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Tuesday, 22 March 2022

How to check used furniture for bed bugs

Are you looking for a way to check and see if the furniture you're about to buy is free of bed bugs? You don't have to worry because steps can be taken to identify potential sources. Bed bugs are great hitchhikers, hiding in your luggage and clothes, just waiting to jump on your furniture to turn it into their home. After reading this article, you will know how to check used furniture for bed bugs!

About bed bugs

Bed bugs are incredibly small, nocturnal insects that feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded animals. They are wingless, oval-shaped, and brown. Adult bed bugs measure only a quarter inch long. They do not carry diseases, so they are not a medical threat.

Bed bugs can hide in tiny cracks and crevices within mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards. They also hide behind baseboards, electrical outlet plates, picture frames, and wallpaper. They are remarkable squatters that must be dealt with as soon as possible.

Although bed bugs live and prefer to feed at night when people are asleep, they may also bite during the day if they are hungry or disturbed. It is possible to get bed bug bites while sitting on a couch or in a movie theater. Most people who have bed bugs in their homes eventually notice the bites. However, it is possible to have them without realizing it because certain people do not react to the insect's saliva.


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How can you tell if furniture has bed bugs?

You can tell if furniture has bed bugs by looking for droppings near or on the furniture. Bed bug feces resemble small black dots and they are often found underneath tables or near seams. The droppings may also be found inside nooks and crannies in your furniture. 

Here are signs that your furniture has bed bugs: 

  • If you notice small, itchy red welts on your face, arms, legs, chest, or back, that's a sign you have bed bugs. 
  • Check for red stains on your bed, clothing or furniture. If you squished an insect while it was feeding, it will leave a blood stain. You can also find stains of rusty color which are bed bug feces. You can find this on your sheets, as well as in places that are harder to reach, like mattress seams, bed frames, and wood frames. You should check the walls and under the wallpaper.
  • Bed bugs have scent glands that release pheromones, and if there are a lot of them, the smell can be quite strong and unpleasant. If your bedroom or living room smells like moldy clothes or spoiled food, you should be concerned.
  • Bed bugs shed their skin as they grow, so look for light-colored shells. Inspect the pillows on your bed, the seams on your mattress, the chairs, and between the cushions. Also make sure to check your clothing drawers!
  • If you see white spots on your furniture, it could be bed bug eggs or shells. They are shaped like a grain of rice and have a translucent color that is sometimes shiny. 

If any of these signs seem curiously familiar, make sure to call an exterminator!

How long does it take for bed bugs to infest furniture?

Just one or two bed bugs can start an infestation. Bed bugs can mature from egg to adult in as little as one month. These bugs can lay eggs that hatch over several weeks and each bed bug can lay up to 200 eggs during its lifetime. If a bug is not found and killed, it can live up to 2 years in optimal conditions.

The amount of time it takes for bed bugs to infest furniture depends on several factors. Bed bug infestations tend to be more prevalent during the summer months but can occur at any time of year. The presence of bed bugs depends on the availability of an appropriate host for them to feed on.

These bugs feed on blood and generally stay hidden, so people are not aware of their presence until the infestation gets large enough for them to be readily seen by humans. They hide in bed frames, headboards, box springs, and nearby furniture during the day. At night they emerge when their food source is near and passive (i.e., sleeping humans).


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Tips to check used furniture for bed bugs

Here are tips to check used furniture for bed bugs:

  1. Examine the seams
  2. Check for insect remains
  3. Turn over the used furniture
  4. Talk with previous owners

1. Examine the seams

Examine the seams on your furniture for bed bug fecal stains which consist of dark spots. Depending on the type of furniture you are inspecting for bed bugs, observe any potential haven for their activity. Do not seat or touch the secondhand furniture too much before observing it from a distance.

2. Check for insect remains

Take a closer look at the furniture to see potential bed bug eggs or shed skin. When gently pressing on the material or fabric, do you hear a “clicking” sound? If so, let the owner of the secondhand furniture manipulate the item just to be sure. Use your senses to smell and discern if the furniture is moisty.

3. Turn over furniture

Bed bug infestation tends to be obvious on the “dark side of the moon” of objects. By that, we mean any area that is warm and not exposed to sunlight.

4. Talk with previous owners

It’s always a good idea to get the back story on an item you are interested in buying. Where was it stored? Why are you getting rid of it? Was it ever infested by bed bugs? These are simple questions that can shed some light on the state of the secondhand furniture.


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Things to avoid when you have bed bugs on your property

Bed bugs are not a health hazard and they don't spread disease, although they can cause anxiety. Here is what NOT to do if you find bed bugs at home: 

  • Do not treat bed bugs yourself with over-the-counter pesticides or sprays such as RAID. These products will not get rid of them and they could be harmful to you and your family if misused.
  • Do not move things from an infested room to a non-infested room. You could accelerate the spread of bed bugs.
  • Do not use foggers or bug bombs in your home for any reason. It does not work on these types of bugs, and it will only worsen the problem because it will spread them around your home instead of killing them.
  • Do not use items from an infested area in another part of the home.
  • Do not use heat to kill bed bugs other than a clothes dryer on high heat.


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How to get rid of bed bugs

Clean the infected area

The first thing you should do is to clean the infested areas. This involves bed sheets, linens, curtains, and clothing. We recommend machine-washing these items in hot water and drying them using the hot cycle. Check furniture joints for bed bugs and their eggs. Use a steam cleaner on your mattress and pay particular attention to seams and crevices where bed bugs may be hiding.

Starve them

Bed bugs are living creatures, and they need food to live. They feed on human blood, and they eat approximately once a week, depending on food availability. If you deprive them of blood, they will starve and die.

Vacuum everywhere

Use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to thoroughly vacuum all areas of the room where you've seen any evidence of bed bug activity, especially the mattress and box spring if you have one, as well as all furniture within six feet of where you found them.

Buy a mattress protector

While we all like to think our mattresses are clean, that's not true. In reality, our sheets and pillows are crawling with bacteria and dust mites. Buying a mattress protector will keep bed bug infestation at bay!

Call A Professional Exterminator

The best way to get rid of bed bugs is to call a pest control company. Exterminators have the training, experience, and equipment needed to eradicate your bed bug infestation quickly and effectively.  V Extermination is proud to offer eco-friendly pest control solutions that are safe for your family and the environment. 


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