Buying used furniture is a great way to obtain valuable pieces to add to your own home. But just because something looks nice on the outside doesn’t mean the inside is all the nicer, and most of the time it’s what’s on the inside is what matters. This is especially true for used furniture because if they are not well-maintained, then bed bugs can be present in and around them all the time.
Don’t undermine bed bugs just because they haven’t been observed to carry human pathogens. They are still troublesome for your skin and should be avoided at all costs. However, that doesn’t mean you have to stop buying used furniture altogether. You simply have to inspect them and eventually rid them of bed bugs if they appear to be infested. That might be hard to do at first, so to help you out, here’s how are some tips and procedures on how you can inspect used furniture.
The first crucial thing you need to remember when inspecting used furniture for bed bugs is to have the necessary tools. Things you will need include a torch or flashlight, a magnifying glass, and some white latex gloves. The flashlight is for getting the proper illumination to see the tiny pests. Given that they’re tiny (and we mean tiny, about 5 millimeters to a centimeter max), a magnifying glass is also crucial.
Meanwhile, the pair of white gloves serve two purposes. The first is for your protection because bed bugs can bite, and it might feel a bit loathsome to feel them crawling on your skin. The second reason is, again, for increased visibility. White contrasts pretty well with bed bugs that have a dark red, almost black, color. Sometimes they also appear to have an amber-like yellow tinge. It all depends on the species of bug you’re dealing with.
Now that you have the necessary tools, the next thing you need is a white sheet. This can be made out of paper, fabric or anything white that can be spread over the area underneath the furniture you are inspecting. Just like with the white latex gloves, the white sheet is there so that you don’t have a hard time visually inspecting the furniture. Just place it on top of the white sheet and conduct your investigation then.
One way of examining is by using your flashlight along with your magnifying glass to give the fabric or material of your furniture a close inspection. Bed bugs are known to live and hide in the nooks and crannies of your bed or chair, so if you’re having a hard time seeing them, try giving it a nice shake to see if some bugs fall out. They should then be almost impossible to see thanks to the white sheet.
Don’t be too alarmed by this tip because you won’t be using your credit card for anything financial. The reason why you need a credit card is that you need to run it through the surface of the furniture you are inspecting. Cracks, grooves, small holes, and other tiny crevices have been known to be prime bed bug hiding spots. Using your hands for inspection might not be effective, and the good old’ shake method can be misleading because the bed bugs won’t fall out if they are inside these small spaces.
Run the credit card, or any type of card for this matter as long as it’s stiff, through the surface once or twice and then check the white sheet underneath if any have fallen. You should also be on the lookout for bed bug feces, which looks like very tiny black pellets. You can also find shed exoskeletons.
If the previously mentioned methods fail to yield anything substantial, then that could only mean two things. It’s either the furniture in question is clean (which is great news for you) or the bed bugs are proving to be difficult and are hiding in the deepest parts of the furniture (which is the worst-case scenario). Either way, it would be beneficial for you to be thorough, so the next best thing to do is to disassemble the furniture down to its basic parts, if possible.
After disassembly, apply the white sheet and credit card methods to each part to inspect it properly. The great thing about this is that you can also check the furniture’s actual physical integrity. Maybe one of the legs is damaged, or maybe there are signs of termite infestation too. All these things can potentially affect the quality of your life, so practice due diligence and be thorough.
If you are not that motivated to do the physical labor required to inspect on your own or don’t have the time due to work or school, then a simple way to know if there are bed bugs in the furniture you bought is to ask the previous owners. Most people who sell furniture have no motivation to lie about something like that. In any case, if they do say that they noticed bed bugs, then you can go straight into applying pest control techniques.
Bed bugs can prove to be a nuisance to you, especially because they are most active at night. Most people get bitten while sleeping, so apart from physically inspecting used furniture you’ve bought, it might be too late when you start realizing that there are bed bugs present in your home. Always inspect used furniture, so that you’ll have a good night’s sleep all night, every night.