Why are people with bed bugs being told to throw out all their furniture?

by nobugsonme on September 21, 2008 · 3 comments

in bed bug treatment, bed bugs, bed bugs in public housing, mattresses, tennessee

According to WKRN in Nashville, bed bugs have infested Madison Towers, a public housing development run by the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency, or MDHA, in Nashville, Tennessee.

WKRN claims,

The first step in treating bed bugs is to throw out all furniture where the pest can hide.

Can someone please tell me why some government officials and pest control operators and reporters in the news media are still telling people on limited incomes to “throw away everything” that’s infested with bed bugs, and then complaining or expressing surprise when the neighbors raid the dumpsters and themselves become infested with bed bugs?

I know why: it’s harder to get people to treat items than to tell them to toss everything out. But bed bugs can come back. People need to be educated about how to deal with bed bugs properly — and how to avoid them.

Teaching people to treat items, and encase mattresses, and helping them do so, also means the tenants are not left sleeping on a bare floor, in an empty apartment. And it can help keep bed bugs out of someone else’s home. Seems like a win-win, no?

Click to read the article or watch the more extensive video report from WKRN.com.

1 David James July 18, 2009 at 6:11 am

Web site photo shows back side of a bed headboard in a Nashville TN. The mattress and boxsprings are encased. There is no safe method to treat this headboard that would not cost more than the headboard. Headboards and other items that are totally infested with bedbugs and their eggs do need to be discarded.

2 David James July 18, 2009 at 6:21 am

This is a couch is from the above mentioned site. And MDHA is working to solve this problem. Training, private contractors, and consultants are at work. But budbugger.com would not exist if there was an easy answer to bedbugs. It is easy to point fingers of blame, but bedbugs are the most difficult to control pest I have encountered in 30 years of pest control work.

3 nobugs July 18, 2009 at 11:26 am

Hi David,

I appreciate your sharing those photos and I do not disagree that there are situations where items must be discarded.

However, I don’t think it’s fair to accuse us of “pointing the finger of blame.” I was referring specifically above to a statement made by WKRN:

The first step in treating bed bugs is to throw out all furniture where the pest can hide.

Do you agree this is an accurate statement about bed bug treatment, in general? Because that is how it is presented.

It does not say “thoroughly infested furniture” or “furniture harboring lots of bed bugs.” It says furniture where the pest “can hide.”

It implies that readers with bed bugs will have to throw out all their furniture as well, and I can tell you that lots of people start to do this before they even see a pest control operator and get their situation assessed.

There’s a big difference between carefully disposing of items which must be disposted of, on the advice of a PCO, vs. throwing out everything bed bugs might hide in. I think the media needs to be careful about how it describes the solutions for bed bug problems, and the statement I quoted is an example.

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