There is a lot of moving going on in the area I live. Many leases are turning over August 1st or September 1st. I have seen lots of furniture on the curb for free and there are several places that offer furniture swaps or sell the used furniture at bargain prices. There are also a number of people giving their used furniture away to friends they know that could use it.
I had a caller yesterday concerned about her college-aged son getting a free couch from a friend. Her main concern was if bed bugs might be present. She did not want him to be affected by that or to introduce bed bugs into his apartment. That is a legitimate concern for sure.
Bed bugs are a headache and can be difficult to get rid of on your own. The first thing you need to do is make sure there really are bed bugs present. The EPA and the University of Kentucky have great websites with pictures for identifying, preventing, and getting rid of bed bugs. It can be very difficult to get rid of bed bugs yourself. Most often it is necessary to contact a pest control company to come and rid your infested areas of bed bugs.
Besides being concerned about used furniture you might pick up, traveling can also be a concern. The EPA has tips for travel when you are staying in a hotel room. Since bed bugs are most active at night when you are sleeping it is a good idea to be diligent when you check into your room. It takes only a few minutes and can prevent a lot of hassles for you.
Bed bugs were practically eradicated a few decades ago but infestations have increased dramatically in recent years due to changes in pest control practices, less effective insecticides due to bed bugs being more resistant and the general population not being as vigilant as we should be.
Bed bugs do not favor any socioeconomic class or level of cleanliness. They can be anywhere. I hope none of us ever has to personally deal with them but if you do or know of others who are dealing with them, I hope the research based sites mentioned above are helpful.