(photo by Ben Hottel 2011)
clean white sheets

Used Furniture

Bringing used furniture into your dorm or apartment can potentially lead to a bed bug infestation.  Used furniture left out on the curb, at garage sales, or found at any other locations can all be potential harborages of bed bugs from infested dwellings.  Because of this, used furniture should be avoided.  If used furniture is taken into a dorm room or apartment, you should thoroughly inspect the cracks, crevices, and seams of the furniture for bed bugs.  It is also advised to either fumigate or heat treat the furniture. Furniture can be treated with Nuvan® Prostrips (Amvac Chemical Corporation) in a sealed plastic bag or container.  It is important to always follow labeled instructions when using pesticides. Furniture made of wicker and other like materials should be avoided completely.  It is difficult to inspect these items and they make great harborages for bed bugs.

Second Hand Clothing

Second hand clothing, like used furniture, also poses a threat to introducing bed bugs to your dorm room or apartment.  All second hand clothing should be placed in a drier at high heat for at least 30 minutes before they can be considered bed bug free.

Mattress Encasements

There are encasements made that can cover mattresses and box springs that both prevents bed bugs from infesting the original mattress and makes bed bug inspections much easier.  Encased mattresses are also easier to clean if bed bugs are found. 


To make it easier to spot evidence of bed bugs (such as bed bug fecal droppings or blood stains), use white or light colored sheets.

Reduce Clutter

Keeping your room free of clutter, especially around your bed, can reduce the number of potential places bed bugs can hide if they do get into your room.

Moving into a Furnished Apartment

There are advantages and disadvantages of choosing to move into a furnished apartment.  One of those disadvantages is the greater threat of encountering bed bug infested furniture.  When moving into an apartment, one should thoroughly inspect mattress and furniture for bed bugs.  Look in cracks, crevices, and seams for any evidence of bed bugs (eggs, droppings, blood stains, shed skins, and of course the actual bed bugs). If bed bugs are found, notify the landlord immediately. Jeff White at bed has two videos that show how to inspect mattresses and furniture.




When traveling the most likely place that you will pick up bed bugs is at the hotel or hostel you are staying at.  There are a couple of preventative measures one can take to significantly reduce the chance of bringing bed bugs back to your home after traveling.   

  1. Do not place luggage on or near the bed.  Place your luggage on the floor away from furniture.  If you are really concerned, the bathtub is the best place to put your luggage.  By doing this, you are reducing the risk bed bugs that will get into your luggage if there happens to be bed bugs in your hotel room.

  2. Inspect the box spring, mattress, and head board of the bed. Check the seams and crevices for the presence of eggs, bed bugs, bed bug shed skins, or bed bug droppings.  One can also check nearby furniture for bed bugs.  A flash light is necessary for all bed bug inspections. If bed bugs are found, notify the hotel staff and you will be relocated to a new room.  It is advisable to also check the new room for bed bugs.  Note: even if you don’t find bed bugs, it doesn’t mean they are not there.  It can be very difficult to find bed bugs if it is a minor infestation.

  3. Keep all of your clothes in sealed plastic bags. Once you return home, wash and then dry clothing on high heat for at least 15 minutes.

  4. Inspect suitcases for bed bugs before bringing them to your dorm or apartment. Check seams, crevices, and zippers for any evidence of bed bugs. You may even want to place your luggage in a tightly sealed garbage bag until your next trip.  If your suitcase is infested or you suspect that it's infested, you can kill the bed bugs by using Nuvan® Prostrips (Amvac Chemical Corporation) following the labeled instructions.

  5. One can also look at the websites and bed to see if there have been any reported infestation issues at the hotel you are staying.
  6. Jeff White at has an informational video on some steps to take while traveling.  See: