Old sofa discarded in an alley, surrounded by trash and broken glass, against red brick wall

Why You Should Think Twice Before Trash Picking

What could be better than free furniture? We’ve all passed by a chair or desk sitting on the curb and thought, “Why would someone throw this away?” It always seems like a great find, and there’s no better price than free. However, taking home those pieces of furniture can have consequences you didn’t predict- namely, hidden bed bugs.

There May Be A Reason It Was Thrown Away…

“Why would someone throw this away?” is a good question, but it could have an unpleasant answer. In extreme cases of bed bugs, it can sometimes be best to throw out furniture or other personal items that were affected. The awesome couch sitting on the curb could actually be the perfect bed bug habitat.

Is Furniture From Multi-Tenant Buildings Safe?

Be especially cautious if the furniture is sitting in front of an apartment building. Bed bugs can spread rapidly through an apartment through the walls. Unfortunately, even if the furniture came from a unit that wasn’t infested, one or two bed bugs could have stowed away in it, and that’s really all it takes to cause a big problem. 

How Do I Know If the Furniture Has Bed Bugs?

If you choose to take the furniture anyways, you need to check for signs of bugs before loading it up and taking it home. First, check and see if it’s the only thing being thrown out. If there’s just a couch on the curb, it may be safe to take. However, watch out if there’s also an ottoman, some curtains, and a chair. Unless there’s something wrong, people don’t usually throw out a bunch of their furniture at once.

Next, visually inspect the furniture and look for telltale signs of bed bugs. If you see black spots, leave it- this is likely bed bug feces, and the bugs aren’t too far away. Be extra careful with mattresses and other bedroom furniture. Bed bugs come out and eat while you’re sleeping, so if there is a bed bug infestation, they will most likely occupy bedroom furniture.  

I Think It’s Safe. Now What?

If you’ve inspected the furniture thoroughly and there don’t appear to be any signs of bed bugs, great! But you still need to be careful and take some preventative actions when you get home. If you picked up a chair, couch, or something else with a cloth cover, throw it in the dryer on high heat (do not wash it first) for about 25 minutes just in case you missed something. Bed bugs will not survive in the heat. When they spend 25 minutes at 109 degrees, they’re almost guaranteed to die. The typical dryer can reach 109 degrees easily. You’re typically a bit safer with wood or plastic, as there aren’t as many hiding places for the bed bugs. Still, it never hurts to wipe them down before you bring them inside your home. 

What If I Do End Up With Bed Bugs?

Let’s say you did everything right- you checked the couch before you took it home, you threw the cover in the dryer, and you still ended up with bed bugs. Don’t worry. If you are looking for a safe way to get rid of bed bugs, look into a bed bug heat treatment. This bed bug extermination process gets rid of bed bugs in just one day and won’t fill your home with fumes! Contact Bed Bug BBQ today for a FREE quote and inspection at (216) 221- 1227 or through our website! Check out our other bed bug informational resources on identification, prevention, and eradication.

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