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Don’t Discard Bed Bug-Infested Furniture

By Chris Williams on June 18, 2013.
Bed bugs in mattress

Question

We just had our follow-up treatment for a bed bug infestation. Hopefully we’re done with them. Now I want to get a new bed and new bedroom furniture to make sure we don’t get re-infested from the old stuff. The pest control technician said not to do that. Why?

Answer

The technician is confident that he has eliminated your bed bug problem, in which case there is no good reason to get rid of your bed and other furniture. Unless you truly want to redecorate anyway, it would be a waste of money. If there are still bed bugs in your home (or if they were later reintroduced), your new bed and furniture is then just as likely to become infested as if you had the old furniture in place.

What Not to do if You Had Bed Bugs

Some other “no-no’s” regarding bed bugs and furniture:

  • If you have bed bugs in your bedroom, don’t try to escape the problem by sleeping on the couch or in another room. You’ll just move the bed bugs into these other rooms as well, either on your bedding and belongings or when they wander looking for a new host. You’ll make control more difficult.
  • There’s no reason to take infested furniture to the dump either. If you’re having a pest control professional treat for bed bugs, your furniture should soon be bed bug-free. If you’re not treating for bed bugs and you discard your furniture, any replacement furniture will soon be infested as well and you’ll just be back where you started. Bed bugs are not just in furniture and beds, but will hide in all kinds of inaccessible cracks and crevices in a room.
  • If you have bed bug-infested beds or furniture, don’t take them out to the curb or the dumpster. Someone else is likely to pick up that furniture and take bed bugs to their home. If you must discard infested beds or furniture, wrap them and mark them as bed bug-infested, or damage them, to keep someone else from going through what you’ve had to go through. Slash mattresses and box springs and break up furniture before wrapping it in duct tape and plastic. Mark “BED BUGS!” on the plastic wrap. Sealing the infested items in plastic before you move them also prevents bed bugs and eggs from being dropped in other locations as the items are transported. If items are going to the dumpster or the curb, try to time your disposal with the trash pickup so they don’t sit for long.

If your pest control company hasn’t already suggested it, I recommend that you install bed bug encasements on your mattress and box spring as added insurance against reinfestation. These zippered covers keep any bed bugs in the bedding from getting out to bite you, and they make it easier to see and control any newly introduced bed bugs. Make sure you buy encasements specifically designed for bed bugs.

Photo credit: louento.pix / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

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