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May 29, 2014

Of Bedbugs and Planters

I mentioned in a previous post that we unfortunately were invaded by bedbugs. It was horrible! I will not even fill in all the details out of compassion for those reading this. If I were to do that you'd probably put your fingers in your ears and start babbling, "la la la la la" like I do when I don't want to hear what's being said. Of course since you cannot hear what I'm saying it would do no good to bother with fingers in the ears, now would it? So instead I will only give the barest of details, the highlights, so to speak.

(If you want info on bedbugs the web has more of it than you will ever care to know. National Geographic has a video if you're interested....recommended only for those who are not feint of heart!)

We bought a brand new mattress and box spring in mid December; a king sized bed. We previously had a queen and it was certainly showing its years. What a lovely Christmas gift to ourselves. But we also needed a new bedside table because the one we used with the smaller bed made the room way too crowded.

So we headed out to a number of thrift stores, always the first stop when looking for something like this, to see what we could find and make over for the bedroom. My husband and I spent most of an entire day searching through various shops in our area. And wouldn't you know it! We found the PERFECT little bedside dresser. It had 3 drawers and was solid wood. And the best thing about it was the price, only $20.

We took it home, vacuumed it well, washed it down, sanded it, painted it a soothing cream color (several coats) and placed it in our bedroom. But unbeknownst to us it was full, to overflowing, with bedbug eggs.

Within days of placing it in our bedroom I was the main entree of these horrible insects. Not my husband. He had not one bite, not even one little itch. It took me a few weeks before I understood what was happening. (I thought all the stress of my mother's illness was giving me hives.) I found one crawling slowly on my pillow when I was making the bed one morning... Oh sorry, I am probably getting too graphic now!

I called pest control and they were there that day.  I had saved the little bugger in a zip lock bag and the technician confirmed my fears. Bedbugs.

We initially suspected the mattress, knowing little to nothing about the life of the bedbug. After all they're called bedbugs, not dresser bugs. They live in soft mattresses, not hard wood, right? Wrong! They can live and lay eggs in just about any little crack and crevice and can remain dormant for months, which is one reason why they're so difficult to eradicate.

After several treatments, over a period of 2 weeks I discovered 3-4 very small, but very alive bugs on the dresser and immediately moved it outside into the snow.  The pest control technician treated the dresser thoroughly and told me if I left it outside in the cold for several weeks that would probably take care of any that he may have missed. And of course he was willing to come back and treat again if necessary, as often as necessary (4 treatments altogether). I'm sorry, but that dresser would never see the inside of my house again!

We finally did get rid of the pests. No more bites, no more itching. Thankfully, we caught the infestation early enough that they never ventured into other rooms. Life is back to normal around here!

You ask, "Will I ever buy a piece of used furniture again?" It's too soon to ask me that question. Right now I say, "No Way!" That said, I did get quite an education about what to look for on used furniture and what the signs of current or previous bedbug infestations are. For sure I will look very, very closely at a used item of furniture. But will I actually buy it and bring it into my house? I'm thinking probably not. The cost to eradicate bedbugs is in the hundreds and hundreds of dollars, like more than a thousand, and we didn't even have a "significant" (pest control's term, not mine!) infestation.

So what did we do with the dresser? 


My handy husband cut a hole in the top, secured the drawers either shut or open as you see them, and painted it a bright red. We added bricks to the inside bottom behind the bottom drawer to stabilize it and we planted some flowers in it. The color just pops out at you and it adds a lot to the front garden.

This is the most expensive planter ever! But it does make the whole episode a little less painful when I see how bright and cheery it is.

4 comments:

  1. wow, I have had many previously owned pieces of furniture... I'm with you, had NO idea they could be living in the wood!! I guess I will bring every item to your house from now on, and you can inspect it, dear!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I too have purchased numerous pieces of furniture in the past from thrift stores, garage sales, and even took home pieces off the road so this was a major shock for me! But regarding you bringing furniture to my house for inspection....ah, no. I have a better idea. I'll come to your house instead!

      I told the pest control technician that I think I know almost as much as he does about identifying the presence or past infestation of bedbugs in furniture. LOL. I'm all for education but this was one I would have rather not had!

      Delete
  2. Well that's just adorable (the dresser now, not the story behind it!)!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Denise. I found the idea for using dressers as planters on Pinterest. And it was either make it over into a planter or burn it! We couldn't very well donate it to a thrift store (not in good conscience) and who in the world would want to bring it into their house? It works perfectly as a planter.

    ReplyDelete

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