Finding bed bugs in drawers is a common sight, especially in homes infested with these pests.
While your bed mattress might be the first thing you’d check if there’s an infestation, these bed bugs may also find themselves hiding through small cracks, tiny holes or openings, and even inside drawers.
Believe it or not, a dresser or a drawer is one of the most favorite hiding spots of bed bugs.
But how do bed bugs get in the drawers in the first place?
You might think that a bed bug, being so small and lightweight, would not be able to get inside your dresser or drawer. However, these little pests are surprisingly adept at squeezing themselves into just about any tiny crack or hole they can find.
These pests can easily hide and even thrive in most wooden furniture you have at home – and yes, this includes your kitchen cabinets, wardrobe, closets, and your dresser drawers.
How Do These Bed Bugs End Up in Your Drawers in the First Place?
You’ve traveled recently and stayed in a nice hotel, motel, or Airbnb. You might not notice at first, but most of the time, these pests usually come from public spaces, such as hotel rooms and other areas that have had infestations in the past.
Let’s say you’ve stayed in the place for a couple of days. You lie down on an infested mattress, with your clothes in your luggage on the floor nearby.
Now, when you leave, these bed bugs that have been snuggling up with you for the past couple of days will have hitched a ride in your clothes.
As you bring your things back home, these bed bugs will come along with you and usually find refuge in any area that’s dark and warm.
It can be your mattress, your closet, or, most probably, your drawer or cabinets. While these pests get their name from being usually found in beds, they can also easily hide inside other furniture pieces found in your home.
Once these bed bugs have settled and found a warm and dark place to stay, their population will start to get out of control. They’ll soon start to multiply and stay in these areas until it’s too late for you to realize there’s already an infestation.
What if you haven’t traveled recently? Bed bugs are found everywhere. Despite them being nocturnal pests, these bugs can also travel inside homes and apartments.
Aside from hitching a ride home from public sleeping places, they are also found in furniture sets, clothes, and other pieces that are bought from second-hand stores or thrift shops.
If you’ve purchased a piece of used furniture, it’s always safe to assume that it could be a carrier of pests, bed bugs included.
How to Identify Bed Bugs in Your Drawer?
Finding a single bed bug inside your drawer might not be the prettiest sight. However, being able to see them early on gives you the opportunity to do something about it quickly – even before the infestation worsens.
There’s no denying that bed bug treatments come with a hefty price tag, not to mention it takes more than one day to address the issue.
But do you know what the hardest part is? Looking for bed bugs when you don’t have any idea on how to identify these pests. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert in order to do this.
Here are some signs that could tell that there are bed bugs present in your drawer:
If you’ve been seeing red stains on your bed sheets, particularly those light fabrics, then it’s possible that the red marks are actually bed bug stains.
A bed bug’s main diet is human blood – and these red marks are, in fact, blood stains. These stains can be caused when bed bugs are crushed, either during human movements or when the drawer is opened and closed.
Aside from red stains, you should also be on the lookout for dark-colored spots usually found in bed sheets, fabrics, furniture pieces, and your drawer.
Aside from the red-tinged spots, they’re also partnered with small black spots. These are bed bug excrements and can be seen in different pieces of furniture, not just in your drawer.
Presence of Exoskeletons / Shed Skin
Most of us know that snakes shed their skin – and bed bugs shed their skin the same way these snakes do. Oftentimes, these exoskeletons look like bed bugs – and the only difference would be is that these exoskeletons are missing legs.
Look carefully and check if there is any shed skin around your drawer. If you see one (or probably more), it’s a sure sign that bed bugs have been hiding and taken refuge inside your drawers.
Musty or Foul Odor
Although rare, some homeowners have reported that they’ve seen a musty and foul smell coming from their drawers with bed bug infestations.
It can be the pheromones that these bed bugs are producing or their poop or droppings. Nevertheless, this last sign is usually accompanied by all the other three signs we’ve mentioned above.
Getting Rid of Bed Bugs From Your Drawer: Things You Can Try
If you’ve noticed red and black spots partnered with bed bug shells in your drawer, it’s time to do something about it.
Their presence in your wooden drawer might mean there’s an infestation in the room, but to help eliminate and minimize their numbers, here are some things you can do:
Take Out All Sheets and Fabric from Your Wooden Dresser or Drawer
This might be a time-consuming process, but the presence of bed bugs inside your drawer means that you need to take out everything – sheets, fabric, clothes, and stuffed toys.
Take them all out and place in a sealed plastic or container.
Never Mix These Clothes with Other Garments
The last thing you want to do is to spread the infestation even further. When taking out clothes from the drawers, never mix them with other pieces of clothing from your closet or cabinet.
Doing so will just aggravate the situation instead of eliminating it.
Wash Your Clothes in Hot Water and Place in Dryer
Bed bugs are quite resilient, but there’s a limit to their resiliency. Washing infested clothes in warm or hot water and leaving them in the dryer usually kills these bugs.
Bed bugs love humid conditions, but they can’t survive extremely high temperatures. When temperatures reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit, their resiliency is tested and they usually die.
Spread a Generous Amount of Baking Soda in Your Drawer
Baking soda, an effective cleaning agent and a staple in most kitchens, also doubles as a bed bug killer. Just place generous amounts of baking soda in your drawers and leave it overnight.
We’ve mentioned that bed bugs love humid and dark conditions. When you add baking soda in your drawers, it absorbs all the moisture inside these dark spaces.
When there’s no moisture, bed bugs are most likely to die. It’s best not to open the drawer for at least 24 hours – longer if you can.
Sweep and Vacuum Your Wooden Drawer After 24 Hours
Once the baking soda has done its job, it’s time to sweep and vacuum your drawers. The baking soda has worked by now, so removing residual bed bugs should be easy.
Make sure you inspect each corner of the drawer – even the small crevices near the handles and knobs.
If you’re not confident about this, you may repeat the process and ensure that the baking soda is left for another 24 hours or so. Repeat the vacuuming process afterwards.
Replace Your Drawer’s Liners
After vacuuming and cleaning your drawers, replace its liners with fresh and new ones. While you’re at it, you may add a drop of cinnamon oil (if you have any), or a plant-based product like Eucalyptus oil to help ward off bed bugs.
Alternatively, you may also try using cedar chips, or cedar oil as bed bug repellants. During the first two weeks, replace and check the liners and make sure that no bed bugs are present. This should be easy since you’ve already vacuumed your drawers with baking soda.
Put Clothes Back In
Given that you’ve washed everything inside your wooden drawer, you can now put your clothes back in. Make sure that the clothes are completely dry before you put them back in.
You may also want to double check each piece of garment for bed bugs. If you’re fully confident that none has survived the washer and dryer, you may now put them back in your drawer.
How to Avoid Bringing Home Bed Bugs When You Travel
Staying in a public place doesn’t have to mean you’re at risk of bringing home bed bugs. Here are some tips you can follow to make sure that doesn’t happen:
Keep Luggage in a Plastic Bag
It’s nearly impossible to do a quick sweep and inspection at a hotel or motel, so keeping your luggage in a plastic bag is a simple way of minimizing the risk of bringing home bed bugs.
It’s inevitable, public rooms and hotels might have bed bugs. Aside from keeping your belongings in a plastic bag, try to inspect the room’s mattress and bedding. If you notice any signs of bed bug infestation, contact the manager or receptionist immediately.
Don’t Keep Your Clothes on Wooden Hangers
As much as possible, don’t use public wooden hangers or even closets when you travel. Keeping your clothes inside your suitcase, especially when staying for only a couple of days can significantly reduce your chances of bringing home bed bugs.
Immediately Wash Clothes Once You Get Home
Don’t let your clothes linger inside your suitcase for more than a couple of days. Immediately wash your clothes and put them in the dryer – with temperatures set at high.
As much as possible, throw everything that you can in your washer and run in the dryer.
While this might seem like extreme measures, it’s a small price to pay for making sure that any bed bugs that may have came with you, won’t have the chance to settle inside your home.
The primary reason why bed bugs may get in your drawer is because a single piece of clothing contains one or more bed bugs.
It doesn’t take long for these bed bugs to reproduce and take over your wooden closet, so it’s important to take the initiative and do something about it as soon as you notice them.
As always, preventative measures are the best way to keep bed bugs not just away from your drawer, but from your house as well.