If you haven’t already, make sure to read about how you get bed bugs. Yes, there are a few very common ways that bed bugs can get into your home. However there is a way that not many people considered until recently. Read on so you know how to protect your home.
Used Goods Carry Risks
It’s easy to accept the fact that getting used clothing and other items from neighbors, thrift stores, tag sales, flea markets, etc carries a risk of bringing bed bugs into your home. The history of the items is a big unknown. You just don’t know if the items have been exposed to an infestation.
- Who owned them previously?
- Was there one owner or were there many owners?
- How were the items stored?
- How were they transported?
Chances are you don’t know the answer to those questions. Because you don’t know, you also don’t know if the items were exposed to an infestation.
If you’ve spent a little time reading this site already, you know why this is important. An uninfested item can easily become infested simply being in close to the infested item for a period of time. This all seems easy enough to accept and understand when it comes to used items. But what you maybe didn’t realize is that new items can expose you to the same risks.
New Goods Can Carry Similar Risks
“How can that be?” you wonder.
Well, how much do you really know about the things you buy? Again you must consider the history of the item. And I’m willing to bet that you have only a vague idea of how it was built, stored and transported before it came into your home.
Consider these examples.
New Mattress and Box Spring
You just had a new mattress and box spring delivered. (You didn’t buy a refurbished/rebuilt mattress did you?) Your old one had bed bugs. The delivery men kindly removed your mattress and box spring and put them in the truck. Then they brought your new mattress and box spring out of that same truck and brought it into your home.
The new mattress and box spring should’ve be fully wrapped in plastic. But were there any tears in the plastic? Remember, the new and used mattresses and box springs were all in the same truck. How many infested mattresses and box springs were in the truck? How long have your new mattress and box spring been riding around with potentially infested items or in a potentially infested truck? For that matter, how do you know new mattress and box spring weren’t assembled or stored unprotected in an infested location?
I’m guessing you’ve bought clothing at some point, brought it home and then decided to return it. You know that the store’s staff puts the returned items back out on the racks. Imagine somebody bought a pair of jeans, brought them into a bed bug infested home where they picked up bed bugs. Then the person brought the jeans back and the store’s sales staff put them back out onto the floor. Not only are those jeans possibly infested, other garments can now become infested with bed bugs.
Does that seem far fetched?
What to Do
Dealing with new items is not much different than dealing with used items. The catch though is that new items tend to fly under the radar entirely. We tend not to question their history. We just assume that they carry no risk and don’t bother giving it a second thought.
Although it might seem like I’m painting a horrific picture where bed bugs lurk everywhere, that’s not the case. No need to be paranoid. Just spend a few minutes on simple bed bug protection.
- Inspect the things that you bring into your home. Do this thoroughly and be careful not to touch the item you are inspecting to your clothes for any length of time. You don’t want bed bugs crawling onto you if the item is indeed infested.
- Put new (or used) clothing into the dryer on high heat for an hour to kill all stages of bed bugs.
- Give some thought to how an item was built, stored and transported. What are the chances it was exposed to bed bugs? If you think bringing the item into your home might expose you to bed bugs and you can’t put it your dryer or do a thorough inspection, call the retailer and find out how they protect you against bed bugs. For example, some mattress retailers won’t pick up used mattresses or box springs. Or they will but they will send a separate truck that only does pickups for used items.
Taking these precautions will go a long way in reducing the chances of picking up bed bugs on new goods you bring into the home.