Bed bug issues in the East prompts some to stop reselling furniture

December 15, 2015 | by Josh Birch

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A bed bug problem that some exterminators said is growing in areas in the East has prompted some to ban selling furniture and mattresses for the time being.The Pitt County Online Yardsale posted a message to users on December 12th informing people they no longer could sell or buy couches or furniture. This message came just one day after WNCT’s original story reported a possible bed bug problem in some Greenville Housing Authority’s units.

Tom Davis with D and D Pest Control said the bed bug problem is spreading.

“Usually you’re seeing them in the low income areas, now it’s starting to spread out and getting into the university area and then some of the higher income people,” Davis said.

Getting rid of bed bugs once you have them is an expensive process, one that could end up costing you thousands of dollars. Davis said they generally either use a heat or chemical treatment.

Places that resell furniture like the Salvation Army are by law required to sanitize mattresses before selling them. Robert Frye with the Salvation Army in Greenville said they won’t take mattresses that appear to have bed bugs. As soon as mattresses arrive, they are taken to the sanitization room where they are exposed to high temperatures for several hours.

While state law requires this process to be followed for reselling mattresses, it doesn’t apply to other items bed bugs can travel on like couches and clothes. For those, Frye said it is just an eye test.

“We inspect them again, to make sure they’re in good condition,” he said. “We look at the surroundings where they come out of, and we do the best we can.”

Bargain prices for items are generally what drive people into stores like the Salvation Army. Bonita Tyson was there looking at a bed for sale.

“In the store it normally costs about $500 or $600, and they have it here for like $199,” she said.

However, she said she is always careful about what she brings in to her home. She said whenever she buys something, she always sanitizes it herself before it enters her house.

If you move into a unit or house and find there are bed bugs there, you have up until 60 days to notify your landlord. At that time, the landlord would be responsible for treating the bed bugs. If more than 60 days go by, state law says the tenant is then responsible.

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