Flea Market Find Becomes Bed Bug Nightmare

“The little white nightstand will be perfect in my daughter’s room,” that’s what Amanda Thor remembers thinking when she paid $10 for it at a flea market in St. Charles, Illinois, west of Chicago.

“The first time we knew something was wrong we saw a bed bug here by the leg of the nightstand,” she said. At the time she didn’t know that’s what it was. She thought it was just a little bug that had wandered in from outside. She squashed it and went on with her day.

A few days later her daughter Ellie woke up with a dozen “mosquito” bites on her body. Then they started biting Amanda and her newborn daughter. They weren’t mosquitoes; they were bed bugs, and they turned the next three weeks into a nightmare for Amanda and her family. It didn’t take them long to trace the infestation to the new nightstand. That $10 nightstand wound up costing the family $3,000 in exterminator fees and replaced belongings.

With the help of a professional exterminator, Amanda’s home is now bed bug free, but the scars remain. She still has nasty bite marks on her legs and brown stains on her mattress from the bugs’ droppings. Amanda and her family were lucky. By promptly calling an exterminator they were able to keep the infestation from spreading through their entire home. Bed bugs have been found in all 50 states. Pest control experts report a 75% increase in bed bug calls over the past five years.

Gone are the days when it’s safe to pick up furniture at a garage sale, flea market or off the curb without a thorough and careful inspection. Bed bugs creep into tiny cracks and crevices in furniture or into cushions. Before you bring second-hand furnishings into your home:

  • Look for evidence of live bugs. Don’t bring it home if you see anything remotely suspicious.
  • Look for brown dots or smears where surfaces meet or at the edges of cushions. Check all surfaces, especially inside drawers and underneath.
  • Scrub all surfaces with cleaner and a stiff brush to dislodge any possible bed bug eggs. They are very tiny, pearly white and can be laid singly or in clusters.
  • Keep your purchase isolated and away from other furnishings in a garage or basement. Tightly enclose it in well-sealed plastic and inspect it again in a few days for signs of bed bugs. There’s no point in spraying it with household insecticide; it’s just not strong enough to kill bed bugs.
  • There’s no guarantee your purchase will be bed bug free even after taking these precautions, but you stand a better chance.

If you simply can’t help yourself and you do wind up bringing bed bugs home with your new treasure, call the bed bug experts at Stern Environmental Group immediately. The faster you call, the easier it will be to contain and eradicate bed bugs from your home. Click the post title for more information about this annoying pest and what you can do to protect yourself and your family.