How To Check Used Furniture For Bedbugs

Most of the time, thinking about bedbugs isn’t something we’d normally do. Hitting up that yard sale with your friends looking for some unique and interesting furniture or clothing can be a weekly fun activity that can save a bundle on certain items you’ve been looking for. Bed bugs seem to be a pretty new phenomenon for most of us and have only recently showed up in the news.

Think back a few years, did you hear about these pests much? Probably not. Unfortunately, the proper conditions have led to them booming in population all across the world. Banned chemicals that once decimated them haven’t been used in ages and people simply forgot they even existed for the most part. That little “don’t let the bed bugs bite” was a cute little saying. Today, it’s a reality.

The number one way these critters will enter your home is by hiding in that bag of toddler clothes you simply couldn’t resist, that amazing expensive mattress you just found for $20 and things of this nature. A little time spent examining used items followed by proper technique right when you get home can make all the difference in the world.

Examining Used Furniture

Before you load up that couch, mattress or box spring, take some time to really give it a good look over. Is there holes here and there? Peek inside and see if anything seems out of the ordinary. Bed bugs love to live in rips and tears because they know they are safe there. Use a flashlight and take a quick peek. If anything odd is there, you’ll be able to see it. Check all surface areas and crevices for droppings, exoskeletons and live bugs.

Use Your Dryer

If you have just found an amazing pile of clothing or bedding you have to have, don’t even mess with it until you’ve tossed it into the dryer for an hour. Nothing can survive 1 hour of high heat and this should be a rule of thumb for any used clothing. Bed bugs aren’t the only pests around. You could also be bringing home fleas, lice or other critters.

If you live somewhere with a  high outside temperature, you can actually use large black contractor bags that hold sometimes as much as 90 gallons worth of clothing. You can cut and tape these in such a way that you can fit entire beds or couches inside. A couple hours in direct sunlight with these black bags can be even more effective than a dryer. If the outside temperature is 85 degrees or higher and you set this in direct sunlight it can reach extreme temperatures inside and nothing will survive.

Skip It

If there’s a particular item you really want but have a strong suspicion it’s infested with something you don’t want to deal with, you always have the option to skip it. There will be more yard sales next week and you can probably find something just as nice. You don’t want to end up being covered in bites for a winter jacket you won’t even wear for months.

How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs In The Mattress

Finding any insect in your home can be stressful but most can be simply killed or removed and that’s the end of it. More intrusive pests like ants may take a little more work but aren’t difficult to overcome. Finding bed bugs in your mattress, however, can really freak you out. This isn’t something that happens every day and can be quite jarring when you realize this is where those little red bumps on your body are coming from.

Bed bugs were pretty much wiped out almost half a century ago in the US but they’ve come back with force in some areas. Large cities with a high influx of seasonal workers to small towns that have a lot of yard sales can be hit equally as hard so it’s difficult to say any specific area is more prone to bed bugs than another. It’s wherever they’ve been spread.

Discovering The Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs On A Mattress

Before you even know you have them you’ll probably notice small red bumps now and then on your body. Bed bugs seem to prefer areas close to your face like your chest, shoulders and upper arms but they can strike anywhere. Most random insects bite in non-specific patterns here and there but bed bugs travel in straight lines biting as they go. If you find recurring bites and they seem linear, bed bugs could very well be the culprit.

To confirm that this is the actual source of your bites, you can take a couple easy steps. Bed bugs mostly come out at night so a thorough inspection during the day can save you another night of bites. Take a flashlight and shine it on your sheets/blankets and bare mattress while looking at eye level. If your bed is directly on the floor this could be difficult and you should always use a bedframe if possible, it can actually help keep bugs from reaching your bed in the first place.

Examine your bedding and mattress closely with your flashlight switching angles now and then. What you’re looking for is tiny yellow/brown smears that are the bugs’ droppings as well as exoskeletons, blood specks and the bugs themselves. They should be relatively easy to spot. Bed bugs are oval shaped and yellow/brown/red depending on various things. Once you spot even one, you know your mattress is probably infested and you can take action.

Eliminating The Pests

Now that you know you’ve got them what do you do? Unless you have an extremely expensive mattress, throw it out right now. You might want to slap a note on it or shred it up nicely with scissors or a knife so other people don’t take it home. A nice plop of peanut butter should keep yardsalers and used furniture vendors at bay also.

This doesn’t mean you’re done. You’ll have to toss that box spring as well and do a very thorough cleaning of your home, especially your room. Most people should definitely consult a professional extermination service at some point after you’ve discovered bed bugs or any persistent pest to ensure you’ve gotten rid of them yourself or to schedule a deep cleaning and treatment. You might need multiple treatments if bed bugs are prolific in  your area to keep them from returning. Be wary of used mattresses and furniture you bring home too. You might want to quarantine it in your garage and inspect it first.

Getting Rid of Bed Bugs – 10 Places Bed Bugs Love To Hide!

Anyone who has ever had problems with bed bugs knows that it can be a lengthy process that requires patience and plenty of follow up. One of the reasons that many people have trouble killing bed bugs is because they forget to treat many of the places bed bugs use as secret hiding places.

While it is true that they gravitate towards warmth and blood, there are specific areas of the home that must be pre-treated, treated and followed up on in order to fully get rid of bed bugs. Today we’re covering 10 placed that bed bugs are often found and need to be on your checklist for bed bug treatment plan.

1. Mattress

Since you spend 1/3 of the day in bed asleep it is very important to fully inspect and treat any mattresses in your home. Use a magnifying glass to check for bed bugs and eggs on all sides of the mattress, paying careful attention to tufts and folds where bed bugs might go unseen. .

Look carefully at products used to get rid of bed bugs because many sprays and powders are unsafe for direct use on mattresses.

2. Box Springs

When getting rid of bed bugs many people disregard the box spring which is unfortunate because it provides a good hiding place for bed bugs. Because it is hollow there is plenty of room for bed bugs to hide. Hold a light up to the transparent fabric on the box springs to check for eggs and bugs.

Treat all sides of the box springs and if you buy encasements, make sure to get one for box springs.

3. Bed Frame

One of the reasons getting rid of bed bugs is so hard is because they hide everywhere! The nooks and crannies and crevices of bed frames provide a dark and warm  place to hide. This is why any bed bug treatment plan you use should entail disassembling your bed frame and treating the entire frame as well as head and foot boards.

This means you will have to completely dismantle your bedroom furniture in order to treat it and encase it, when necessary.

4. Drawers

Most of us have drawers in nearly every room of our house including the kitchen, bathroom and even hallways. These are places most people don’t think to inspect and treat for bed bugs, but this is favorite hiding place for bed bugs thanks to its warm dark climate.

Remove all drawers that have signs of bed bugs, eggs, blood or bed bug feces. Treat them particularly in the corners and hard to reach edges where bed bugs are likely to hide. To successfully get rid of bed bugs remember to treat the underside of the drawers as well.

5. Curtains

Curtains can easily be laundered in hot water to help get rid of bed bugs. However you may also want to vacuum prior to a heat treatment. If curtains have special cleaning instructions you can use a steamer to kill any bed bugs or eggs that are there or have them dry cleaned.

Before using any bed bug products on curtains, do a spot test so the fabric doesn’t stain or tear.

Drapes, furniture and baseboards are prime bed bug hiding spots.

6. Pictures, Wall Fixtures & Hangings

Any treatment plan for getting rid of bed bugs will require you to consider your walls as potential hiding places. Remove all photos, wall hangings and other fixtures including light fixtures. Walls can provide a great source of heat and a great dark place to hide.

Treat the wall fixtures and photos then seal them up until treatment is over.

7. Baseboards

Treating baseboards to get rid of bed bugs is a two-step process. First you will need to treat the space underneath baseboards to eliminate a path for bed bugs to travel from one room to the next. Then you will need to seal up any cracks in or under the baseboards to disallow more bed bugs from entering your home.

8. Carpets

Once you have inspected your carpets you will need to vacuum all areas thoroughly and treat with steam. When possible you should lift up carpets to treat corners and edges of the floor with a spray, dust or powder to kill bed bugs. Keep carpets (including bathroom and area rugs) vacuumed regularly to permanently get rid of bed bugs.

9. Upholstered Furniture

In addition to bed, box springs and carpets you will need to inspect and treat all upholstered furniture in your home. This means cotton, wool, suede, polyester and any other cloth material. Furniture like leather may seem exempt however the corners and underneath the sofas will still need to be treated. This includes dining room chairs and ottomans.

10. Legs

Furniture legs provide a dark hiding place for bed bugs during the daytime. During treatment of bed bugs you need to inspect all furniture legs, wheels, posts and casters. If possible remove the legs and clean thoroughly before replacing. These are good places to lay eggs because they are rarely disturbed.

Make sure you all 10 of these locations to your bed bugs treatment checklist to get rid of bed bugs permanently!

Top 5 Cheap Ways To Kill Bed Bugs

Bed bugs can be found anywhere, both indoors as well as in nature. Bed bugs are drawn to the blood and warmth common to humans as well as animals. In general bed bugs don’t have a preference as long as they have a warm place to stay and a source of blood to feed on.

Because of their small size bed bugs can easily hitch a ride on birds, animals or human clothing and luggage. Before you even realize you have a bed bug bite, you can have an infestation all over your home. Ignore the problem of bed bugs will not make them go away, however knowing what kills bed bugs can help you get a jump start on eliminating them from your home.

Killing Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are sneaky creatures that unexpectedly come into your home and lay eggs in hidden locations and bite you while you sleep. Although spotting them is difficult you will be pleased to learn that there are several effective methods for killing bed bugs.

Many of the methods to get rid of bed bugs can be easily found in your home and local home improvement stores. Use one or more of these tips to kill bed bugs in your home.

Heat

Perhaps the most well know way to kill bed bugs is by using heat. Direct heat aimed at the bed bugs or eggs—for a minimum of 30 seconds—will kill them on the spot and prevent the eggs from hatching.

For items that can be washed, place them on a high heat setting of at least 120° F. Some recommend heat as high as 140° F but when in doubt just set the water temperature to “hot”. When clothes have been cycled in the wash, dry them on high heat. Run through dryer on high heat for 2 cycles.

Direct heat from a hair dryer aimed at the bed bugs or their eggs will kill them. Remember to keep the dryer on high heat and aimed at them for at least 30 seconds.

Oxygen Deprivation

Bed bugs cannot survive without oxygen, they need it the same us humans. Depriving them of oxygen kills bed bugs relatively quickly. This is why most bed bug treatment plans involve placing infected items in plastic bags or large encasements.

After you have cleaned items, placing them in an oxygen free environment will kill off any remaining bed bugs. Use encasements or air tight plastic bags or containers.

Insecticide

Insecticides in dust, powder or spray form can help kill bed bugs in any area of the home. The question when using insecticides is, do I call a pro or do it myself?

Using a licensed pest control agent can ensure that you get an effective treatment plan that kills bed bugs and their eggs. However hiring a professional requires a significant amount of money that includes follow up visits without any guarantee.

There are insecticides you can purchase anywhere bug repellent is sold, however finding exactly what you need to get rid of bed bugs can take some time. Insecticides intended for ants, mosquitoes or cockroaches will not work; it must be specifically for bed bugs.

Steam

We know that heat is a good method of killing bed bugs but a lesser known form of heat that works as well is steam. A steam vacuum is a great way to kill bed bugs taking up residence on hard to wash items such as curtains, couch skirts and corners.

A steam vacuum is a great heat alternative to kill bed bugs when you don’t want to damage certain materials. This is especially true of fine fabrics such as lace or silk; you can get rid of the bed bug infestation without damaging the fabric.

If you don’t own a steam vacuum they can be rented from home improvement stores.

Permethrin

Permethrin is a commonly used household pesticide often found in bed bug sprays, dusts and powders. If you’re looking for a chemical treatment plan to get rid of bed bugs, make sure the products you choose contain this ingredient.

Permethrin is related to pyrethrum an organic compound which is known to repel arthropods. This chemical is relatively safe and has a lower evaporation rate than other chemicals found in bed bug repellent. Using this chemical to kill bed bugs requires that you spray all the rooms on the same day so there is no “safe zone” for the bed bugs to flee to.

Don’t wait until you have everything you need to tackle a bed bug problem. Start with what you have on hand and then create a plan to get rid of bed bugs for good!

5 Natural Methods for Killing Bed Bugs

Although it was previously thought that bed bugs had been eradicated decades ago, many cities all over the Western world have experienced a surge in bed bug infestations. With the increasing amount of bed bug infestations around the globe it is a near certainty that we will all have to deal with them at some point in the future.

When your goal is killing bed bugs you want to choose a method that is in line with how you live your life. If you prefer natural and organic treatments for your home and your family then you probably want to find a natural method for getting the bed bugs out of your home.

It is important to note that none of these methods for killing bed bugs will get rid of them alone. You will need to use at least several different methods together in order to get rid of live bugs and eggs as well.

Extreme Temperatures

Most people are well aware of the fact that extremely hot temperatures are effective for killing bed bugs. As long as the temperature is at least 120° F you can kill any live bed bugs.

This means when you wash your bedding, clothing, toys and pillows that you should choose a high heat that will effectively kill bed bugs. The same is true when you dry any items infected by bed bugs. Using a steam vacuum or iron on mattresses and box springs is another effective way to kill bed bugs.

The lesser known method for killing bed bugs however is extreme cold. Extreme cold, while effective, is a much longer process than extreme heat. Freezing temperatures–32° F or below—take about a week or two to kill bed bugs effectively, which is why heat is the most commonly used method.

Tea Tree Oil

Natural methods to kill bed bugs are difficult to come by but so necessary because pesticides and insecticides cannot be used in areas where your skin comes in contact. So where does that leave infested areas like your bed and sofa? That’s where tea tree oil comes in.

Place tea tree oil and water into a spray bottle and use it to lightly mist your mattress, box spring, pillows and upholstered furniture. You can mist it anywhere that bed bugs have been spotted but especially on locations where your skin touches the infected surfaces.

After cleaning, scrubbing and vacuuming, tea tree oil will help you kill all bed bugs in your home.

All Natural Insecticides

One of the reasons that people have such difficulty killing bed bugs is because they can develop immunity to professional grade pesticides and insecticides. This is unfortunate because you will need to use more to kill the bugs, which means you and your family are coming in contact with higher levels of these chemicals.

There are however, all-natural insecticides that you can use safely until you have killed all bed bugs in your home. While it is true that bed bugs can build up an immunity to all natural insecticides, you can use them over and over again to kill bed bugs and their eggs without harming your family or pets.

Clean Thoroughly

The first step to killing bed bugs in your home once you have identified them is to clean your home thoroughly. This means vacuuming all floors and corners and using an extension to get into sofas cushions, cracks and wall crevices. Then you will have to scrub and clean walls, light and power fixtures, drawers and bedding.

Although bed bugs are not attracted to filth, thoroughly cleaning your home will help you locate and get rid of bed bugs, eggs and any leftover fecal matter. You can choose all natural cleaning products to make sure you are not using harmful chemicals to kill bed bugs.

Suffocation

Once your home has been cleaned thoroughly you can kill any remaining bed bugs by suffocating them using encasements and large plastic bags. Take all the clean items that can be placed in bags or encasements and cover them completely, making sure there is no way for live bugs to escape.

By depriving the bed bugs of oxygen you are depriving them of life, so after a few weeks you can be certain that you have completely eliminated your bed bug infestation. The other benefit of this natural method of killing bed bugs is that you don’t have to get rid of your furniture and clothing.