Word about bed bugs getting around: how a set designer avoids bed bugs

by nobugsonme on June 8, 2008 · 1 comment

in bed bugs, bed bugs in theaters, curbside, used furniture

This article from the New York Times is about New York set designer Michele Spadaro, and how she furnishes theater stages on a budget.

What caught my eye were the designer’s comments about how she tries to avoid bed bugs in her search for salvageable items:

. . . sometimes New York thrift stores are useful. She went first to the Salvation Army at 536 West 46th Street, but its furniture inventory was exhausted. Next she tried Green Village Used Furniture & Clothing in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The 10,000-square-foot building had countless shelves of dining sets, credenzas and bed frames. Two prospects had potential but were dismissed: a white ladder-back chair had several wood plugs, and a beat-up wood-frame chair was too wobbly.

But she saw promise in a rusty wrought-iron chair with a hairpin back, its seat covered in a stained orange fabric. She said she liked simple and sturdy frames with strong lines, but that she rejects some pieces, no matter how sturdy. She never takes upholstered pieces from the street for fear of bedbugs. “In a thrift store, I ask how long it has been on the floor,” she said, explaining that the longer a piece has been in the store, the better. “This is not scientific, but obviously, if it’s not been in human contact,” she said, there is less chance of an infestation.

I would personally avoid thrift stores and used upholstered furniture altogether.

Nevertheless, I was impressed by this sign that word about bed bugs is obviously spreading. I doubt this is something set designers were concerned about a few short years ago.

1 ItchyandScratchee August 25, 2008 at 4:09 am

After the second night of our family vacation to Vancouver, I woke up with a few bites on my shoulder. By day number four, I was covered in bites on my neck, shoulders, arms and back. In the middle of the night, I found a bed bug crawling into the corner of the bed. I have very sensitive skin and feel crazed at how itchy I feel. My bites were inflamed and swollen with fiery red welts bigger than quarters. The mysterious part is that my husband did not get any bites, nor did my two young daughters. I usually ended up spending half the night in their bed. We traveled with my extended family (a total of 12, including our family), and I was the only one who got bit.

I am experiencing the problem where bites that appear to be almost gone suddenly flare up and get swollen and itchy again. They do seem to get more inflamed, when I am stressed or obsessing about the bites.

We are home now. The hotel where we stayed sprayed our suitcases, and I washed all our clothes in hot water twice (once at the hotel, once before I brought it into the house). Today (about 7 days after I experienced first bites, I found a line of 3 small raised dots on my 2 year olds arm and a small line of even tinier dots on her other arm. She has kind of rashy skin, and the blemishes were something I never would normally worry about if I hadn’t had the bed bug problem. Is it possible that she could be having a delayed reaction, or have we brought the bugs home? We never even brought our luggage into the house. I bagged the suitcases and put them in our garage.

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