One of the best ways to get a cheap piece of furniture is to pick it up at a yard sale. Yard sales are an incredible source for getting an amazing deal at the fraction of the price of buying that same item new. Unfortunately, you may be saving yourself less than you think if the yard sale item has bed bugs in it and you don’t know it. Whenever you purchase a secondhand item, it pays to conduct a thorough bed bug inspection before you bring that item into your home. You would never want your pest infestation to begin from an innocent purchase at a yard sale or garage sale. Here are our inspection tips and tricks to help to protect you when you’re picking up that awesome find on the side of the road.

#1. No inspection will ever be foolproof

When you follow the tips in the following points, keep in mind that bed bugs are incredibly good at hiding. Even the most thorough inspection can cause you to miss the presence of these unwanted hitchhikers, especially if there are very few (or just their eggs) in the item you’re considering. Our pest control company has run into this many times when a homeowner contacts us. They are getting bitten at night, but they haven’t been able to find even one bug yet. In the early stages of a bed bug invasion, this is very common, as the bugs are sneaky, fast, and very good at staying buried deep in the soft material of a mattress, sofa, or carpet.

For this reason, we recommend exercising the MOST caution when you’re buying a soft item like a sofa, mattress, or pillow at a yard sale. You won’t be able to completely inspect these items, so you’ll have to weigh the risk you’re taking when you purchase them.

#2. How to inspect soft items like mattresses, couches, and recliners

  • Visually inspect the outside of the item, looking for the telltale signs of bed bugs, the tiny specks that they leave behind.
  • Pay the closest attention to the seams, cracks, and other areas with stitching. Look carefully for any holes or gaps that could provide an access point for the little critters to go in and out.
  • If you can, ask the seller why they’re getting rid of the item. Of course, no one will tell you “Oh, because it’s infested with bed bugs.” However, certain answers may leave you feeling more comfortable than others. For instance, if the person says, “We’re getting rid of this couch because we got a new one,” it could just as easily be the case that it’s the opposite: they got the new couch because they needed to get rid of this one at all costs. On the other hand, if someone says, “Oh, my mother-in-law just passed away and we’re getting rid of all her furniture,” that might be a different story.

Stay tuned for our next blog post, when we’ll cover how to inspect hard items like bookshelves, chairs, and dressers, and additional ways to protect yourself once you bring the items home.

If you need pest control for bed bugs or other pests, our family-owned company is here to serve everyone in the Rio-Grande Valley. Contact us today with your pest-related questions or service needs.