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Bed bug infestations are becoming more common with each passing day in most areas of the world, but the bloodsucking pests have proliferated to unmanagaeble levels during the past two decades all across the United States. Earlier this year, Boston joined the top ten list of America’s most bed bug-infested cities for the first time, which probably won’t come as a surprise to many residents of Massachusetts. Inspectors in the state claim that bed bugs were limited to certain areas within Boston just a decade ago, but now every area of the city is a bed bug hotspot.

A good percentage of Boston’s population is made up of students, many of whom are in the bad habit of bringing used sidewalk furniture into their dorms and apartments. Bringing used furniture into a home, especially furniture found on roadside curbs, is one of the most common ways in which bed bug infestations start, as a startling amount of used furniture contains bed bugs.

Every Labor Day weekend Boston sees hundreds, if not thousands of furniture items shabbily placed on the city’s street curbs. This citywide furniture-sharing trend is thought to be the primary reason behind Boston’s rapidly growing rate of bed bug infestations. In an effort to reduce bed bug infestations in the city, employees with the Inspectional Services Department walk Boston’s streets on Labor Day where they post bed bug warning stickers on every piece of furniture they see.

While bed bugs are parasitic bloodsucking pests, the insects are not known to transmit diseases to humans. However, living with a bed bug infestation can take a physical and psychological toll on victims, with their bites causing symptoms ranging from local itchiness to anaphylaxis. In some cases, bed bug bites have even led to skin infections, including Staph. aureus, but past victims largely agree that the insomnia and high stress that goes along with sharing a bed with bloodsucking insects served as the most significant threat to their health.

Have you ever transported bed bugs into your home via used furniture?