None of us want bed bugs, and we all want to do our best to avoid them. But what is the appropriate level of bed bug anxiety? Sometimes it helps to take a step back and look at our life and assess whether we’re living cautiously or driving ourselves insane.
A good example of an appropriate amount of bed bug anxiety comes to us from this Gothamist advice column asking if it’s a good idea to buy used mattresses off Craigslist. As we’re sure you can guess the answer is no – and even if this article weren’t specific to New York the answer should always be no. Ignoring any other potential gross issues with a used mattress the possibility of getting bed bugs from them will always make us advise against purchasing them. This is a level of paranoia that is appropriate and healthy. However, the rest of the column gets into a bit of a grey-area when they advise against purchasing any used furniture. In our opinion this is a bit of an overreaction – avoiding upholstered furniture is a good idea, but some pieces of furniture (like bookcases, tables, etc.) can be easily vacuumed and inspected – or even heat treated – and you can be sure that you won’t be bringing bed bugs into your home.
Unfortunately we frequently encounter people who go even further into having an unhealthy level of bed bug anxiety. This isn’t just avoiding all used furniture/items, but into such an anxious state that they believe they have bed bugs when they don’t. A great example of this is mentioned in this overview from a pest control professional. He recently had a customer – with a brand new, unlived in house – who took any surface flaws in painting/carpeting as a sure sign of infestation. Even more severe are those who believe that there are bugs crawling over their skin, and who grow frustrated when everyone disregards them. In these cases we can’t just remind people to calm down – medical attention is necessary.
When living your life it’s important to have an appropriate level of bed bug anxiety. Take precautions to avoid getting bed bugs – like avoiding used mattresses and heat treating used items you do purchase – but don’t let it control you. You should enjoy your life and not let the fear of bed bug infestations prevent you from travel, or from enjoying your daily existence.