Where I live bed bugs are becoming quite the problem. Like most hysteria type things that the news hypes, I ignore. But someone I know is infested now from acquiring used furniture. See bed bugs aren't just for beds. They can be in shoes, stuffed animals, mirrors, nightstands, dressers and even photo frames.
It will cost this family $1600 to get rid of the bed bugs and that's with a small infestion. The exterminator told them to not even go to garage sales or thrift stores.
Not go to garage sales or thrift stores? That's a life not worth living! :o)
You can actually get bed bugs from hotels, restaurants, and even department stores. Even our city buildings think they have bed bugs right now. The infestation is so bad because the bugs became immune to how we were exterminating them.
So what do you do?
It helps if you keep really large Ziplock bags in your car when garage saling. Let's say you buy a cute baby outfit at a garage sale. Put it directly in the Ziplock bag and do not take out until you are ready to launder it in HOT water and the HOTTEST dryer setting you have for at least 30 mins.
Personally I would not buy any used mattresses, box springs or headboards. If you buy a night stand or dresser, inspect carefully in drawers, corners and crevices for bed bugs. Bed bugs are reddish-brown, their eggs are white, their skins they shed are yellow, and you will see black fecal dots. But be forewarned, the people that I know checked over their furniture carefully and cleaned it before bringing it into their house. They also knew the people that the furniture came from.
Are you itching and scratching yet?
Be careful buying purses, tote bags and backpacks. Shake them out, turn them inside out and check carefully. If it's the type of bag that can be washed, put it in your Ziplock bag and wash on high heat when you get home.
Tip when traveling. Do not put your suitcases on the bed or store your clothes in the dressers. It may look crazy but I would store your luggage in the kitchen (bed bugs don't really go in there) on the kitchen counters... so it's off the floor!
Do you worry about getting bed bugs from your thrift and garage sale purchases? Do you do anything to protect yourself?