You have just found out that you have bed bugs. If your response is like many then you are ready to throw out the bed and get a new one. However, before you start pitching furniture there are several things you need to know and there is a proper way to dispose of items that will keep you from spreading problems even farther.
What You Need To Know.
Before you take the plunge into throwing your furniture or your bed away you do need to know several things that could effect your decision to get rid of these items.
- Getting rid of mattresses, box springs or foundations, bed frames, couches, or other furniture items will not get rid of the bed bugs. While many times bed bugs do live in these locations, they also live in cracks around base boards and window frames, under the face plates of near by electrical outlets, in closets, above your curtains, and even in the carpet, especially along the edge where it meets the base board.
- By dragging your furniture through your house you can spread bed bugs through the house as well. They are great hitch hikers and will get off on the way to the door. This means that a problem that was contained in one bedroom could end up in all the bedrooms, the living room, and other areas of the house. They may even hang out in rooms where they won't get food for awhile before migrating back to the bed room area. Bed bugs can live as long as 18 months without food and won't be bothered too much by the fact that you don't sleep in the living room or dining room. Here they can also hitch a ride back to your room, on YOU!
- Bed bugs detect their pray by sensing CO2 emissions (that you make when you breathe out), warmth, and moisture. They can detect you through the walls and will move back toward the room if they have ended up being transplanted in another area of the house.
- Bed bugs can also come in from outside. This means that as you are moving your furniture out to the curb they can be traveling large (or seemingly large) distances from the dumpster and back into the house. Or you could be spreading them to your neighbors house!
When Disposing of Furniture is the Right Thing To Do.
While there aren't many times that the recommendation is to get rid of one's furniture there are times that it might be a good idea. This is especially true if large populations of bed bugs are living in a piece of furniture and methods to keep them in or out isn't working well.
- The bed is really old. If your mattress is worn out and you were in need of a new bed before the bed bugs came along then now is a good time to get one. Worn out mattresses are likely to harbor even more hiding places then newer mattresses.
- The box springs or foundation isn't in good condition. If there are breaks in the foundation or either the foundation or the mattress has a torn portion in the cover then it is time to get a new bed.
- The frame has lots of cracks and crevices. If the frame offers a lot of great places to hide and isn't something you can seal then getting rid of it may be the best option.
- The couch is a place they are living and it has seen better days. If a piece of furniture has seen better days, has rips or tears, and is broken down this offers even more places for the bed bugs to hide.
The Proper Way to Dispose of Furniture.
While it isn't recommended that you start hauling everything to the curb if your furniture has seen better days and offers too many places to hide then it is a good idea to get rid of it. You want to make sure that you do so in a proper fashion so that you don't spread the bugs through your home, to your neighbors, or to any one who might take it off the curb before the trash collector does.
- Seal the mattresses and box springs or foundations. Any mattress that you are getting rid of should be well sealed. You can by a mattress cover, protector, or encasement that is like a giant bag. Slide the mattress into this and zip it up. Finally seal the area of the zipper with packing or duct tape to make sure that the bed bugs can't come through the zipper. This is a fast and easy way to seal the bed bugs into the mattress or box springs. This works when you are keeping the mattresses and box springs as well because the bed bugs are now trapped inside.
- Wrap other furniture items in polysheeting. You will need thick plastic sheeting to wrap other furniture items in. This will include bed frames, dressers, or couches. Carefully wrap the item up in its original room (so you don't spread the bugs). Duct tape it on to seal any and all creases and cracks.
- Small items can be placed in large plastic garbage bags. It is usually best to place it in a black garbage bag and duct tape it shut. Then place it in a white trash bag and tape that shut. By placing it in a white bag it will be easier to write on though with the right colors you can write on a black bag as well.
- Once your items have been sealed you can take them out of the house. Before you are done disposing of them though you should spray paint them or use marker to mark them. They should be marked "BED BUGS" or "Bed bug infestation" or something similar. This will let those who might take these items from the trash know that you are getting rid of them because of the bed bugs. That way you are not spreading the problem to other locations.
Bed bugs have become a large and growing problem around the world. You want to make sure that you are doing your part if you should end up with them. You don't want to spread them around your home, you don't want to spread them to your neighbors house (even your bad neighbor doesn't deserve bed bugs), and you don't want to spread them to unsuspecting trash pickers! By getting rid of bed bug items only when it is necessary and by making sure that they are sealed and marked properly you will be protecting yourself and others.