Buying secondhand pieces of furniture or accepting hand-me-downs are sometimes irresistible especially if the furnishing is an antique masterpiece. Some families use these fittings as heirlooms to the younger members of the clan. But if your house is always the feasting place of pests, you should know how to prevent bed bugs when buying furniture and accepting it as gifts from friends and relatives.
As you know, pieces of furniture are one of the most convenient hideouts for bed bugs. It has countless crevices and cracks for hiding and darkness for added discreetness. If these pieces are placed near the sleeping area of the potential host, an infestation is inevitable.
So before you suffer from bites and sleepless nights, take time to consider these points before bringing in that glamorous nightstand into your home.
1. Take a look
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Whatever you’re buying, it’s a rule of thumb to inspect for possible damage and structural issues. This applies the most if you’re scouting for a pre-loved piece of furniture. Look for possible signs of bed bugs like dark spots from their feces, discarded skin, eggs, and other remains that may indicate a previous infestation. Female bugs tend to lay eggs on rough surfaces so make sure that you check this part too.
Always check the back, sides, and screw holes of the piece to ensure that there are no bugs taking a low-key hitch. For painted pieces of furniture, check for loose paint as this spot is where the pest tends to harbor. Bed bugs also hide on a stack of books so make sure to dust off the volumes.
2. Say no mattresses
If someone is offering you a secondhand mattress, think twice before accepting it. The number one hideouts of bugs are beddings and you wouldn’t know why that person is selling it or giving it away. it’s hard to detect bed bugs on mattresses as they can dig deep in the seams and hide from the direct light.
Any bedding sheet or mattress is highly prone to an infestation because the fibers of the fabric provide a suitable environment for the tiny critters. What you should remember is that the nymphs are still transparent in color, thus hard to detect visually if you’re thinking how to prevent bed bugs when buying furniture.
No matter how cheap it is, always consider buying a new one. You might end up spending more on pest extermination services if you accepted hand-me-downs.
3. Consider re-upholstery
Upholstered chairs are also good hideouts for the bugs since it contains the same fabric seams of a mattress. If you’re getting one of these, consider having it re-upholstered. The upholstery of the old furniture could have served as a paradise for the critters and some could still be surviving inside. The fully-grown bloodsuckers can survive more than a year without sipping even a single drop of blood.
For sure, you can have it treated, but some upholstered pieces have thick padding that even the steam can’t penetrate. If you can, avoid upholstered furniture and just buy a new one if this is what you’re looking for. In the case of antiques, you might want to seek professional help for the treatment.
You can risk buying this type of furniture but proceed at your own risk.
4. How to prevent bed bugs when buying furniture? Let them starve.
The nymphs or the young bugs have to sip blood every night with a frequency of once every ten minutes. If you’re buying an old furniture, you can let these starve by sealing the furniture with plastic and letting it sit outside your house. Place it under direct sunlight if possible without damaging the material. Intense heat can kill the bugs or at least eliminate a large portion of its population.
However, if the bugs harboring on the material are fully grown, you just can’t starve them out easily. Some may also have resistance to a certain level of heat. In that case, you should call an expert to treat the piece of furniture.
Don’t take chances on this one as the bugs would give you a hard time once they started an infestation.
5. Invest on hard surfaces
Hard surfaces or porous materials are the best choices if you’re buying secondhand furnishings. This is easier to treat if ever there is an infestation. Although there are cracks, the bugs can only hide in certain portions, unlike upholstered ones that are rich in seams.
Still, inspect the piece before putting your money it. Hard-surfaced pieces of furniture aren’t exempted from possible infestations and you might be bringing in a ticking time bomb of pest control problems in your house.
The absence of fabric on furnishings may cut the risk if an infestation but the condition inside your house might fuel it in the future. Clean it well before introducing it to your household as a way on how to prevent bed bugs when buying furniture.
6. Treat it first
If you’re bent into purchasing secondhand stuff for your house, make sure that you’re ready for the subsequent treatment that it will require. Pest control companies can provide you special approaches for pieces of furniture so you can make sure that no bugs will hitch inside and wreak havoc on your property.
Usually, pesticides and repellents are applied to the furnishings to poison the critters. Avoid using bug bombs or foggers as these would only drive the bugs away to some part of your property or the neighborhood. Sunlight is the most convenient but it’s not the absolute answer either. It’s best to let the professionals do the job.
Knowing how to prevent bed bugs when buying furniture is a crucial step in reducing the risk of an infestation. These materials could be carriers of a massive population of bugs that will soon get off and start a colony in your house. A single female bed bug is all it takes given that the critter is pregnant and ready to lay eggs.
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