Bed Bugs Part 2: How to Avoid Bed Bugs from Thrift Store Purchases

Ever go to the thrift store and find a great bargain on a chair or a sectional, or even a comforter and you can’t let it pass you by? The bargains are out there, but who knows what you might bring home hidden inside that gently used bedside table or sheet set.  Bed bugs are rampant and their numbers are continuing to grow. So, what’s a thrift shopper to do? Give up bargain hunting completely? Unthinkable!

Let’s look at things you can do to leave bed bugs in the dust but still score safe thrift store bargains.

  • Avoid Buying Upholstered Furniture: A wise idea is to buy the hard stuff used, but buy your cushions new. Here’s how: upholstered furniture can be a paradise for bed bugs. Once inside, they can be impossible to detect. If the person donating or selling the furniture cleaned or vacuumed it without realizing bed bugs were present, the superficial signs and clues of bed bug activity may be absent, too.
  • Buy Hard, Uncomplicated Items: If you’re willing to take a chance when buying used furnishings, choose hard surfaces like solid wood and plastic as opposed to soft or porous surfaces like leather, fabric, pressed wood or cardboard. Bed bugs have been known to hide in books and inside the pleats and seams on lampshades. They’ve also been found hiding inside lamps, fans and electronics like clocks. Hard, cleanable surfaces with few (if any) crevices or seams are the least risky bets. Think bookshelves, nightstands, tables and dressers. These are just a few places bed bugs hide. There are many, many more. Bed bugs can shelter inside hollow towel racks and curtain rods as well as in small appliances. They can burrow into plush toys. They can conceal themselves in clothing, bedding, curtains, rugs, shoes, handbags and just about anything else you can imagine.
  • Inspect all potential purchases thoroughly, and clean them before introducing them to your interior spaces. After you invest in a secondhand item, consider heat treating it in a dark plastic bag to be sure it doesn’t harbor bed bugs or their eggs. (Remember, your target is at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit for three hours or more.) If that’s not feasible given the size of the object, place it in quarantine in an empty bathtub. Bed bugs can’t escape up the slippery sides of tubs, so they’ll be contained and easier to detect. Barring all other options, keep new acquisitions away from sleeping areas and inspect them periodically for bed bug activity like spots, exoskeletons, and eggs.

It’s very hard to be sure used furniture items are free of bed bugs. That’s the reality. Even the best efforts to make sure furnishings are safe can fail because people underestimate how stealthy, adaptable and indestructible these pests really are.

Call in the Pros to Get Rid of Pests for Good!

If you have bed bugs, you take back control of your home! At Alexandria Pest Services, our team of expert technicians will work with you to create a plan to eliminate your pests. If you find that you are having a problem with insects, termites, or other pests and need an exterminator, call Alexandria Pest Services at 703-923-0925 to schedule a professional evaluation. We can help you get rid of these invaders in your home or office! Contact us today to learn more.


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