Ridding Your Home of Insects

Are Thrifty Shopping Habits Increasing Your Risk of a Bed Bug Infestation? 3 Tips to Protect Your Family

by Ted Miller

Thrift shopping is gaining in popularity among all income levels and ages. For some, it's an opportunity to find a bargain price that will stretch their budget and allow them to save money for other purposes. For others, searching out bargains at thrift stores, consignment shops, online classified sites, and garage sales is all about the potential thrill of finding something valuable or collectible.

While the reason behind the attraction for thrift shopping is not important, those who indulge should know that they are at risk of bringing home an item infested with bed bugs. Luckily, there are some things you can do to protect your home and your family from the havoc of a bed bug infestation in your home. 

1. Discuss your concerns with store managers

Thrift shoppers who primarily focus their shopping efforts at thrift and second-hand stores or consignment shops should begin their efforts to avoid bed bugs by discussing their concerns with the store management staff before making another purchase. Since bed bugs can easily conceal themselves in fabrics, soft goods, and the seams of purses, suitcases, and upholstered furnishings, it can be helpful to know if store management routinely inspects donated items for signs of bedbug infestation before putting them up for sale. If they do not, customers of these locations will want to learn the signs of infestation so they can do their own inspections of items before purchasing them and placing them in their car or home. 

2. Securely bag of newly purchased items before placing them in your car

If a thrift shopper's inspection fails to find any signs of bed bugs, they may still want to take additional precautions to prevent a potential bed bug infestation in their home. A convenient and inexpensive way to do this is to always carry some large garbage bags when shopping. Before placing a purchased item in the car, simply enclose it securely in a large trash bag, making sure to tightly close the opening with a twist-tie. 

3. Create a staging area for newly purchased items 

Adding an extra step to a thrift shopper's normal routine is a good way to add another level of protection to keep the home and family free of bed bugs, and a staging area for newly purchased items is a great way to do this. To set up a staging area, choose a location, such as a corner of a garage, where the garbage-bagged items can be unloaded until they can be inspected, laundered, or treated for bed bugs before taking them on into the home. 

To learn more about protecting your home and family from an uncomfortable bed bug infestation, or to get help with a current infestation, contact a reputable pest control professional in your area.