We’ve talked before about the dangers of buying second hand. Used clothing and furniture always comes with the risk of hidden pests. Many’s the budget purchase that’s been tarnished by bed bugs. That’s why we always advise people to be careful when buying second hand. And we always suggest you carefully inspect your purchases before bringing them into your home.
But what about new furniture? Surely buying new should be safe. If you want to avoid bed bugs buy new, right? Well, it’s not that cut and dried. Even a new bed or couch can have bed bugs hiding inside.
How Do Bed Bugs End Up in New Furniture?
We know how bed bugs turn up in second hand furniture. The items either come from infested homes or are stored in infested warehouses. Second hand sellers don’t always clean and inspect the products they sell. So it’s not unusual for bed bugs remain hidden until a buyer comes along.
While new pieces of furniture haven’t spent any time in a bed bug infested home that doesn’t mean they haven’t been exposed to these pests. In fact, there are a few ways a new couch or easy chair may come in contact with bed bugs before they make it your home.
Warehouses and Showrooms
In most cases manufacturers ship their products out in protective cartons or plastic coverings. But at some point the items will be unpacked and moved on to a showroom floor. At that point they’re going to be in constant contact with the public.
All it takes is a few stray bed bugs traveling on an unsuspecting shopper and the risk for bed bugs comes into play. If the item goes unsold it will eventually be moved back into storage. As it shares space with other pieces in the stockroom the risk of bed bugs spreading to other pieces of furniture increases.
If management doesn’t notice and address the issue these items, and their hidden bed bug surprises, may well end up in someone’s home.
Household furnishings are rarely impulse buys. Buyers generally consider their purchases carefully. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t customer returns from time to time. And while those returns may not end up back on the showroom floor to be sold as new they do tend to end up sharing the same space as new items. At least for a while.
If a returned item has been exposed to bed bugs there’s a risk the pests will migrate to other items in the warehouse. Just as it only takes a few bed bugs to start a home infestation so it only takes a few to start and infestation in a furniture stockroom.
When you purchase a new piece of furniture the odds are good that you will opt to have it delivered. As a courtesy may companies will offer to remove any old furniture you may be replacing. This means that old and discarded pieces of furniture may be sharing the same truck with new purchases. If the old pieces have bed bugs your new items have now been exposed.
Some companies also rely on outside vendors for deliveries. In which case knowing what has been in the truck before, or what is sharing space in that truck with your items, is impossible. It’s always possible your purchases are coming into close contact with bed bug infested items. And that can spell trouble for you down the road.
How to Protect Yourself
When you’re shopping for any piece of furniture, whether new or used, always take the time to ask some questions. Where has the piece been stored? Has it been inspected for pests? Ask if they offer removal services and if so do they use the same truck or van.
If you are having anything delivered greet your drivers in the driveway. Check out the truck and look for old furniture. If they are transporting both used and new items remove any plastic coverings or shipping cartons before bringing the item into your home.
Don’t be shy. The questions you are asking now could protect you from facing a costly bed bugs infestation in the future.
Published by Scott Palatnik
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