After the Perkins bug fright, exterminators found no evidence of an infestation


Junior Brandon Scarberry had an unpleasant surprise when he was sitting on a couch on the second floor of the Perkins library and came across what he thought was a bed bug.

Scarberry contacted the library administrators, who responded promptly, but said professional exterminators found no evidence of bed bugs.

Shortly after seeing the little black bugs in Perkins, Scarberry noticed insect bites on his leg that he believes were a direct result of physical contact with the fabric chairs. To warn other students, Scarberry uploaded a photo to Reddit. The post quickly caught the attention of members of the Duke community.

“This is a huge burden on Duke,” wrote Scarberry in a comment on his original Reddit post. “These things are CRAZY transferable and can cost thousands to get rid of.”

Several commentators thanked Scarberry for the warning and offered advice on how to get rid of the pests that are known to be difficult to eradicate. Bed bugs are highly transmittable and can stick to luggage, clothing, and other fabrics.

Scarberry took action by taking pictures of the bugs and contacting Housing and Residence Life, but he was redirected to the Perkins Library Research Service contact page.

Although the staff reacted quickly and had the library furniture handled by professionals, they denied finding evidence of bed bug infestation.

“As a precaution, we quickly and professionally treated the furniture in question with insecticide dust and cordoned off the area for a week,” wrote Ann Wolfe, assistant university librarian for administrative services, in an email to Scarberry.

However, according to Wolfe, the professional exterminators could “find no evidence of an infestation”.

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“We never found any evidence of real bed bugs (dead bugs, feces, eggs, etc.). The only clue and identification of a bug as a “bed bug” came from the student, “wrote Aaron Welborn, director of communications at Duke Libraries, in an email to The Chronicle.

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