If you’re a frugal shopper and just can’t resist checking out yard sales in the summer, you’ve probably come home with more than one fabulous piece of furniture, piece of art, or other incredible find for your home. However, with the prevalence of bed bugs on the rise, you can’t be too careful with the risk you’re taking of inadvertently bringing these unwanted critters into your home. According to a 2011 survey, one in five Americans has either has a bed bug infestation in their home or knows someone else who has. Gone are the days when bed bugs only existed in the familiar childhood rhyme, “Good night / Sleep tight / Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Therefore, it can happen to anyone, and you only have yourself to thank for being careful.

When you’re out and about, checking out yard sale furniture or second-hand furniture, consider these inspection tips for the items you look at. Be aware that bed bugs do NOT just hide in soft items like mattresses. In our last blog post, we talked about how to inspect any soft or padded items. However, bed bugs can just as easily come into your home through a piece of wooden furniture. Here are our tips from our pest control service in Harlingen for how to protect yourself.

Visually inspect the inside and outside of any second-hand furniture item

  • Make a thorough visual inspection of every available surface of the item. Look at the top, both, front, back, and sides.
  • Be even more thorough if the item has drawers, because bed bugs frequently hide in drawers. Take every drawer out and look at all the surfaces of the drawers. and then poke your head inside where the drawers were and look at all the inside surfaces of the wood.
  • You’re not looking for bugs, because they have long gone. What you’re looking for are eggs and the signs of bed bugs having been there. On wooden and other solid surfaces, this looks like someone has taken a fine-tip Sharpie marker and drawn a stippled pattern of many tiny dots onto the surface of the wood in a certain area. You may also see the presence of fine dust in these areas, but you may not (someone may have wiped it down, but they probably won’t have gotten off the little blackish dots that the bed bugs left behind. If you see these dark specks, it was probably NOT on the original design of the wood, especially if this is not an overall pattern on the wood. If you see any of these signs, do not buy the item. The cost of a bed bug infestation is simply too great.

If you feel comfortable enough about an item to bring it home, take precautions

  • If you can leave the piece of furniture closed up all day in a hot car during our hot Texas summers, do so. The heat will kill any bugs or eggs.
  • Wipe down all the surfaces, inside and outside, with an insect killer specially made for bed bugs before you bring the item into your house.

Our pest control company serves the entire Rio-Grande Valley with the eradication of bed bugs and other pests. Contact us today to schedule your service.