How to Check Used Furniture for Bed Bugs

It is important to check your furniture thoroughly for bed bugs. It’s easy to forget about, but stores like Goodwill do not check for bedbugs. You have to do it yourself.

And you really don’t want a beg bug infestation if you can possibly avoid it.

Here are the basics of how to check used furniture for bed bugs:

  • Make sure you check every seam and crevice with a strong flashlight for visible signs
  • Look for reddish-blach dots, which are their excretions
  • Also, look for apple-seed-shaped husks, as bed bugs molt several times and leave these behind

In this article, we’ll go over how to check used furniture for bed bugs, and what types of furniture you need to focus on. After we’re done, you can be confident you won’t inadvertently bring bed bugs along with your next mid-century gem!

What Type of Used Furniture Can Bed Bugs Live In?

Bed bugs famously infest beds, mattresses, box springs, and the like. It’s in their name, after all! But that isn’t the only thing they target!

There’s much more to worry about.

Even though bed bugs don’t prefer to live in wood or even metal furniture, they do make their nests in wood furniture. Because bed bugs are very flat, they can squeeze into any small space or crack in wood furniture and make their nest there.

Little nooks, ledges, cracks, holes drilled for fasteners to be insured, etc. — all these places are perfect spots for bed bugs to hide.

Little nooks, ledges, cracks, holes drilled for fasteners to be insured, etc. — all these places are perfect spots for bed bugs to hide.

If you are looking to buy used wood furniture, it is wise to look for pieces with flat and hard surfaces to be safe. Mid-century furniture, with its clean lines and general lack of ornamentation, is good.

Before buying any used wood furniture, use the same guidelines as fabric furniture to look for visual signs of their presence.

You should remove any drawers and inspect them inside and out for signs indicating a bed bug infestation. Look at the bottom of the furniture, especially where the legs or feet are attached to the main frame.

Furthermore, after inspecting it for any signs, clean any wood furniture pieces thoroughly before you bring them into your home or office. If there are any signs of infestation like bed bug fecal stains or left-over casings, skip the piece and say a prayer of thanks that you noticed the issue before you brought it home.

If you absolutely must have the piece, get the help of a professional pest control expert before you use that furniture in your living space.

How to Tell Whether Used Furniture Has Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are masters at hiding out. They are nocturnal, and it’s tough to get them to show themselves during the day.

So you will have to look deep and thoroughly for signs of their presence. Let’s take a closer look at how to identify signs of the presence of bed bugs in used furniture.

You will feel much better if you know what to look for and can do a proper inspection of any type of furniture. This inspection is a must if you don’t want to infest your home with these unwelcome bugs.

Where Was The Furniture Stored?

Before buying used furniture from a private person or a secondhand shop, find out where the furniture was stored. If it was stored in a container or storage facility with other furniture, you could have a problem. 

What Are the Signs You Need to Look For?

Because it won’t be easy to spot these bugs, you need to look for signs as proof that they are present in the furniture. Some of these signs can be seen with a strong flashlight while you are inspecting the furniture for bed bugs, but a magnifying glass is helpful.

You will also find some other signs if you missed the visible indications of infestation while inspecting the furniture. Hopefully, you can identify the infestation before going through with the purchase.

  • Bed bugs reproduce by laying tiny eggs that look like grains of rice that hatch after some time. Discarded egg remains are a strong sign of bed bug presence.
  • It is also true that bed bugs molt about five times in their life cycle, and this shed skin remains in their nest.
  • Look for light-colored shells or pieces of skin that indicates shed bed bug skin. sometimes, you may find a lot.
  • Because their main diet is your tasty, tasty blood, that is what they will excrete in the form of observable dark dots. You often find it on bedding, but you can find it on furniture as well.
  • You can also smell the fabric of the furniture to determine whether it is moist or has a moldy smell to it. These scent glands release a type of pheromone that can easily be smelled if you know what to look for.
  • Another thing to look for if you are already using this furniture is red stains, possibly indicating a bug that has been accidentally squashed. The red stain – which is the host’s blood – will only be there if the bugs are squashed while they are feeding. 
  • White spots that look like rice can also be a sign of shed skin and discarded egg shells and are sometimes a bit shiny.
  • Itchy red welts in a line or zig-zag pattern on any part of your body can be a sure sign that there are bed bugs and they are feeding.
  • Remove this infested furniture from your home immediately and get the help of a pest control professional to prevent the spread.

Where to Check for Signs of Bed Bug Infestation

Finding bed bugs will not be easy, but don’t despair. When you conduct this thorough search, make use of a strong light source so you don’t miss anything in the dark corners.

When buying a piece of used furniture, ensure you don’t sit on it or touch it too much before inspecting it. This will help to prevent your clothes from being contaminated and the danger of spreading it to other places.

Additionally, use latex gloves when you inspect the furniture for bugs to make sure there will be no cross-contamination.

  • If it is a fabric couch, start by searching every loose pillow that comes with it; search the seams and the zippers.
  • Pull the zipper apart to see if you can find any of the signs that indicate the presence of a bed bug infestation.
  • If it is a solid foam pillow, remove the case and search the foam for any signs you can find.
  • When you are done with every pillow, start with the fabric of the backrest and look under buttons and in every seam.
  • The armrests are also a potential hiding place for the bed bugs because they give easy access to their food source (you).
  • Because people place their arms on the armrests, they provide the bed bugs quick and easy access to blood.
  • The next area to check is the seating under the pillows which comes with many hiding places for bed bugs to crawl in.
  • Loose pieces of fabric and even tight seams on the seating provide ample hiding space for these pests.
  • The next step is to search the back of the couch, which is, in most cases, completely covered with fabric.
  • Check the seams and all nooks and crannies of the fabric that covers the back of the couch for any signs.
  • When you are done with all those areas, it is time to turn it upside down so you can look at the bottom.
  • Here you will find the legs and feet, as well as the fabric that covers the bottom, which will be, in most cases, muslin.
  • If it is a bed base covered with fabric, give it a thorough look over, and the mattress as well.
  • All types of furniture, but particularly bedroom furniture, should be thoroughly searched in this manner to see if you can find signs of bed bug presence.
  • Any place that is dark and warm and not exposed to light can be a potential hiding place for bed bugs.

If you find no signs after a thorough investigation of your furniture, search again until you are satisfied there are none. If there are no signs at all, it is safe to assume there are no bed bugs, and you can freely and comfortably use the furniture.

If there are no signs at all, it is safe to assume there are no bed bugs, and you can freely and comfortably use the furniture.

What to Do When You Find Any of the Signs

If you find any of the mentioned signs on the furniture, don’t panic. It doesn’t necessarily mean bed bugs are still present.

These signs can indicate that they used to be present or that they have moved to another place or piece of furniture. But particularly with older furniture, the infestation could have occurred decades ago.

When you are buying used furniture, speak to the owner to find out about the signs you find on the furniture. It can be that the owner had a problem and got rid of it themselves or hired a professional service.

It is always better to be safe than sorry! So if you find any signs, show them to the owner and strongly reconsider buying that furniture. By not purchasing that piece of furniture, even at a bargain price, you save yourself a lot of trouble down the line.

If you already own the furniture, you can use this handy product that is effective against bed bugs and other types of insects. If the infestation is severe, it is best to use professional pest control services to help get rid of it efficiently.