During this era of bed bug infestations, you need to be careful what you bring into your home. This is why I no longer buy used furniture or go to garage sales or the library.
I did a lot of research for this. Plus I had a pest control guy here last week for earwig bugs, and I talked to him about it. He is contracted through the apartment complex.
He is the head of his own company, not someone who works for a big pest control company. He goes to lots of conferences to learn these things, he told me.
Where in hotels do you think bedbugs tend to be hiding?
Here’s a question he put to me: Where in a hotel room is the highest incidence of bed bugs?
I immediately said the bed spread. Nope, it is the folding luggage rack, he told me. The fabric straps that go over the wood is a prime place for bed bugs. He said you turn it over and it’s there that you’d find them. Yuck! I doubt I’ll ever stay in a hotel again.
So here are the things you’d better think twice about at your favorite thrift shops, consignment shops, antique malls or garage sales. Even retail stores, offices and new furniture stores have problems with bed bugs.
Think twice before buying:
- Lampshades or lamps
- Pillows of any kind
- Used Books (they hide in the spines)
- Wood furniture (they hide in the crevices)
- Framed Artwork
There was a time when I’d buy a used fabric couch, but no more. That was many years ago when there wasn’t such a problem with these horrid and hard to get rid of bugs.
they hide in offices:
The pest control man who was here said a few years ago here in town there was a horrible infestation of bed bugs in an office. They had a pest control company send three technicians in to figure out where they were. A reporter happened to be there to get the scoop.
He said the three technicians couldn’t figure it out, but the reporter turned over a chair and there they were.
Offices are prime places for bed bugs. Because bed bugs are nocturnal, and people are bringing brief cases and all manner of things in and out all the time. The bed bugs jump on and go home with them, or when they come back to the office.
they jump from mattress to mattress in store trucks:
You have to be careful when moving with a moving van or buying a new mattress. Many stores typically will haul off your old mattress. That’s how they get in the van and maybe jump on your new mattress.
The library has problems with them too:
Maybe you’ve been to your local library and brought home books to read. Borrowing books is now seen by some as a risky proposition.
That’s because bedbugs have discovered a fun way to hitchhike from bed to bed. Bedbugs and their eggs can hide in the spines of hardcover books.
Then they crawl out at night to feed, find a brand new home in your headboard, and you end up with an infestation in your home.
All libraries are scrambling to deal with this problem. But book borrowers have become very wary about libraries now. Unfortunate, but true.
what to look for when buying furniture:
If you’re looking to buy furniture, break down any pieces that can be disassembled. Take out drawers. Clean each piece individually. Please inspect and clean these things before you bring them into your home.
Signs of bed bugs include black spotting and molted skins (discarded bed bug exoskeletons)
Oh, those beloved garage sales:
Remember how fun it used to be to go to garage sales. The bargains are great, but you might bring home more than you bargained for.
Bedbugs can be hiding inside most anything you buy there.
The bad news is that bed bugs have become resistant to many of the eradication methods exterminators have relied on. So we have more infestations than ever.
Steam cleaning won’t help with upholstered furniture:
Steam cleaning won’t get rid of bed bugs in upholstered furniture, so nix that idea. The extreme heat necessary to kill them and their eggs does not penetrate into the padding of upholstered pieces. So you won’t be killing them that way.
Look under tables, shelves, headboards and any other furnishings.
Bedbugs will hide inside furniture joints, seams, creases, crevices, cracks and voids. They will hide in screw holes, nail holes and small louvered vents. They can even be hiding behind peeling paint as well as wallpaper.
Beware framed artwork:
Be careful about buying framed artwork because they can gather behind the paper backing.
If you’re still not swayed from that used piece that you just love, then follow the following steps on how to inspect second hand furniture.
The Bed Bug Treatment Site provides steps on how to inspect second hand furniture for bed bugs:
- You’ll need white latex gloves, a flashlight and a white sheet with you when inspecting the furniture.
- Place your furniture on the white sheet to help see bed bugs if they fall on the sheet.
- Using a credit card or gloved hand, run the edge of your card or finger over any creases or cracks on the furniture’s surface. Keep watching for signs of bed bugs on your gloves or the white sheet with the magnifying glass. Signs will either be the actual bed bugs, feces (which will be dark red stains) or old skin.
- Use your flashlight to thoroughly inspect any hidden or dark areas of the furniture. Bed bugs are usually hiding, so look in the creases where they aren’t visible.
I’m sorry to rain on your buy-a-bargain parade. Believe me, it’s disappointing to me too as I love a good used buy. But now I rarely try on clothing in a retail store, go into a used book store, or even head to the antique mall.
These darned things can infiltrate most anything. So be careful what you buy!