PUBLISHED ON June 17th, 2011
It can be hard to resist a good garage sale, especially if there is an item you need or the prices are too good to pass up. Unfortunately, when it comes to pest control, Portland garage sales and unwanted critters sometimes go hand in hand. Garage sale purchases are especially notorious for spreading bed bugs, which infest easily and are hard to get rid of.
If you are planning to hit the yard sales this summer, keep reading to learn what not to buy, what to inspect and how to take bed bug pest control into your own hands with some simple prevention techniques.
Know the signs of a bed bug infestation before going on a bargain hunt. Bed bugs resemble small apple seeds; some are so tiny they can fit through the teeth of a zipper. Small brown spots or streaks that may resemble dried blood are a telltale sign of bed bugs, as these spots are caused by their fecal matter. Your bed bug pest control efforts should include meticulously inspecting any items that interest you at a garage sale. If you see signs of bed bugs on one item, play it safe and assume that every item may have a hitchhiker.
New mattresses are expensive, but a bed bug infestation is even more costly. Stay away from mattresses, bedding and any other upholstered furniture the owner may have used in a bedroom. If concerned about pest control, Portland garage sale browsers are better off staying away from all mattresses, box springs, bed foundations, daybeds, futons, couches and headboards.
Play it safe and inspect anything that interests you at a garage sale for signs of pests. Pay particular attention to toys, bedding, curtains, linens, clothes, bags, luggage and bedroom furniture such as dressers. When bed bugs hide during the day, it is common for them to hide in the corners of dressers, drawers, closets and chairs. When checking out favorite garage sale items, perform a bed bug pest control inspection by looking in all the corners and cracks of furniture, all the seams in sewn items, and all the pockets of any bags. If a piece of lined luggage interests you, unzip the lining and inspect underneath it for signs of bed bugs.
There are a few reasons a household might sell all of its furniture. Examples include estate sales, moving sales – and bed bug infestations. Some homeowners may choose to get rid of all of their furniture during the bed bug pest control process, and a few might try to sell it to make an extra nickel.
If you are in the market for some new furniture and see a yard full of it, practice pest control Portland-style and ask the owners why they are selling it. Those who are moving or are part of an estate sale will be straightforward about this fact, but you should still inspect any items of interest.
Homeowners who tell you they replaced all their furniture and want to get rid of their old stuff may have had a bed bug problem. If you receive this response, casually ask the homeowners if they also replaced the carpet and painted to complete the makeover. If the homeowners confirm they did, this is a strong sign to walk away.
Place whatever you purchase at a garage sale in a plastic bag that you can seal or tie a knot at the top to close. This will prevent any stray bed bugs from infesting your car on the way home.
When you get home, do not immediately unpack your new swag. Instead, open the plastic bags in your garage and wash any fabric items with hot water, which will kill the bed bugs. If you purchased non-fabric items, vacuum them out and clean them well with a bleach-based cleanser. Complete your bed bug pest control efforts by thoroughly vacuuming any luggage you bought and washing everything you can in hot water.
Some garage sales offer great, once-in-a-lifetime deals. By practicing caution, you can bring home some new treasures that do not include any unpleasant surprises.
[ photo by: Eastlaketimes ]