It’s not unusual to see “curb alerts” on Craigslist, where a poster lets others know of something laying on the curbside to be freecycled.

However, today we have a Craigslist poster warning others not to take the items outside a particular address in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, which the poster claims has bed bugs:

Pawtucket Craigslist warning about bed bugs

The ad (here as of this writing) reads:

“108 bishop st pawtucket just letting yous all know don’t pick up anything from this address has bed bugs really bad !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Of course, we don’t know whether there are bed bugs at this address or in the items on the curb there.

However, you should be very careful when freecycling or re-purposing anything, whether it’s your cousin’s sofa, a box of old vinyl on the curb, or a table from a thrift store.

All may be perfectly good and usable, or any of them could potentially contain bed bugs. And the person who gave them to you may not even realize it.

At the very minimum, carefully inspect any finds. Learn what bed bugs and their signs look like from this gallery of bed bug photos.

If it’s a hard surface with no hidden areas, you may be able to safely spray with 91% isopropyl alcohol or wash in hot soapy water (dish soap containing grease cutters — Dawn is an example — or containing or d-Limomene or linalool components, diluted in the normal way, are good contact killers, we are told, as is 91% rubbing alcohol, not diluted; but be careful as alcohol is flammable and has fumes).

Updated to add this:
I originally noted above that “dish detergent” is a good contact killer but all dish detergents may not be helpful in this regard. Entomologist Lou Sorkin notes in an email as to recommended types of detergents:

“Citrus oil component helpful. d-Limonene and linalool components. Dish detergents with grease cutters good. Dawn is one.”

Also for items where it’s appropriate (e.g. wood furniture): “Murphy’s oil soap also has been used with good results.”

(end of update)

If an item is upholstered or has hidden areas (bed bugs love tight little spaces!) — be wary.  A contact kill spray isn’t likely to do it in such cases. If you can’t treat items thoroughly, then you can’t be sure there aren’t bed bugs inside. (There are some suggestions for methods in our FAQ on How to get bed bugs out of your clothing, furniture, and other stuff.)

And sometimes it’s best to just skip it– because, ultimately, no curbside or Craigslist find, no matter how fantastic, is worth getting bed bugs.

Certainly not this:

curb appeal

Image credit: “curb appeal” by paul stumpr on flickr; photo used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

Be sure and check out our other posts on Bedbugger.com about Craigslist.

7 comments

Since summer is a big time for bed bugs (which multiply more quickly in the warmer months), you may be wondering what you should do if you encounter bed bugs in hotels.

Two coaches for a high school dance team traveling to the Wisconsin Dells (Wisconsin Dells in Wikipedia) for a dance camp recently encountered bed bugs in their room at the Chula Vista hotel, according to WISN12 news:

NBC15 reports that the two dance coaches contacted the local health department:

NBC15 claims the South Central Environment Health Consortium followed up on the complaint, finding the hotel was already heat treating the room.

According to this report, the hotel comped the coaches’ rooms and agreed to pay for “any additional expenses” — which we might assume would cover inspections or treatment at home if they end up being needed (and hopefully they won’t).

One of the coaches recommends consumers ask hotel staff to inspect their room for bed bugs when they check in. I have not actually heard anyone suggest this before, and I am not sure how helpful it would be.

I am not an expert, but in my opinion, all hotels should have staff routinely — daily — check for bed bugs. However, consumers should also learn to inspect a hotel room for bed bugs, and should do it every time they are going to sleep in a new location.

(You can learn to search a hotel room for bed bugs and watch a video demonstrating how to do it in this FAQ: How to avoid bed bugs while traveling.)
According to NBC15,

“The environment health manager says this year there have been three complaints for Chula Vista in regards to bed bugs. He says for a resort that large, it is a low number.”

While this will no doubt cause many to be anxious, you have to remember that it’s not unusual for there to be bed bugs in hotels– even good ones. Bed bugs can be brought into any hotel at any time.

The important thing is whether and how the hotel tries to detect the problem early, by doing their own routine inspections and monitoring, how they respond once they discover a problem, and also whether you as a consumer do your part by inspecting your own room before getting comfortable in it.

NBC15 also noted that a local health department official said that consumers who do encounter bed bugs in hotels should not simply post complaints about bed bugs in social media, but should contact the local health department directly because “it’s the only way that something will get done”.

I can’t agree enough. Finding out the local health department for a particular area can usually be done in minutes on Google, and filing a complaint is as easy as filling out a form online, sending an email, or calling the number listed. If you encounter bed bugs, please do take this small action which can really make a difference.

The other thing to do is to take actions to make sure you don’t carry bed bugs to your next location and ultimately to your car and home. (It sounds like these Wisconsin Dells visitors took some steps in this regard– they mentioned having clothing dry cleaned, for example.)

Our FAQs on How to avoid bed bugs while traveling and What should I do if I have been exposed to bed bugs? should help also.

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Residents of a housing complex in Memphis for elderly and disabled people are dealing with what sounds like a serious bed bug problem, as LocalMemphis.com reports:

(You can also view the video on the Local Memphis website if it doesn’t load here.)

First, this sounds like a bed bug problem which has been growing for some time. One resident reports being told by pest management professionals to throw out her two-year old living room furniture, and reports having found 1000 bed bugs in her husband’s wheelchair. [click to continue…]

3 comments

Bed bug death match film from Paul Bello

by nobugsonme on May 27, 2015 · 8 comments

in bed bugs

People who are dealing with bed bugs sometimes find this stuff encouraging, and maybe you will too.

Bedbugger Forums participant and pest management professional Paul Bello (credited as P.J. Bello) and an accomplice (N.P. Bello) re-enact an ancient Roman-style Christian vs. Lion death match with the lion played by a jumping spider (Salticidae) on Wikipedia, specifically Phidippus audax, and a bed bug playing the Christian.

As in the original battles, it’s not a fair tournament and the bloodthirsty audience doesn’t care.

Phidippus audax, Jumping spider

Phidippus audax, Jumping spider

[click to continue…]

8 comments

West Business Services in Wausau, Wisconsin has bed bugs, as Fox News Wausau reports.

As is often true, the news story raises as many questions as it answers.

For starters, the WFXS news segment first notes that corporate office told the county health department officials that a single bed bug was found a week and a half ago: [click to continue…]

2 comments

Glasgow’s Evening Times reports that a woman was told by her doctor to flee her bed bug-infested rented flat in the city’s Govanhill neighborhood, and was as a result homeless due to bed bugs:

The woman, who asked not to be named, was bitten from head to foot by the parasites and sought medical attention.

Doctors told her to flee the flat which she rented from property firm GSL Lettings. [click to continue…]

6 comments

A new study by researchers at Simon Fraser University details the identification of all six components of bed bug aggregation pheromone. This is exciting news, as it may lead to the development of more effective active bed bug monitors.

The study, led by Regine Gries, Gerhard J. Gries, and Robert Britton, is forthcoming in the journal Angewandte Chemie and appeared online as an early preview Sunday. [click to continue…]

8 comments

Bed bug forums the focus of The Daily Dot

by nobugsonme on December 9, 2014 · 2 comments

in meta

The Daily Dot has a new story about our bed bug forums by Anna Drezen, herself a Bedbugger Forum user who made some of the typical mistakes one makes when one suspects bed bugs:

I really wish I’d found Bedbugger.com right away, because my instincts about how to address the situation were dead wrong. I decided the best thing to do was come home from work, keep all the lights off, take a flashlight and a knife, and slash open my mattress in the dark while sobbing. I found nothing. Just to be safe, I sprayed my entire bed with rubbing alcohol. A few days later, I marched into my dermatologist’s office holding aloft a Ziploc bag with a spider in it, traumatizing her for life.

This was not the way to win the war.

Oh dear. [click to continue…]

2 comments

Thermalstrike Expedition heat treatment systems recalled

October 15, 2014

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, as of 10/8/14, PAB Two has recalled about 1700 units of its Thermalstrike Expedition model bed bug treatment system due to a fire hazard: PAB Two has received four reports of the flexible, electrical conducting strip breaking, including one report of a fire in a unit and […]

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Bed Bugs on the Subway: should the MTA notify the public of sightings?

August 28, 2014

When bed bugs are found on Metropolitan Transportation Authority trains or buses, consumers should be notified, say New York City Councilman Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn) and State Assemblyman Bill Colton (D), according to the Daily News.

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Bed bugs in the subway update: Fox News talks to Louis Sorkin

August 6, 2014

Move over alligators in the sewers, we’re still talking about bed bugs in the subway! Here’s a follow-up to last night’s post about bed bugs being found in three NYC N train subway cars this week:

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Bed bugs found in three N subway trains in New York City

August 6, 2014

The New York Daily News reported Tuesday that bed bugs have been found in three separate N subway trains, which have since been “fumigated” (I am assuming this means — as in the common parlance — “treated with pesticides,” rather than fumigation per se).

13 comments Read the full article →