Can bed bugs live in new or used furniture and how to check for signs?
If you’ve ever wondered about whether bed bugs live in wood, then, the next logical question would be: “Can bed bugs live in wood furniture?”
This post will get straight to the point. The answer is “Yes”, so read on to find out why and learn how to check your furniture, new or used, for bed bugs.
Click to see contents
- 1 Can Bed Bugs Live in Wood & MDF for that matter?
- 2 Bed Bugs – Behavior & Habits?
- 3 Signs of Bed Bugs in Wood Furniture
- 4 How to Check Wood Furniture for Bed Bugs?
- 5 Where Bed Bugs Hide?
- 6 Using Caulk to Prevent Bed Bugs
- 7 Bed Bugs – FAQs:
- 8 Final Thoughts on Bed Bugs in Wood Furniture
Can Bed Bugs Live in Wood & MDF for that matter?
Source: Casey Nye
Bed bugs are determined little things that can adapt to all sorts of conditions and hostile environments. They can survive extreme temperatures and go without food for months. They don’t fly and can’t jump, but can crawl pretty well on almost any surface, possibly excluding glass and shiny plastic, like PVC.
Both natural and engineered wood, though, don’t pose huge problems for these blood-sucking critters to move about, relocate and hide. Their “love” for hiding – that’s the core trait in the pests’ behavior.
And wood, being a common material prone to change, and wear and tear, naturally provides plenty of hiding places for these pesky bugs.
At Just Wood Furniture, we know that natural wood will always react to fluctuations in humidity levels and temperatures by expanding and shrinking. Also, as an organic material, in time, it can easily get worn out, chipped, scratched, or infested by wood-boring insects.
The result is cracks and crevices – the perfect place for bed bugs to hide and lay eggs.
For those peculiar, read about:
MDF vs. Solid Wood: Which Type of Furniture Is Better?
Let’s move forward,
Bed Bugs – Behavior & Habits?
Now, let’s delve into the insects’ feeding habits, life cycle specifics, and harborage preferences.
- Diet – Bed bugs feed on blood. Human blood is what they are genetically designed to munch on. Still, there are species that feed on bats’ blood, and generally, any warm-blooded animal can become a temporary food source if needs be. Without blood, the tiny insects (about 5mm in size) can’t develop and get to the next lifecycle stage.
- Breeding – Females can’t produce eggs without a blood meal, either. They can lay up to 3 eggs per day, every day (200 to 250 for their entire life). Under optimum conditions (at a temperature of 86°F – 90°F and 75% humidity), the egg-to-egg life cycle takes approximately one month. The nymphs of bed bugs molt their skin 5 times until they reach adulthood.
- Shelter – Bed bugs don’t live on their host. The insects only feed on it for about 10 minutes and then, they will scurry back to their hiding place, which could be indeed any wooden structure, flooring or piece of furniture. If given the choice, the pests will actively feed at night and then, hide, rest, breed in their harborage spots. These can be also inside soft furniture, toys, upholstery and more.
Signs of Bed Bugs in Wood Furniture
When it comes to spotting traces of bed bug activity, you will probably find the first signs in your bedroom and on yourself, as you’ll likely be bitten.
“It’s not hard to notice the sure evidence of their nocturnal feasts initially on bed sheets, mattresses and along seams and folds of upholstered furniture.” says Amber Morris, 247 Pest Control expert from London.
These are the usual indicators of a bed bug problem:
- Dry bloodstains;
- Fecal brown marks;
- Shed skins and even;
- Live specimens;
- Musky odor, which may permeate the entire room with infested furniture.
Of course, it’s harder to discern their presence in cracks and tiny holes on wooden surfaces and furniture, as the insects like to camouflage themselves pretty well. As they are dark in color and flat (shaped like an apple seed), the pests will naturally go for wood that is black, brown, or dark red.
On close inspection of crevices between floorboards, spaces behind baseboards, and in wood furniture, you may be able to see remnants of the bugs’ exoskeletons from molting, white eggs or eggshells, tiny nymphs, or adult bugs. Their flat bodies help them sneak into the most minuscule spaces without a hitch.
“That’s why we have a dedicated procedure for inspecting any type of furniture leftovers in our bins”, mentions Luke Hancock, dumpster bin rental expert & professional. “These pesky critters could hop along and infest other homes over tens or even hundreds of miles away”.
How to Check Wood Furniture for Bed Bugs?
Right then, how exactly do you check wood furniture for bed bugs, be it an upholstered used chair or a conservatory coffee table?
- Get yourself the following materials: an old light-colored sheet, a flat “investigative” tool (like a knife, spatula or even an expired plastic card of some sort), and a flashlight.
- Place the sheet under or next to the furniture (say, you’re inspecting the legs or frame of your king-sized bed).
- Run your flat tool across crevices and joints, as this will hopefully disturb the bugs.
- Inspect cracks and holes with your flashlight, too.
- There’s every chance that a few of the troublesome critters will fall on the white sheet.
Extra tip: You can also try to seal an entry point before poking their hiding place, and this may encourage the bugs to scatter out in confusion.
Where Bed Bugs Hide?
As we’ve established already, the pest insects prefer to nest and breed out of sight, in various structures, items, and furniture around the property, as long as there’s a host nearby. Or in other words, they have no business in a long-uninhabited place that can’t provide them with a vital blood meal.
Where bed bugs hide in your home will largely depend on how suitable a said piece of furnishing or structure is. On that note, you’ll struggle to find them on a plastic garden chair or on your stainless steel or marble kitchen countertop.
Basically, bed bugs love upholstered items, wood furniture, and surfaces, as well as other furnishings, made of textile.
Can bed bugs live in wood dressers?
You can guess that the answer to this question is affirmative. Be it a quaint, antique piece or a recently purchased bespoke wood dresser, this type of furnishing offers plenty of dark and concealed spots in the drawers for bed bugs to settle and build their colony.
Naturally, they’ll need a point of entry to reach, crawling, in order to make their harborage in a wood dresser drawer. If you suspect a bed bug infestation in your home, you can easily make furniture leg bed bug traps and place them near individual pieces around your property, including your bedroom wood dresser.
Can Bed Bugs Live in Hardwood Floors?
Yes, they can.
Again, as we said earlier, bed bugs like to hide near their food source, somewhere dark, warm and secure. And the gaps between floorboards, as well as the space behind baseboards, offer the perfect shelter for the little vampire insects to mate and lay their eggs.
Most likely, they’ll seek harborage in your bedroom hardwood floor, as they prefer to be near their host (ideally, no more than 6 feet).
Note that an infested wood floor could be a sign of a serious bed bug problem. It would mean that female bed bugs have been in need of an extra breeding ground, since the space under your mattress, for instance, has been taken over by fellow female bed bugs and their family.
Can Bed Bugs live in Wood Bed Frames?
We’ve just covered that the closer a potential shelter is to the blood source the more likely the bed bugs will go for it. And the space in the wooden frame of your bed is one of those attractive places. That’s just one of the many advantages and disadvantages metal bed frames have against wooden units.
The grooves, cracks, and uneven spots in wooden slats, outer frames, and headboards of a bed also provide everything a bed bug colony needs to thrive. Most importantly, you are right there every night to offer them their nightly dose of “life-saving” and nutritious red liquid.
Using Caulk to Prevent Bed Bugs
When you identify a bed bug colony in your wood furniture or another structure made of wood, you can resort to a professional bed bug treatment, first, and then, seal all entry points with caulk. This will block the access for any newcomers to sneak in again.
To prevent a bed bug re-infestation, apply evenly the caulk with a caulk gun on every hole, crack, groove or crevice of the wooden piece of furniture.
Also, this way, even if there are a few lucky survivors, hidden deep into the structure or item, you’ll be able to block effectively their exit, which will lead to the insects’ soon-after demise.
Extra tip: To protect your treated wood floor against future bed bug issues, seal it with a quality varnish or a topical sealant.
Bed Bugs – FAQs:
In case you’re interested in a few curious facts about the troublesome blood-sucking insects, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about them below.
Are Bed Bugs Attracted to Wood?
Well, we can’t say that bed bugs are picky and have a preference for a specific material. What they are looking for in a perspective “home”, where they can lay their eggs, is how well concealed and secure it is. Seams, creases, and folds in mattresses and upholstered furnishings, as well as crevices, cracks, and grooves in wood, are just far too good for the bugs to give them a miss.
Just as an example, a frameless metal bed offers less comfort to the opportunistic tiny critters. The pests will also “consider” the proximity of the shelter to their food.
After all, it’s not safe for them to crawl, exposed, more than 20 feet across the room from their hiding place to go for a night out, full of bloody adventures.
Do Bed Bugs Eat Wood?
The answer is “No”. They eat blood – your blood. How bed bugs detect their food source is by sensing the heat and CO2, emitted by their potential host.
Also, insects in overcrowded situations will happily munch on your dog or cat, too, infesting their bedding, as well. For you, this will mean that your property is almost definitely suffering from a bed bug infestation that’s gone way out of hand. On that note, it’s not impossible to have a wood surface, fixture or piece of furniture that’s been infested by more than one type of pest. In other words, it’s not uncommon if you find that the wood has been eaten through by termites or wood-boring beetles, which have provided a colony of bed bugs with plenty of hiding spots to nest. Hence, this often asked question.
Can Bed Bugs Climb Wood?
Bed bugs can traverse almost any type of surface, including walls and ceilings, as long as it’s not overly smooth, like chrome or polished glass, for instance.
So, even seemingly glossy, varnished wood can be scaled by the insects with ease. If you get a magnifying glass and inspect closely the legs of your wooden bed, you’ll probably notice tiny indentations and uneven spots on top.
To sum up, bed bugs can claw their way through “rough” or relief surfaces without a problem. And wood is one of them.
Final Thoughts on Bed Bugs in Wood Furniture
Finally, one piece of advice, we’d like to give you. It’s best to avoid buying antique furniture from dubious retailers, who cannot provide you with evidence that the piece has been checked and properly disinfected and treated against various pests. Also, it’s really not worth the risk of getting wooden and upholstered furniture form a yard sale.
It’s simply very unlikely that the owner of the piece would have bothered to do anything to it to make sure that it’s not infested with creepy crawlies prior to selling it.
Don’t collect furniture from the curb, either, of course! After all, the item has been thrown away for a reason, right?
Check out the link below to see the latest and best products to combat bed bugs and dust mites