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