How to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress

When you first learn that your home is the site of a bed bug infestation, there’s a tendency to go a little ballistic. After all, we’ve all heard the horror stories, which explains why some homeowners will immediately begin throwing out their mattresses or even burning them. Okay, maybe not actually burning them (we hope), but homeowners do get rather desperate at times. But will these drastic actions succeed in getting rid of bed bugs? For the most part, the answer is a resounding “no.”

Let’s take a look at why such actions aren’t effective for stopping bed bug infestations.

Disposing of your mattress

Bed bug infestations are scary, no doubt about it. Throwing out your mattress does seem to make sense on the surface … throw out the source and the problem will go away, right?

The problem with this logic is that bed bugs can exist in a number of other places, like your couch, lounge chair, and walls. So unless you’re willing to toss out every bit of  furniture and even the walls separating the rooms of your house, you need to treat the problem in a different way.

A story to learn about: Why is disposing your mattress a bad idea?

We once had a clients who decided to get rid of her bed before having a bed bug inspection. She saw two bed bugs on the box spring and one under the mattress, she also had bed bug bites. She freaked out and discarded her bed and bedding. The problem started a few weeks after when she had another bed bug infestation in her new bed. She was ready to cry when she called us.

What did she do wrong?

She was sure that after throwing out her bed and bedding, her bed bug problem was going to be solved. However, she was not careful enough when taking these extreme measures and she had spread the infestation thought her home. When we conducted our bed bug dog inspection, we found bed bugs in her living room curtains, her sofa, new mattress and box spring. She lived in an apartment building and when bringing the bed down the stairs she might have left some bed bug eggs or actual bed bugs on the stairs. After we finished our bed bug inspection, our bed bug exterminator proceeded with the removal process.

hotel bed made

We have seen many stories like this one. It is very easy to get grossed out about bed bug infestation but sometimes the DIY approach causes more harm. Remember bed bugs are crawlers and taking them out of your house does not mean that they won’t come back or won’t infest a neighbor.

Spraying like crazy

When we see bugs in our home, our first tendency is often to grab the closest bug spray and kill them instantly. Bed bugs, however, will take refuge in all the nooks and crannies in your walls, and in the folds of your furniture, making it very difficult — if not impossible — to reach the little parasites.

Bug bombs fall into this category as well. Other insects will be greatly affected by filling your home with pesticide. But many bed bugs will stay hidden, untouched by the poison.

Refusing professional help

As a homeowner, you probably want to do as much as possible all by yourself. That’s definitely a commendable attitude to take. When it comes to bed bug infestations, however, it’s also a risky attitude to take. Bed bugs are often difficult to find and professionals know what to look for.

Plus, if you miss only a few bed bugs, you might be looking at subsequent infestations in the future, and you’ll have to start all over again. Not only will a professional company get rid of your bed bug infestation problem, they’ll guarantee their work. Which means that if any are missed and the critters come back, these pros will return to finish the job.

Signs of bed bugs on mattress

There are some sings that you can follow to make sure that the problem that your having is a bed bug infestation. The main ones are visual signs of bed bugs (you see them) and bed bug bites. We have found cases where people think that they have bed bugs but they are getting bitten by another insect. Make sure you identify the bites before jumping to conclusions. Other insects’ bites might look very similar to bed bug bites. This article Difference Between Bed Bug Bites And Other Bites helps you compare bed bug bites with other insects’ bites.

bed bug colony in mattress

Visual identification is another sign that you may have a bed bug infestation. You also want to be very careful when identifying bed bugs. They are similar to other bugs such as carpet beetles and bat bugs. Bed bugs are very small in size, flat and oval, they are mainly brown in color but if they just fed they start turning red, like the baby bed bug in the picture below. For more information on bugs that look like bed bugs take a look at this article What Are Some Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs.

If you are sure that the problem you’re dealing with is bed bugs the first thing to do is to call a professional. After a bed bug exterminator has treated your house it is always save to find a bed bug mattress cover.

Why Do You Need a Bed Bug Mattress Cover

A bed bug mattress cover will trap bed bugs inside your box spring

Box springs are notorious for harboring bed bugs. There are many small places in a box spring where bed bugs can easily hide. Even if you know they’re inside, it’s often hard to get rid of them due to its design.

A bed bug mattress cover designed for a box spring will help keep any existing critters inside so that they won’t be able to reach you.

A bed bug mattress cover will protect against tears

If your mattress has a lot of wear, it’s possible that you may have tears in the fabric. This is the perfect opportunity for bed bugs to get inside your mattress. And once they’re gotten inside, you might find it very difficult to get rid of them.

Like a box spring, a mattress cover will help keep these little parasites inside the mattress, which means they will be unable to get to you.

A bed bug mattress cover will keep them out

These mattress covers aren’t only for use after a bed bug infestation has occurred. While they will protect you from the parasites that have already made their way inside your box spring or mattress, this is only one of their advantages.

The other advantage is the fact that these covers will keep them out during any future invasion. The bed bugs will be unable to penetrate the mattress covers, which means they’ll have fewer places to hide.

A bed bug mattress cover will provide an easier view

One thing to remember is that these mattress covers will not protect you completely. That is to say, bed bugs might not be able to get inside your mattress in order to hide or wait until you’re asleep, but they are still going to attempt to get to you.

The good news is that mattress covers will ensure that any bed bugs who try to stir up trouble will be easily found because they have no place to hide. This can make the them easy targets.

3 Tips on Choosing a Bed Bug Mattress Cover

One fundamental way to prevent and combat a bed bug infestation is using a bed bug mattress cover. This product not only offers a way to resolve an existing bed bug problem, but a bed bug mattress cover will also serve as a preventative measure to avoid future bed bug problems where the mattress – a prime nesting and feeding ground – is concerned.

A mattress cover will encase your mattress and, separately, your box spring. The cover is made out of a tightly-woven fabric that prevents even the smallest of bed bugs from making themselves to home in your mattress. However, not every bed bug mattress cover is created equal so buyer beware! There are a few important points of note when shopping for a cover for this specialized purpose.

How to find the bed bug mattress cover

Here are three key considerations when shopping for a bed bug mattress cover:

  1. Check its zipper technology: Some mattress covers may not have a zipper that truly seals the mattress or box spring. Because bed bugs are so small, they might be able to squeeze into a mattress cover if the cover has been cheaply made with a standard zipper. Look for those that offer zipper technology where the zipper has been designed to work with the encasement process rather than against it.
  2. Consider a double-duty cover: Some mattress covers are also designed to protect you from allergens and dust mites with special materials that help reduce these types of irritants and pests. This can help you and your family to breathe easier by reducing allergic reactions and minimizing ear, nose, and throat problems that many allergies can cause. Look for words like hypoallergenic on the mattress cover information. You also want to ensure that mattress cover may be waterproof, especially if you are putting it on a child’s bed.
  3. Take the comfort factor: Look for a mattress cover that uses comfortable fabrics or even includes a pillow top layer to make the mattress cover an enjoyable part of your sleep experience. That means foregoing those mattress covers that are made of polyester or some other type of slippery material that can lead to discomfort.

Other Features – Bed Bug Mattress Cover
You want to also make sure that the mattress cover is easy to put on, comes in several sizes that actually fit the mattress, and is machine washable. When you find a few that you think might fit the bill, do further research by reviewing comments posted online from past customers.  Today, it’s easier than ever to find out what others think about a particular bed bug mattress cover in terms of effectiveness, quality and value.

In Summary
The key points in this blog post are:

  • Do not throw out your bed if you suspect or know you have a bed bug infestation
  • Over-spraying and DIYs can be harmful
  • Make sure you’ve identified the pest before freaking out
  • If you’ve been bitten double check the bites. Are they really bed bug bites?
  • Make sure the mattress cover does really encase the mattress or box spring, including places around the zipper.
  • Consider a mattress cover that also helps with dust mites, allergens, and pet hair. You might also want to ensure that it is waterproof.
  • Look for mattress covers made with high-quality materials that combine comfort with effective bed bug treatment.

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