How Did I Get Bed Bugs in My House?
With advancing technology, mattresses are becoming softer and spongier. The newer memory foam models have several layers of foam that offer maximum comfort along with orthopedic benefits. These mattresses, however, are also appealing to several different types of bed bugs, which are small parasitic bugs that search out soft, warm, protected areas for their nesting areas.
While many people might think that having a bed bug infestation in your bedroom is a sign of a lack of hygiene, those pesky little creatures are like covert spies that can make their way into virtually any home, regardless of socioeconomic standing. Bed bugs, unfortunately, are great travelers, and can easily hitch a ride from one home to the next.
If the hotel you stayed at during a recent business trip or family vacation to Cancun was infested with bed bugs, chances are that some of those bugs latched on to your pajamas, suitcase, or any material that you might have placed on the surface of the bed. When you arrive home and place those items on your own bed (or couch), chances are that they will slowly migrate into their new homes.
What is a Bed Bug Bed Protector?
Bed bug mattress covers are the most efficient way to get rid of bed bugs and to prevent them from infesting your mattress. The micropores in the surface of your mattresses allow for greater breathability, but they also offer an entrance for bed bugs to get into the interior layers of the mattress where they are able to make a home and begin to reproduce. Bed bugs can burrow into a mattress and find a great hiding place within the coils, box springs, foam, and even the wood framing.
A bed bug bed protector is a protective encasement for your mattress that is effectively impenetrable for bed bugs. These protectors have two essential objectives. If your mattress is already infested with bed bugs, these protectors will trap the bed bugs inside the mattress. Because of the material, the bed bugs will not be able to bit their way through the bed bug bed protector and will eventually die off because of a lack of access to food (i.e. your blood).
If your mattress is currently free of these pests, a bed bug bed protector is a great preventive strategy to keep them from getting into your mattress. While the bed bugs can still find their way to the top of your bed, they are much easier to deal with on the surface than when they burrow into the interior parts of a mattress. Often, you can visibly see the bed bugs on the protector and sweep them away or individually pick them off to get rid of the problem.
The Difference Between a Bed Bug Bed Protector and a Simple Mattress Cover
A quality bed bug bed protector should be entirely impenetrable to bed bugs. That means that the protector should completely encase the mattress (both top and bottom). Most of the top bed bug bed protectors have an airtight zipper that allows you to easily enclose the mattress. You can also periodically unzip the bed bug bed protector to wash it.
When doing so, however, it is important to make sure that you do not have any visible bed bugs on the surface of the protector to avoid these bugs making their way into your protected mattress. A mattress cover is often advertised as another way to protect your bed from bed bugs. Many models of mattress covers, however, only cover the top part of your mattress with an impenetrable layer.
Instead of zipping around the entire mattress, these products simply lay on top of the mattress itself. While this certainly does add some protection, bed bugs can still penetrate the mattress from the sides or from the bottom. Thus, it is always better to opt for bed bug bed protectors that completely cover the entire mattress with a zipper option.
Another option would be to buy a protector that encases your mattress and then invest in a mattress protector that you place on top of the bed bug bed protector. This will only add another layer of protection while also creating a buffer zone between you and the bed bugs swarming in your mattress.
How Do I Know If I Have Bed Bugs?
In cases of serious infestation, the presence of bed bugs in your mattress will most likely be a no-brainer. Bed bugs bites can be painful and cause allergic reactions. If you find several small bug bites on your arms, your legs, or your stomach that were not there the night before, chances are you have some unwanted guests in your bed.
Another way to check for bed bugs is to physically inspect your bed, especially around the four corner guards of your mattress. Bed bugs will usually try to hide, but you might be able to find them if you look closely in hidden corners of the mattress. Alternatively, you could also install an interception device, which is a small plastic device placed underneath the legs of your mattress.
As the bed bugs climb up and down the legs of your bed, some of them will get trapped in these devices alerting you to the presence of bed bugs. Active monitors emit small amounts of carbon dioxide as a way to attract the bed bugs. While these types of monitors are more expensive, they will quickly let you know whether you have a serious bed bug problem.
Chemicals vs. No Chemicals
Severe infestations of bed bugs in your mattress can lead to severe cases of insomnia. Simply put, it is not easy to sleep when you are being attacked on all fronts by nasty bugs. Insomnia can subsequently lead to other mental and physical health problems and affect your performance at either work or school.
People who are desperate to get rid of the bed bugs that keep them up all night often resort to applying chemical insect repellents to their mattresses in the hope of getting rid of the bed bugs. Unfortunately, many of the bed bugs are often buried too deep in the interior of your mattress to be affected by these repellents and insecticides.
Many mattress covers are chemically impregnated to supposedly ward off the bed bugs. Again, the problem is that most bed bugs simply will not spend enough time on the outside of the mattress cover to be negatively affected by the chemicals in the mattress cover. Rather, you will be the person most affected by the off-gassing chemicals in your mattress cover, often suffering from respiratory irritation or other health problems.
Instead of opting for chemically impregnated mattress covers or sprays, it is best to find an impermeable bed bug bed protector that will simply trap the bed bugs inside the mattress while simultaneously keeping others from getting in.