The tiny pests are a newly growing problem, and some good advice is to be careful when buying used furniture. How can you spot bed bugs if you're looking for an item at a yard sale or garage sale? |
Exterminators universally recommend against buying used mattresses or taking any furniture off the street—ever. That includes every kind of furniture. Bedbugs will hide and lay eggs in almost any material. Sofas, dressers, frames, and lamps all can be contaminated; the bugs have a special predilection for the tiny nooks and imperfections in fabric and wood. Exterminator Mark Hill advises against buying used wooden headboards. Examine used furniture thoroughly for tiny spots of dried blood and fecal matter, which looks like poppy seeds.
Charities are dealing with the bed bug issue, too. They have some valuable advice to share. "You look at the seams, and if the seams have little, tiny spots -- usually that's a by-product of bed bugs," Goodwill's Ramon Garza told Eyewitness News. Garza also recommends looking at any furniture cushions. "Pick up the little binding around it," he says. "You'll see a little trail, or you'll see the little, tiny bugs."
Bedbugs don't eat food like roaches or rodents do; they eat blood. The telltale signs of their presence are itchy welts on your body, frequently in clusters of three or more. You might see tiny red or brown marks on your sheets where you've crushed bugs in the night. If you suspect infestation, check under carpets and in moldings, and survey mattresses, box springs, and bed frames. Look for feces and shed skins. And look for nymphs:
Bed bugs are about one-fourth inch long, according to the California Department of Health Services. Other experts describe the insects as white to light tan, oval-shaped and flat. That size and shape makes it easy for bed bugs to hide, and they're hard to spot.
"Bed bugs, while a significant social problem, do not transmit disease to humans," a DHS report says. "However, bed bug bites will cause red, raised, itchy reactions to the skin." Experts say the pests can turn up, no matter how clean an area is. The tiny bugs can spread by "hitch-hiking" on things like clothes, suitcases, and furniture. He said it's still possible to offer furniture -- they just take the extra precautions. And consumers can still take advantage of used furniture deals, by taking some precautions of their own.
For more control measures, check out the links below:
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