Bed Bugs

It can be hard to resist a good garage/yard sale, especially if you are the thrifty type and love bargain hunting.  Perhaps there are items you have been looking for or the prices are too good to pass up. We at Alpha Home Pest Control know that sometimes discovered treasures and unwanted pests can go hand in hand.  Some may not realize that garage/yard sale purchases have been notorious for spreading bed bugs, which infest easily and are hard to get rid of.

This summer when you are out browsing the garage sales, follow our prevention tips on what to inspect to help avoid picking up unwanted hitchhikers on your new to you purchase.

Know the Signs

First off, play it safe.  No matter the item, assume it may have a hitchhiker and look for signs.  Know what to look for before you go.  Bed bugs are small and resemble an apple seed shape.  A telltale sign of bed bugs are small brown spots or streaks that may be dried blood.  These spots are bed bug fecal matter.  You should thoroughly inspect any item that has your interest.

What to avoid

New beds and mattresses are expensive and who doesn’t want to save some money!  But did you know that the costs of a bed bug infestation could be much more that the price of a new bed and mattress?  Avoid purchasing bed frames, mattresses, and bedding.  Bed bugs can hide in the cracks of the furniture and can be difficult to spot.  This rule also applies to bedroom furniture such as dressers and nightstands and other upholstered furniture.

What to inspect

Everything! It’s better to be safe than sorry. Inspect anything that interests you. Pay particular attention to toys, bedding, curtains, clothes, bags/ luggage and bedroom furniture.  Typically bed bugs hide during the day, it is common for them to hide in the corners of dressers, drawers, and chairs. When you find an item that interest you look at all the corners and cracks, but it has pockets or zippers be sure to check those too.

Rushing to get all furniture sold

Be cautious and use common sense when there is a house hold pushing to get rid of all the furniture.  Some logical reasons for this would be estate sales, moving sales and infestations of bed bugs.  There have been some people that thought if they just replaced everything in the house with new items including carpet that their bed bugs would be gone (with the furniture they sold to YOU). Of course not every estate sale or moving sale will have bed bugs, so ask questions!  Those who truly are moving or are part of an estate sale will have no reason not to be straight forward.  If they start acting nervous or their answers just don’t seem right, that’s a sign to walk away.

Wash it

Take plastic bags (that tie or zip closed) to place your purchases in.  This will be helpful just in case your new item actually does have hitchhikers.  As soon as you get home open the plastic outside, it’s a good idea to have to washer already filling up with HOT water ready to go, take your items out of the bag and immediately place them in the washer. If you bought non-fabric items or they cannot be placed in the washer, thoroughly clean them with a vacuum and wipe them down with a bleach based cleaner.

Remember to have fun and enjoy your bargain hunting, just be cautious of pesky hitchhikers and remember to inspect every item.