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Should I discard the Initial Source -- the Used Couch?

(17 posts)
  1. knockedownhard

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu May 15 2014 17:00:28
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    Hello,

    I brought bedbugs into my home through a used couch. It is ground zero. It was the source of the infestation. So it's good to know where they are coming from.

    I inspected it before buying it, but I did not look close enough. It has been in our house for about three months now. After another inspection, I see that the couch is (what I call heavily) infested. I found 10 live bbs just in the visible seams and near where the wooden feet meet the bottom of the couch. I haven't even looked into the underbelly of the couch yet. I was gently so as not to disturb/disperse them.

    I asked my PCO's company and the woman I spoke to said that they do not recommend throwing out furniture, because treatment of the apartment will treat the couch.

    I told her that the couch was heavily infested. She said it was ultimately up to me to decide.

    So I am consulting the pros on this site: Should I remove the couch ASAP? Should I wait for my first spray treatment? I am worried that if I remove the couch before the first treatment, or if I do it wrong, I will disturb the bbs enough to make the problem more widespread throughout my apartment.

    I should mention that: I can only afford spray treatment. I have no qualms with chucking the couch. I found two live bb and a few skins in my bedroom, so they have already found our two sleeping spots, the bed and the couch.

    Ultimately, I want the couch gone-- I just want to be smart about it.

    Thanks!
    If you need more details, I am happy to supply them!

  2. Distressed in NJ

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu May 15 2014 17:31:06
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    My couch has been the main source of the infestation in my home. Initially, the PCO found hundreds, but it was only down to a few the last time he came. Nevertheless, I was told by my PCO to get rid of it. I am certainly not an expert, but I would throw the couch out. Its not worth keeping it.

  3. Distressed in NJ

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu May 15 2014 17:34:50
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    I have the same worry that removing the couch will disturb their hiding place and they will spread. I also would like to know how to do it right.

  4. knockedownhard

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu May 15 2014 21:47:33
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    I have read that it is a good idea, when moving infested furniture, to carefully seal it in plastic bags (big ones that you can get at moving stores)-- so that the bugs don't fall off and spread....

    I am going to do that...the worst that could happen I feel, is that any of the bbs that have moved into the areas around the couch will have to migrate to the bedroom to eat-- since no one will be sleeping in the living room at night...

    My partner usually sleeps on the couch, and myself in the bedroom. We will both be in the bedroom once the couch is gone....

    Now, if I wait until after treatment to remove the couch, when they migrate to find us, they will most likely move through the treated areas----- that might be one reason to wait until after treatment to remove the couch....

    Do any experts have an opinion?

  5. endless_nightmare

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu May 15 2014 23:31:14
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    you should never ever throw out anything because of bed bugs....

    that's being said if it's a crappy couch you don't care about, and you have plenty-o-cash to buy furniture again then by all means...

    some people threw out all their furniture, books they loved, clothes they loved, some irreplaceable family sentimental objects, expensive electronics, computers, etc.

    only to realize they still had bed bugs after.....

    will you also throw the bed out next?

    then maybe the dresser?

    throwing things out is a bad approach to dealing with an infestation (unless it's garbage)

    Andrea
    not a PCO
    Spinal Cord Injury Advocacy/Volunteer
  6. knockedownhard

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu May 15 2014 23:59:32
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    endless_nightmare - 13 minutes ago  » 
    you should never ever throw out anything because of bed bugs....

    throwing things out is a bad approach to dealing with an infestation (unless it's garbage)

    I understand... its just that the couch is what brought them in. I assume most of them are still in the couch, though they have spread. I know that chucking the couch will not eliminate them in any sense, but it would be cutting down their population very quickly. Right?

    The couch has only been in our apartment for 3 months tops. I have no idea how long that is on a bedbug timescale. But again, it being the source, I can imagine it will help cut their numbers quickly, if it is removed in a timely manner and carefully.

    Also, I live in a cramped place with my partner. We hoard. 95% of the walls are lined with furniture. I think it will help treatment for us to get rid of lots of stuff.

  7. bbcomox

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Fri May 16 2014 0:48:13
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    Hi,

    If you wish to throw out the couch. Please make sure that you completely seal the furniture in plastic, so that when you move it, bedbugs do not disperse inside your unit, in the hallway, in the elevator, etc. You do not want to spread any bedbugs to other tenants. Some landlords may blame you for spreading them for not moving infested furniture properly.

    Best of luck on fighting bedbugs.

  8. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Fri May 16 2014 2:02:42
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    Yes, throwing things out isn't advised or usually necessary. When throwing it out, you may just be giving your infested sofa to a neighbor who picks it up off the street, which means bed bugs may be more likely to come back than if you let the PCO kill them all.

    If you must do it, completely seal it in plastic such that they can't escape. Some people might recommend calling a company like 1-800-got-junk that can completely get rid of the item for you (letting them know it's infested), rather than leaving it for a neighbor to pick up.

    Note that people often post "do not take -- infested with bed bugs" messages which are ignored.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  9. knockedownhard

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Fri May 16 2014 9:05:52
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    I just don't understand--this couch, it's like a leaking nuclear reactor! Its contaminating the areas around it. If you could, you would seal up and remove a leaking nuclear reactor, right?

    Considering that it might be another week or two before we are able to receive treatment, I can't imagine just letting it (and them) hang out with us while we disturb the rest of the house, dealing with prepping all of our clutter.

    I slept a bit on the couch last night, I don't want them crawling about the unit trying to find us. I found and taped up two bbs crawling towards me. It just seems so active, it is hard for me to understand why no one is saying that it is a good idea to remove it.

    It's a used couch, who knows how long the bbs have been in there--laying eggs and whatnot. I have heard that in order to properly treat a couch, you have to turn it over, open it up, and thoroughly spray into all its nook and crannies. Won't that disturb and spread them?

    Did I mention I found 10 live bbs upon light inspection?

    Today the PCO comes for an estimate, I will see what he has to say.

    I really truly appreciate all of your responses. I am not trying to be argumentative, I am just having a hard time wrapping my head around keeping an infested couch in my house.

    Much love,

    Knockedown

  10. AbsolutelyFreaking

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Fri May 16 2014 9:47:55
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    Hi knockeddown,

    As the lady from your PCO company told you, it is your choice.

    If you want to get rid of the couch and it will make you feel better, get rid of the couch! Most professionals will tell you that furniture and couches can be treated and saved. Not just by spraying chemicals but also by vacuuming, steaming, encasing, and chemicals. (I believe the couch could even be sealed and treated with pest strip type products.) Treating sofas can be problematic due to all the nooks and crannies . . . but they can be saved. I believe the professionals usually advise not to start throwing items away because it can be costly to replace them and they should be able to be treated and saved.

    I have read on the forum a couple of times that there have been posters who have said their PCO advised them to throw away various items because they were heavily infested. I believe the professionals on here will tell you if you have a competent pro they should be able to treat your possessions so you can keep them. However, sometimes the psychological aspect of knowing that an item(s) is heavily infested and not willing to take the chance of knowing if the bugs are gone or not has made posters decide to throw away items. (That being said there is such a thing as couch encasements, I have no first-hand knowledge of them or how well, if at all, they work.) But, again, it's your couch, if you want to throw it away, throw it away.

    If you do decide to throw away your couch, I believe the synopsis of the above responses to your original question of "how" is:

    First, as stated, it shouldn't be necessary, but if you want to it is your choice.

    Second, mark the item as being infested with bed bugs to keep someone from taking it home. To take it a step further, maybe you could deface or ruin it to render it unusable? . . . Hmmmm, spray painting it or slashing the cushions comes to mind for me.

    Third, completely seal the item so not to let any bugs escape when removing from building through the hallways, etc. I believe I have read there are large "banana" bags that you can purchase for this purpose. If you can't find a "bag" large enough, I believe David Cain recommends using a large roll of "shrink" wrap or "cling wrap" type product to completely seal the item.

    Fourth, discard item. And as NoBugs advised above, if you can get someone to completely "take it away" for you that might even be better but be sure to let them know it is infested.

    It is your choice and it sounds like you have made up your mind.

    Just my thoughts upon reading your posts. Good Luck in your war against these hideous beasts!

  11. endless_nightmare

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun May 18 2014 0:05:48
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    having a hard time wrapping my head around keeping an infested couch in my house.

    if it becomes a psychological toll

    just freaking trash it, right now, dump that thing and move your focus to your life, jeezus

  12. knockedownhard

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun May 18 2014 9:31:17
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    Thanks, AbsolutlyFreaking! Thank you for your kind response! Thanks to everyone for their responses.

    I haven't found it in me to remove the couch. I am paralyzed with fear and anxiety. I will do exactly what I am told in regards to dealing with bbs. And if it isn't advised then the couch stays. AND I sleep on it to make sure they don't go anywhere looking for food.

    I don't want to make the situation worse than it already is.

  13. No More Bites

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun May 18 2014 10:22:59
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    How much did this used couch cost?
    Can you live without the couch?
    is it going to bankrupt you to throw it out?
    The longer you keep it the more bed bugs you will have.
    I would wrap it in plastic and throw it out.
    That will get rid of a major part of the infestation. Then you can work on the other areas.

  14. knockedownhard

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun May 18 2014 10:47:45
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    The couch cost $75...I am in no way attached to it.

    See, No More Bites, you think like me. It is the source of the infestation-- seal it up and chuck it.

  15. No More Bites

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun May 18 2014 12:48:10
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    When I used the steamer on the bugs it was rather apparent where they were hiding. The stains are from their poop. The steam makes the poop wet and dissolves.

  16. knockedownhard

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun May 18 2014 14:59:59
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    When you steam, do you see the bbs trying to get away?

  17. No More Bites

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun May 18 2014 15:26:01
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    They try but do not get far. The steam is so hot it kills them instantly. You do have to be careful not to blow them away.


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