Buying used furniture, whether from a yard sale, a thrift store, or other source is generally not a good idea as far as pests are concerned. Bringing used furniture into your home is a good way to bring in pests such as german roaches, fleas, and bed bugs.
German roaches spread very quickly and easily. As far as furniture is concerned, they can pretty much be found in any type of furniture imaginable, including mattresses, dressers, sofas, tables, etc. A single pregnant female can produce dozens of baby roaches within just one of her egg capsules.
For fleas, pay special attention to sofas and mattresses. Like german roaches, fleas reproduce very quickly. Due to their tiny size, they can often be more difficult to detect than german roaches or other insects.
Bed bugs were a huge problem around the time of World War 2, but they were mostly eradicated using potent pesticides, such as DDT. DDT has since been removed from the market, and bed bugs have come back with a vengeance. Bed Bugs are very easily transferable from person to person, and home to home. I recently performed a bed bug treatment for a couple who bought a mattress set at a thrift store. The bed bugs quickly spread throughout their home, causing them to have to treat every single room. Out of all of the above listed pests, bed bugs are definitely the hardest, as well as the most expensive to get rid of. A bed bug treatment for a standard 3 – 4 bedroom single family home can range from several hundred dollars up to a few thousand dollars.
Buying second hand furniture that contains any of the above pests can be a very costly mistake, one that would make you wish you had bought new. You may want to think twice before you do so.