The good old days of Saturday morning garage sales where you could pick up a bargain or two without breaking the bank come back to mind? Who knows what you’ll find lurking inside that gently used bedside table you’ve been eyeing? Bedbugs can be found in every type of establishment, from movie theaters to luxury hotels. There’s a bed bug invasion going on, if you believe the news reports, which you should.
The super bed bugs of today are also master bloodsuckers. As a result, exterminators are finding it increasingly difficult to get rid of them, and their population is growing. So, what’s a shopper to do at a garage sale? Have you given up on finding a good deal? Unthinkable!
Let’s take a look at five strategies for avoiding bed bugs while still finding great deals on quality furniture.
About Bed Bugs
Let’s begin with a little introduction to bed bugs. Our blood is a popular feeding source for these little, flightless, reddish-brown insects. This is why they’ve been drawn to human houses from the dawn of time.
After nightfall is when bedbugs are most active. Attacks like this occur when the victim is asleep and completely defenseless. For many years, the number of bedbugs in the United States appeared to be decreasing. In great part, synthetic insecticides introduced after World War II are to blame. They’ve been making a comeback in recent years, however. This has been made possible by the removal of numerous obstacles that formerly restricted cross-border movement of people and products.
Bedbugs can be found in any room of your house. Hotels, airports, and other places where humans live and sleep are fine for them. You’re more likely to locate them in your mattress, frame, and springs, as their name suggests. In contrast to common assumption, bed bugs do not usually reside in your bed sheets or other bedding.) ( They can also be found lurking in the nooks and crannies of your home, such as behind the curtains, under the rugs, and so on. The furniture in your home is also a good area to look for bedbugs.
How to Check for Bed Bugs in Furniture
If contaminated things are introduced into a previously bedbug-free home, it can quickly become infested with the pests. Before bringing any secondhand furniture into your home, you should thoroughly inspect it for any signs of wear and tear. So, here’s how to go about it.
Prepare your equipment
The correct tools are required to conduct a thorough visual inspection of your secondhand furniture for signs of bed bugs. You’ll need the following items:
- a flashlight (torch);
- the use of a magnifier
- Gloves (such as latex or vinyl, or even just a plastic bag placed over your hand);
- collection container for gathering bugs
- a pair of tweezers or duct tape
- or a knife or credit card;
- minor contaminated things such as pillows should be disposed of in trash bags.
- to use a fresh, bright white sheet;
- And, if necessary, a vacuum cleaner.
Place the furniture on the sheet
Place the things to be checked on top of the white sheet that has been spread out on the ground.
When purchasing used furniture, inspect it well before bringing it into your home.
Having a white sheet on hand will help you find bed bugs or evidence of them when you inspect the furniture, as it will make it easier for you to see them on the ground.
Use your credit card
Alternatively, a credit card, index card, or knife will do the trick much more quickly. Apply it to any nooks, crannies, or fissures on the furniture’s surface. Here, bed bugs are most prone to lurk. Keep a close eye on the white sheet and your gloves for any evidence of bedbugs. If you see brown or crimson stains, you may have bed bugs, as well as their eggs and excrement. Take a closer look at anything that doesn’t seem quite right with your magnifying glass.
Illuminate dark or hidden areas
Light up any hidden crevices and crevices in your furniture with your flashlight. These are the spots where bed bugs are most likely to hide. It is rare for bedbugs to be seen in the open, where they can be easily spotted by anyone.
What’s the best way to tell if a piece of furniture is infested with bedbugs? Simply asking. Ask the present owners if they have or have had bed bugs in the past. It’s usually best to avoid certain pieces of furniture if their answer is yes.
It’s possible that even after they’ve had their home fumigated and removed all of the live bedbugs, some of the eggs may still be present. For a new infestation, all that is needed are those eggs. When someone is getting rid of a piece of furniture that is still in good condition, you should always inquire as to why. Bed bugs are frequently to blame for this. This is especially true when it comes to abandoned furniture.
Look at where the furniture came from to see if there are any signs of bed bugs. Bed bug infestations are more common in certain parts of the country than others. New York City, Washington, D.C., and other locations with a large number of visitors are good instances of this type of situation. Avoid buying used furniture from places where bedbugs are a problem, such as flea markets. Buying a used mattress or box spring is a bad idea in general. It doesn’t matter where they come from; the danger is simply not worth it!
Don’t bring used furniture into your home if you discover any evidence of bedbugs. If you don’t get rid of the bed bugs first. Exactly how you accomplish this is the subject of a separate essay.
To sum things up, you should be extremely cautious about bringing old furniture into your home. Bed bug-infested furniture may seem like a simple way to save money, but you can get more than you bargained for!
1: Use Common Sense
Small crevices and seams are ideal places for bedbugs to hide. The problem is that after you’ve brought them home, they’re difficult to get rid of. Avoid scavenge furniture from questionable sources like dumpsters and alleys because it’s difficult enough to check for bed bugs on goods that appear clean and secure. Even though this may seem like common sense, you’ll see a home renovation expert on television every week claiming to have found a magnificent piece of home decor that she found abandoned. It is safest to leave items that appear headed for the trash for now.
Stay away from the bedbugs!
2: Avoid Buying Upholstered Furniture
Upholstered furniture can be a haven for bed bugs, which is unfortunate news. Once they’re inside, it’s nearly impossible to find them again. There may be no visible symptoms or evidence of bed bug activity in furniture if the person who donated or sold it cleaned or vacuumed it without realizing it had bed bugs.
Upholstered furniture that has been steam cleaned will not be free of bed bugs. The padding of upholstered furniture cannot withstand the high temperatures required to destroy bedbugs and their eggs. Even while over-the-counter insecticides claim to be effective against bed bugs, it’s possible that they won’t penetrate upholstered furniture to their full extent. Chemical warfare will leave behind dead bugs and a chemical residue that can’t be washed away fully, even if you use it. The available options aren’t exactly enticing.
While it may be tempting to acquire used upholstered furniture in the hopes of finding bed bugs, it’s best to stick to objects that people don’t sleep on or near (more on this in the next pages). The majority of the time, bed bugs will congregate near where people sleep. They’re more likely to congregate around a bed or couch used for sleeping or napping than an upholstered dining chair or bar stool. However, there are no guarantees, thus the buyer (you) should definitely beware in this case.
3: Don’t Believe Everything You Hear
However, you should not blindly trust anything a secondhand furniture seller claims, especially when it comes to bedbug-free claims. It’s quite impossible to guarantee that used furniture is bed bug-free. The truth is that. Even the most sincere efforts to ensure that furnishings are safe might fall short because buyers and vendors fail to realize how elusive, adaptable, and indestructible these pests are. As an example, here are a few:
- As long as you keep the temperature at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit for three hours, you can get rid of bed bugs. A difficult task, to say the least. On hot days, sealed black plastic bags can be used to sanitize small items. (An instant-read thermometer should be used to check the internal temperature.)
- Temperatures of 20 degrees Fahrenheit or less for at least a week are recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the eradication of bed bugs. Yikes.
- If you starve them, they will die. Adult bed bugs can last up to 18 months without feeding if they are properly cared for. Even if a piece of furniture is in a storage facility or warehouse for a long period of time, it might still be infested with bed bugs.
- Considerably nymphs (the embryonic stage of the bed bug), which are even smaller, are adept at hiding in plain sight. They and their eggs are able to squeeze into the tiniest crevices and joints of furniture.
4: Buy Hard, Uncomplicated Items
Solid wood and plastic are better options for old furnishings if you’re ready to take a risk. Leather, cotton, and cardboard are less risky options. Books and lampshades with pleats and seams have been found to harbor bed bugs. Hidden in lamps, fans, and other electronic devices like clocks, they have also been detected. To be safe, stick to hard, cleanable materials with few if any seams or cracks. Think bookcases, nightstands, tables, and dressers. Before integrating any new purchases into your home, thoroughly inspect and clean them. Check out the next page for some helpful inspection tips.
5: Inspect the Items You Buy
Bed bugs may be difficult to spot, but that doesn’t mean they’re undetectable. If you’re vigilant, you may be able to pick up on the telltale clues they leave behind. Using a magnifying glass and flashlight, look for these telltale signs of bed insect activity when considering an item from a trustworthy seller:
- After a meal, bed bugs leave behind little black dots. Precise clusters of dots can be seen on both hard and soft surfaces from time to time. Streaks or stains of a crimson color can appear on fabrics as well.
- Be on the lookout for live bugs or molted skin on the back or undersides of furniture such as bookshelves, headboards, and tables (discarded bed bug exoskeletons).
- The joints, seams, wrinkles, crevices, fissures, and voids of furniture are common hiding places for bed bugs. Also, they can be found in small holes, such as those made by screws (nails) and small louvered vents. With a magnifying glass, peer into the tiniest of spaces with a flashlight. A bed insect moving away from the light can even capture your attention.
- If you’re interested in purchasing a painted piece of furniture, make sure to look underneath any loose paint for signs of bed bugs. As far as I know, they can conceal beneath soft or uneven paint surfaces, as well as behind wallpaper.
- It is possible for bed bugs to hide in the paper backing of framed artwork.
In addition to these locations, there are many more. The list goes on and on. In addition to small appliances, hollow towel racks and curtain rods can serve as bed insect hiding places. Even soft toys aren’t safe from them. Clothes, blankets, curtains, rugs, shoes, and handbags are just a few of the items they can hide in.
Buying used furniture? Heat treat it in a dark plastic bag to make sure it doesn’t have bed bugs or their eggs before buying it. (Remember, a temperature of at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit for at least three hours is your goal.) Place the object in quarantine in an empty bathtub if that is not possible due to the size of the thing. This will make it easier to find and remove bed bugs from tubs since the slick sides will keep the pests from escaping. Otherwise, keep new purchases away from sleeping areas and check them occasionally for bed bug activity such as spots, exoskeletons, and eggs as a last ditch effort.
Avoid Bed Bugs FAQ
How can I prevent bringing bed bugs home?
To avoid the spread of bedbugs, avoid scavenging furniture from questionable sources like dumpsters and alleyways. In addition, hard surfaces like solid wood and plastic should be used instead than soft or porous ones. Even so, always sure to thoroughly inspect and clean any items before bringing them into your home.
How do you get rid of bed bugs before they spread?
In order to eliminate the possibility of acquiring bed bugs or their eggs from used furniture, heat treating it in a dark plastic bag is an option. (Remember, a temperature of at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit for at least three hours is your goal.) Place the object in quarantine in an empty bathtub if that is not possible due to the size of the thing. This will make it easier to find and remove bed bugs from tubs since the slick sides will keep the pests from escaping. Otherwise, keep new purchases away from sleeping areas and check them occasionally for bed bug activity such as spots, exoskeletons, and eggs as a last ditch effort. Option:
Is it good to buy secondhand furniture?
Reduction, re-use, and recycling are always wise choices. If you’re buying used furniture, it’s necessary to use common sense and inspect the objects for small black spots and crimson streaks or stains and shine a light into the crevices for bed bugs themselves or their discarded skins.