Updated: October 26, 2022

Though bed bugs aren’t known for easily spreading diseases or being too dangerous… 

They’re extremely disruptive and difficult to get rid of. 

Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped insects that are hard for the human eye to detect. It’s crucial to recognize early warning signs so that you can take proper precautions before a full-blown infestation takes hold. 

Here are 5 warning signs of bed bugs on furniture that you should be aware of:

1. Musty odor: Bed bugs release unpleasant smelling “alarm” pheromones when they’re startled or threatened. This smell by itself may not be that unpleasant — but mixed with dead bugs and excrement, it can be overpowering. If you start noticing an unusual odor, it might be attributed to a looming bed bug infestation in your home.

2. Dark stains: Since bed bugs feed on human blood, their fecal matter leaves rust-colored stains. These stains are common where they gather and can show up on furniture, mattresses, and even walls. 

3. White shells: Bed bugs shed their exoskeleton continuously, and they leave behind white husk-like shells. These are often found in the crevices of furniture and are a clear indicator of a growing infestation.

4. Distinct bite patterns: Insect bites don’t automatically mean bed bug bites. But, these insects typically leave bites that are in a straight zig-zag line pattern. Bed bugs are nocturnal, so these bites more commonly happen overnight.

5. Blood stains: Any movement during your sleep can result in you squishing feeding bed bugs. This will leave blood spots on your pillowcases or bedding that can signal a bed bug problem. 

How to Remove Bed Bugs from Wood Furniture

Wooden furniture with cracks, crevices — or other gaps that make for good hiding places — are attractive places for bed bugs. Getting rid of bed bugs is a frustrating process and one that needs to be done thoroughly in order to remove them permanently.

Bed bugs usually show up as an infestation, not an isolated incident.

As soon as you notice signs of bed bugs on your wooden furniture, move that piece outside to prevent bed bugs from spreading around the house.

You can treat your infested wood furniture with steam, insecticides, or through the use of a professional pest control specialist. 

Steaming is a strong and affordable way to kill bed bugs, however not all wood can withstand such high temperatures.

If you’re confident that your wood won’t bend or warp, you can use a commercial-grade cleaner that will reach all cracks and crevices.

Chemical-based insecticides or bed bug sprays are another option. These can work well if you’re getting these insects into every possible hiding place. Completely saturate your wooden furniture to ensure you’re targeting all areas.

Some pieces of furniture may not be salvageable. If there are many crevices and dark corners, the wooden furniture could prove too difficult to save. It’s best to toss out the furniture before the infestation spreads to the entire house.

If the problem does get severe… 

It might be worth calling in a professional, especially if the infestation has spread from one piece of furniture to the entire house. Professional exterminators can thoroughly inspect everything and decide the best method to eliminate bugs from your wooden furniture.

How to Clean Used Furniture to Prevent Bed Bugs

If you’re purchasing used furniture, you should give it an initial inspection before bringing it into your home. Since bed bugs like dark spaces, get out a flashlight and inspect all the nooks and crannies.

Remove cushions and fabric covers if applicable, and make sure there are no visible bed bugs.

If the used furniture passes your initial inspection, you’re not done just yet. Keep it outside and give it a good cleaning before bringing it into your home. Thoroughly vacuum the furniture to ensure you suck up any lingering bed bug eggs. 

Bed bugs are susceptible to high heat, so consider steaming the furniture or at least cleaning it with hot, soapy water. When you’re confident that your new purchase is bed bug free, you can safely bring it inside. 

Can New Furniture Have Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are a common worry, and unfortunately they’re not limited to just second-hand and old furniture. Untreated infestations at retail stores can result in even your new furniture having bed bugs. 

Individuals who have bed bug infestations may unknowingly carry these pesky bugs with them on their clothing. Through this, bugs can spread to furniture stores if infected individuals visit them.

Even if retail stores are doing their due diligence to prevent infestations, bed bugs might make their way onto your new furniture during the delivery process.

Delivery trucks may have previously handled bed bug-ridden furniture, and remnants of those bugs could transfer to your new belongings.

Notable Furniture Stores That Have Had Alleged Instances of Bed Bugs

Make sure you do your research before buying new furniture. You don’t want the stress and headaches that come with a bed bug infestation in your home.

A class action lawsuit against Wayfair — a large, global, e-commerce company — alleged that the company was knowingly selling and shipping headboards and mattresses with bed bugs.

Instances like this shouldn’t go unnoticed next time you’re looking to furnish your home.

Other notable furniture stores that have had cases of bed bugs include:

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Date Published: 2022-08-26

Written By Robert Brown

I'm a seasoned pest control veteran. I focus my time on writing educational content about the industry and helping people learn about indoor insects. When I'm not thinking about bed bugs I am spending time with my daughters or walking the dog.

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