Pest Problems

Can Bed Bugs Live in Wood Furniture

Bed bugs are opportunistic pests which can live almost anywhere in your home, and your wood furniture is no exception. Removing them from furniture is just as hard, if not even more so because there are more hiding places. Do not worry though, as this guide has got you covered.

So, if you:

  • Want to buy some used furniture.
  • Wonder how to check if the furniture is bed bug-infested.
  • Wonder if you should bother to save the furniture at all.

Then read along…

Can bed bugs actually live in wood?

Even though these pests don’t borrow or eat through wood, they always make use of every crack and crevice they find. Wooden furniture has many gaps, hinges and joints. Engraved wooden furniture even more so. The more hiding places a piece of furniture has, the better for the little critters.

Smooth furniture, on the other hand, provides fewer hiding opportunities and thus is less likely to get infested.

There’s also the aspect that wood ages and reacts to changes in temperature and humidity levels by expanding and shrinking. Over time it gets worn out, chipped and infested by wood-boring insects. As a result, it develops a whole new plethora of hiding places for sneaky beg bugs.

As far as, how long can bed bugs live in wood furniture, they will remain when there is a food source nearby. Without food, they can live from 2 to 6 months.

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5 sure signs of bed bugs in wood furniture

Signs of bed bugs on wood are sometimes harder to spot because of the numerous hiding places we already talked about. To increase the chance of spotting the pest, you need to first disassemble the furniture if possible. Remove drawers, shelves and doors and carefully check all the joints and hinges for the following signs:

  • Faecal spots – these are small black spots which can be slightly raised or flat.
  • Exoskeletons – the pests shed, leaving behind small, oval, pale brown and slightly transparent castings.
  • Eggs or egg shells – white and slightly transparent, only 1mm long, bed bug eggs take 6 to 10 days to hatch.
  • Actual bugs – adult bed bugs are reddish-brown in colour, oval-shaped, and have six legs and a pair of antennas. When unfed they are flat; when fed, the pests are swollen and more elongated. It’s not uncommon for you to find nymphs (young bed bugs). They are smaller, translucent or whitish-yellow and if unfed can be almost impossible to see with the naked eye.
  • Strong smell – most people describe it as sickly sweet and similar to that of rotting berries. Even if you don’t agree with this comparison, the presence of a strong smell in your wood furniture is a sign that something is wrong.

How to check wood furniture for bed bugs

Now when you know what signs to search for, here is how to check for bed bugs in your wood furniture. Before that, however, you need to obtain the following items:

  • Flashlight
  • A tool such as an expired plastic card or a butter knife (It needs to be flat, so you can put it in crevices
  • A light-coloured sheet
  • Rubber gloves

When those items are in your possession you now must:

  1. Place the sheet under the furniture, if possible.

  2. Shed light on any holes, cracks crevices, edges and seams.

  3. Run the flat tool across the joints. If there is anything hiding in there, you will disturb it with the tool. Some of the bugs might even fall on the sheet where you can examine them more closely.

  4. Turn the furniture so you can inspect the bottom, that’s most likely where the critters will be hiding. Bed bugs can hide even in stap

One-bed bug means an infestation is inevitable, but you can stop it in its tracks. Read about our bed bug inspection and treatment.

Ways to get rid of bed bugs in wood furniture

If your hunt for bed bugs has turned out positive and you have located pests in the wood furniture, you need to ask yourself 2 questions. How bad is the infestation and is the furniture worth keeping. The more you wait, the worse the infestation will become. It takes about two months for a full-blown infestation to manifest. The earlier you act, the better, so here is how to get rid of bed bugs in wood furniture:

Insecticides

Ensure your children and pets stay out of the room while and after you’ve treated the furniture piece with the product. You may apply the products several times until no more bugs are left, but that depends on the instructions. The most popular pesticides for getting rid of bed bugs in wood furniture are:

  • Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids – are the most common for bed bug treatment. The difference is that Pyrethrins are botanical insecticides, whereas Pyrethroids are synthetic chemical insecticides. They both work the same way, though by flushing out the pests from their hiding place and eradicating them. It is possible, however, that some bed bug populations have developed resistance to these chemicals. If that’s the case, you should switch to a different product or purchase one which contains Pyrethroids mixed with other chemicals.
  • Desiccants – this product destroys the protective outer coating of the pest, resulting in the pest dying from dehydration. Pests can’t become resistant to Desiccants and the product also has a long-lasting effect. However, you should be using only the one intended for bed bug treatment. There are other Desiccants which are used for food-grade or for swimming pools.

Whatever insecticide you chose, you need to be extra careful when applying it. You need to be sure it’s labelled for indoor use, otherwise, it poses a huge health hazard to you and your family. Always follow the instructions on the packaging and never apply more than the listed amount.

Steam cleaner

It is possible to remove bed bugs on wood furniture with heat. Steam does not damage wood because there’s very little water involved in the process and no chemicals are used. However, in this case, there is a catch.

Bed bugs, along with their eggs, die when exposed to temperatures of 48°C (118°F) for about 90 minutes. When exposed to temperatures of 50°C (122 °F), they die instantly. And here is the catch: that kind of heat and moisture may cause your wood furniture to bend or warp if you keep it on too long. So, you must be very careful when going over all the cracks and crevices of your furniture.

You also need a commercial-grade steam cleaner and not a regular one for cleaning carpets. Commercial-grade cleaners can reach temperatures between 50°C to 70°C (122°F and 160°F), whereas regular carpet ones can’t reach these temperatures and would be useless against bed bugs.

Homemade bed bug solution

If the infestation is still in its early stages, you can kill the bugs by spraying them with non-diluted white vinegar. You may have to do this several times over the course of several weeks until the pests are completely gone.

Another option is combining equal parts of water with rubbing alcohol and pouring that into a spray bottle. You can also make the solution more potent and better smelling by adding a few drops of essential oils. Spray the places in the wooden furniture where the pests are hiding. Again, it will certainly require several sprayings over a period of time, but if the infestation is not at full scale, you have a chance.

Throw out the infested wood furniture

In the end, if the infestation is or has gotten too severe and no method seems to be working, it’s more responsible to throw it out. The chance that the pests contaminate first the room and afterwards your entire home is very real.

They latch onto everything they touch, such as shoes, bedding, and clothes which allows them to move easily from one room to the next. When they crawl on their own, they can cover 1.2 metres (4 feet) and you already know the advantage they have thanks to their small size.

Using insecticides is a losing battle in this case as it will be impossible and pointless to spray all their hiding spots. Rather, consider a professional steam treatment, which when done right will give you long-lasting results.

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Why not skip the hassle with a specialised bed bug treatment?

Bed bug treatment is no easy job and can drag on longer than expected. For that reason, if you don’t feel you’re up to the task, call bed bug treatment services. Fantastic Services offers you a wide range of availability slots, inspection, assessment and eradication procedures.

We also come in discreetly branded vans, so your neighbours won’t know you have a pest problem. The professionals we work with use insecticides and steam treatment for smaller infestations as well as heat treatment when the infestation is severe. Call us today and have those pesky bed bugs taken care of.

Need a professional bed bug removal?

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Takeaways

  • Bed bugs can and will live inside wood furniture if they have the chance.
  • Disassemble the wood furniture and then check it and the parts.
  • If you use insecticides against pests, you should read the instructions very carefully
  • You can use a steam cleaner, but it needs to be commercial-grade, otherwise, it will not reach the desired temperatures. On the other hand, too much heat can cause the wood to warp.

Image source: Isaeva Studio / Shutterstock

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