believe these steps have addressed the problem. Occasional bed bugs incidents are common on university campuses, and VCU retains an exterminator on contract in part to respond quickly to such incidents. This is the first such incident in Cabell Library’s long history, and we are confident that the problem has been addressed and that students can feel comfortable using the furnishings in Cabell.

Anyone with additional concerns should contact the Associate University Librarian who oversees building operations, Dennis Clark, at or (804) 828-9136.   

Revised with updated information Dec. 1


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