Do You Volunteer In A Charitable Thrift Store? 3 Things To Know About Bed Bugs

Working for a charitable organization is a rewarding position. While it does feel good to help people in need, it is also important to remember that the people who donate their used items may accidentally be giving you more than you expected. Used clothing and furniture are known to harbor bed bugs, and it is easy to overlook these tiny insects and accidentally spread a problem throughout the store.

If someone purchases the infested items, they can also spread the problem throughout your community. As a volunteer at a thrift store, you have a responsibility to help make sure that no one is exposed to bed bugs. You can do your part to stop infestations before they become widespread by using these three important tips.

Be Cautious With All Types of Furniture

Just the name bed bugs creates a few misconceptions. Bed bugs may prefer to stay near the areas where their hosts sleep, but they can also be found in other types of furniture. Cloth-covered furniture is the main place where you can find these bugs, and you need to check couches and chairs carefully along the cushions and seams. You should also know that bed bugs can sometimes be found in the cracks of dressers and tables with drawers. If there is lining in the drawers, then look for peeled areas where the bed bugs might have gone behind to hide.

Get Familiar With What Bed Bugs Look Like

Bed bugs can look similar to other types of insects, such as beetles and cockroaches. While you also don't want these insects in your store or customers' homes, you still want to make sure that you know what type of insect you are dealing with in your shop. Bed bugs are flat, oval insects that are only a few millimeters long. You can look up images of them online, along with what infested furniture and bedding may look like. For instance, you can look for small black specks that are their feces or eggs.

Keep in mind, however, that you need a bed bug control professional to make the final say on the identification to be certain that your charity's treatment method works.

Watch Out For Infestations at Home

Although it is rare, it is possible for you to bring bed bugs home with you at the end of the day. Inspecting the items that you handle in the store helps to ensure that you do not bring them home. You will also want to periodically inspect your bedroom and living areas for signs of an infestation. If you suspect that you see a bed bug or their droppings, then arrange for a professional inspection before it gets worse.