How Bed Bugs Work
What are bedbugs?
You might find it annoying when the person you sleep beside steals the blanket, but what about sleeping near something that steals your blood? Bedbugs are back. Many of us didn’t even know they were real. They’d all but vanished from the United States after the 1950s, when saturating an infected home with DDT was a common (and quite effective) practice. But DDT has been on the no-no list for some time now. That and a steady increase in international travel are the most probable sources for the steady rise in bedbug infestation, especially in large cities, over the last 10 years or so.
Bedbugs, orCimex lectularius,feed on humans and other animal hosts, like birds and bats, and have been around pretty much forever. These insects are called "bedbugs" because they eat primarily while their host is asleep, so the host’s sleeping area (whether a bed or nest) is the most common area for the tiny insects to feed, hide, and lay their eggs in. But couches, upholstered chairs, bed frames, cracks in walls and molding, clothing, ceiling holes for light fixtures and pretty much any dark, protected area is game for bedbug housing (though they do tend to prefer wood to metal). Full-grown adults are only a quarter-inch (0.64 centimeters) long and are fairly flat, so they can slip into almost any space. The youngest ones are hardly visible to the naked eye.
The bug has an oval-shaped outer shell through which you can often see their hosts’ blood as a dark spot beneath the surface. Like many other insects, they insert a syringelike "mouth" extension into the host’s skin. Bedbugs will target any area of exposed skin. It can take anywhere from three to 10 minutes for the bug to fill up, and the host seldom wakes up while being bitten. Its bite is more annoying than truly harmful, as bedbugs have never been known to transmit diseases to humans. But when they pierce the skin with their beaks to draw blood, they release some of their saliva into the broken skin, and over time, repeated exposure can result in an allergic reaction to the bites. This mostly means more itchiness and swelling than you find with a typical mosquito bite, and some over-the-counter antihistamine and anti-inflammatory drugs are usually all you need to fix the discomfort. Some people don’t react to the bites or saliva exposure at all.
Continue to the next page to learn how to get rid of this annoying roommate.
In this Article
In this Article
In this Article
Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color.
Bedbugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Female bedbugs may lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime.
Immature bedbugs, called nymphs, shed their skins five times before reaching maturity and require a meal of blood before each shedding. Under favorable conditions the bugs can develop fully in as little as a month and produce three or more generations per year.
Although they are a nuisance, they are not thought to transmit diseases.
Where Bed Bugs Hide
Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people to bite in the night.
Over time, however, they may scatter through the bedroom, moving into any crevice or protected location. They may also spread to nearby rooms or apartments.
Because bedbugs live solely on blood, having them in your home is not a sign of dirtiness. You are as likely to find them in immaculate homes and hotel rooms as in filthy ones.
When Bedbugs Bite
Bedbugs are active mainly at night and usually bite people while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin and withdrawing blood through an elongated beak. The bugs feed from three to 10 minutes to become engorged and then crawl away unnoticed.
Most bedbug bites are painless at first, but later turn into itchy welts. Unlike flea bites that are mainly around the ankles, bedbug bites are on any area of skin exposed while sleeping. Also, the bites do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites do.
People who don’t realize they have a bedbug infestation may attribute the itching and welts to other causes, such as mosquitoes. To confirm bedbug bites, you must find and identify the bugs themselves.
Signs of Infestation
If you wake up with itchy areas you didn’t have when you went to sleep, you may have bedbugs, particularly if you got a used bed or other used furniture around the time the bites started. Other signs that you have bedbugs include:
- Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases
- Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls
- Bedbug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where bedbugs hide
- An offensive, musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands
If you suspect an infestation, remove all bedding and check it carefully for signs of the bugs or their excrement. Remove the dust cover over the bottom of the box springs and examine the seams in the wood framing. Peel back the fabric where it is stapled to the wood frame.
Also, check the area around the bed, including inside books, telephones or radios, the edge of the carpet, and even in electrical outlets. Check your closet, because bedbugs can attach to clothing. If you are uncertain about signs of bedbugs, call an exterminator, who will know what to look for.
If you find signs of infestation, begin steps to get rid of the bugs and prevent their return.
Getting rid of bedbugs begins with cleaning up the places where bedbugs live. This should include the following:
- Clean bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Place stuffed animals, shoes, and other items that can’t be washed in the dryer and run on high for 30 minutes.
- Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams to remove bedbugs and their eggs before vacuuming.
- Vacuum your bed and surrounding area frequently. After vacuuming, immediately place the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and place in garbage can outdoors.
- Encase mattress and box springs with a tightly woven, zippered cover to keep bedbugs from entering or escaping. Bedbugs may live up to a year without feeding, so keep the cover on your mattress for at least a year to make sure all bugs in the mattress are dead.
- Repair cracks in plaster and glue down peeling wallpaper to get rid of places bedbugs can hide.
- Get rid of clutter around the bed.
If your mattress is infested, you may want to get rid of it and get a new one, but take care to rid the rest of your home of bedbugs or they will infest your new mattress.
While cleaning up infested areas will be helpful in controlling bedbugs, getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments. Because treating your bed and bedroom with insecticides can be harmful, it is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms. Do not treat mattresses and bedding unless the label specifically says you can use them on bedding.
Generally it is safest and most effective to hire an experienced pest control professional for bedbug extermination.
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture: "Bed Bugs."
Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: "Bed Bugs."
The New York City Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene: "Stop Bed Bugs Safely."
University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Lancaster County: "Managing Bed Bugs."
Bed Bugs in the Workplace
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small, oval shaped, wingless insects. The bugs are about the size of apple seeds. The eggs are white, and are found in clusters. The eggs are about the size of a pin head. The flattened bodies of bed bugs allow them to hide in very small places such as seams of mattresses, cracks, crevices, electrical outlets, box springs, bed frames, headboards, behind wallpaper, or in any other objects around a bed or on the floor. Bed bugs cannot climb metal or polished surfaces and are not able to fly or jump.
Bed bugs typically feed on a diet consisting solely of blood once a week, but they can live months without feeding. They have about a one-year life span during which time females can lay up to 200-400 eggs which hatch in about 10 days. The bugs usually come out at night to feed on the blood of people and animals, biting their victims as they sleep.
How can infestation occur?
Bed bugs move very quickly and can travel through hallways, plumbing, and electrical lines. They can climb into bags or on clothing. They usually feed at night and hide during the day. These insects prefer darkness and tend to hide near the bed. They travel up to 20 feet in search of a human host.
Who is at risk?
Bed bugs can be found anywhere that humans live or visit. Bed bugs can be unknowingly brought into the workplace by employees, custodial staff, visitors, customers, vendors, clients, and others.
Workers potentially at higher risk are those who handle bedding, clothing, or furniture where bed bugs could be hiding. These occupations include fire fighters, health care professionals, housing management staff, housekeeping and custodial staff, police, and social workers who work in or visit hospitals, long-term care facilities, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, motels and residences.
What are the symptoms?
Bed bugs are not known to spread diseases and the bites do not usually require any medical treatment. One way to identify a bed bug infestation is by the bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body parts while sleeping. However, a bed bug bite can take as long as 14 days to appear, depending on the person.
When bed bugs bite, they inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that prevents a person from realizing they are being bitten. Some people do not react at all to the bites, while others may have small skin reactions. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea; slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. In rare cases, some people may have severe allergic reactions.
To avoid infection, try not to scratch the bites and keep the bite sites clean. Using antiseptic creams or lotions, as well as antihistamines, may help. Talk to your health care provider for advice.
How do I find bed bugs?
Some workplaces are susceptible to bed bugs, or perhaps you will find them while working in a clientвЂ™s home or when travelling for work.
Seeing bed bugs can be difficult, but you can try to inspect both hard and soft furniture (such as the head board, night stand, mattresses and box springs) or around electrical outlets and light switches. Look at the seams, between cushions, in the folds of blankets or curtains, etc. for bugs, eggs, or blood stains/droppings. One option is to run an object with a sharp edge (such as a credit card) past these areas to disturb any bugs that may be present.
If you suspect bed bugs are present in the workplace, report this to your supervisor. If your concerns are not addressed in a timely manner, you can report the concern to your joint health and safety committee or health and safety representative. You may also be able to confirm if you have bed bugs by consulting with your local public health unit or pest control operator.
How do you prevent bed bug infestation?
The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspection for the signs of an infestation.
- Be careful when buying used furniture. Inspect each item carefully and wash/clean before use.
- Reduce clutter, as it serves as an ideal habitat for bed bugs whether at home, school, or at work. This housekeeping measure will reduce the number of places for the bed bugs to hide and fewer opportunities for them to travel home with you.
- Keep your belongings stored separately from those of other people. If there is a known problem with bed bugs in the workplace or at school, consider storing your belongings in a separate plastic bin.
- Be vigilant in areas where bed bugs are most likely to be found вЂ“ including break rooms, storage areas, offices or lounges with upholstered furniture, or areas where people may rest.
- Consider changing into work clothes and shoes when arriving at work and removing them before going home (when there is a risk of infestation).
What are the employerвЂ™s responsibilities?
Employers have duties under the occupational health and safety Acts and its applicable Regulations to take every reasonable precaution to protect the health and safety of the worker.
The following precautionary measures can be taken to prevent bed bug infestations and to protect the worker based on a risk assessment conducted of the workplace:
- Develop policies and procedures for reporting bed bug infestations (on-site and off-site workplaces).
- Keep records of infestations, including details of where and when infestations were encountered and the extent of infestations.
- Provide education to all workers regarding bed bugs, including information on bed bug identification, signs of infestation, and prevention awareness.
- Implement integrated pest management activities through a licensed pest management service provider.
- Provide coveralls, shoe covers, or gloves to workers if appropriate. Provide sealable plastic containers to protect workersвЂ™ equipment or belongings.
How can bed bugs be removed?
Bed bug infestations are commonly treated by chemical spraying. An integrated pest management system which combines a variety of techniques and products is usually the best option. Information on the safety data sheet should be read and used as directed. To reduce exposure to the chemicals being used for treatment/spraying, it should not occur while employees are in the area. Always follow safe work procedures when working with or near pesticides. See the series of documents about pesticides for more information.
Other physical methods of controlling bedbugs include steam cleaning, vacuuming, heating, freezing, washing, or throwing out items. Steam cleaning should be done before vacuuming, as the steam will flush any bedbugs out of hiding. Heat treatments should be done by professionals.
Whichever treatment is used, it will only be effective if physical control methods and preventative measures are used together.
If you suspect bed bugs have entered your suitcase or clothing, prevention steps include to unpack outdoors, wash clothes using hot water, dry everything in the dryer at the highest temperature for at least 30 minutes, and vacuum your luggage thoroughly.
Add a badge to your website or intranet so your workers can quickly find answers to their health and safety questions.
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How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Fast – 8 Home Remedies That Work
Are you having bed bugs infestation at home or maybe bed bugs have even started biting you and sucking your blood? No problem, in this article I’m going to tell you effective home remedies on how to get rid of bed bugs fast and permanently. And will youSay Bye Bugs!
To begin with …So what are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are flat, small and wingless insects that mostly feed on blood.
You can find them in homes and you can easilytransport them to different places through luggage, clothing, and furniture.
These tiny insects hide easily from view during the day when they are not active.
Their preferred habitat is usually our homes.
They hide in mattresses, bed frames and bedding, furniture, carpets, clothing and other household furniture.
Bed bugs are parasites that operate very efficiently in the dark and when seen close up, they may appear in different colors.
A large population of bedbugs may produce a coriander-like odor (1).
Characteristics of Bed Bugs
The following are characteristics of bed bugs
As stated earlier on, bed bugs are nocturnal,which means they are most active during the night.
They feed on your blood when you are sleeping comfortably in your bed at night.
Understand that bed bugs infest all kinds of furniture within your home. Cribs, sofas, and beds included.
Bed bugs may be hiding at themovie theatre, hospital waiting room, on the train or the bus, even at your own workplace.
In short, they are almost everywhere, even maybe they are on your seat right now ..lol
Most bedbugs feed on their hosts while they sleep and draw blood in a painless way.
They feed on their hosts by injecting a small amount of saliva into the host’s skin.
An individual becomes sensitive to theirsaliva and chemicalsafter weeks of feeding and may eventually develop an allergic reaction.
Some allergic reactionsmay prove fatal if you don’t give them proper medical attention.
However, this situation may bevery unlikely.
Usually, most people that bed bugs bite don’t show any symptoms and often have no idea about the bites.
This makes it more difficult to prevent or identify potential infestations that may pose a threat to one’s health.
However, some may becomeill and nauseous.
Also, you can contact scars and skin infections from scratching the bites from bed bugs(2).
Hard to See and Kill
It is almost difficult for the normal human eye to see bed bugs.
Bed bugs are able to withstand and recover quickly from a difficult condition which includes temperature.
Without the right tools, these vicious tiny creatures can survive for many years within your furniture or bed.
In fact, these pests are able to stay alive for up to 1 year without feeding.
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What are the Main Causes of Bed Bugs?
Note that there is no association with bed bugs and filth.
Why did I say that? … It is because
These tiny creatures donot care if one is clean or dirty.
Even vacant and occupied clean homes may have bedbugs in them.
They can survive for over two months without any food since they are adaptable to different conditions.
The riskof having bed bug infestation increases each time you invite people into your home.
Also, they hide in your luggage and can stick to your clothing when you go topublic or common places.
A careful visual inspection should allow a person to detect bedbugs or their droppings.
How to Get Rid Of Bed Bugs Fast at Home
This section will show you how to get rid of bed bugs.
However, there is a certain thing you must do before carrying out the major operations.
First of all:
Identify the Infested Areas
The first step you need to take is to find bed bugs infested areas in your home(3).
Be sure to double check your bedroom or anywhere in the home where people sleep and keep pets.
Take a closer look at the spaces between the mattresses, cushions and other possible hiding places.
Do not leave other furnishings and electrical appliances out.
In addition,inspect your surroundings because bed bugs can be hiding everywhere.
All these are important to determine the extent of the infestation.
After efficiently marking out the infested areas,you can go ahead to get rid bugs.
So What Kills Bed Bugs Home?
The following are safe, effective and legal methods will put you through.
1. Use a Vacuum Cleaner for Bed Bug
Vacuum cleaning involves the use of an electrical apparatus to collect dust from the floors and other surfaces.
You can use the vacuum cleaner to suck up and eradicate bedbugs from your bedroom.
Use a Vacuum Cleaner for Bed Bug
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Follow thesteps below to ensure that you completely do away with the bugs.
- Concentrate on the infested areas
- Avoid pressing hard against your bed cover of fabric to prevent the bed bugs from moving away from the surface.
- Remove the vacuum bag and seal it properly. A tape will suffice.
- Place the vacuum bag into a plastic container.
- Seal it and dispose of it in the trash.
If your vacuum cleaner does not have a bag, empty it and dispose of away in a sealed plastic bag.
Vacuum cleaners do not necessarily kill bedbugs.
However,they greatly reduce the armies of bedbugs in your home.
2. Freezing Bed Bug
You can get rid of bed bugs using freezing conditions.
This method is particularly useful in killing bedbugs in smaller items.
Freezing makes ice to form inside the bedbug which causes injury or death to them.
Although,bed bugs can live for a long period before they finally die.
Vacuum Cleaner for Bed Bug
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However, you should take certain precautions when freezing household materials.
Household items that you can freeze include cloth items, shoes, pieces of jewelry and toys.
Do not freeze electronics with LCD screens or panels.
The temperature of your freezer is quite important because bed bugs die quickly under very low temperature.
Place infested items in a freezer that is at or below 0 o F (-18 o C) and leave it for at least 4-6 days.
Ensure that you do not set your freezer above 0 o F as the eggs and little bed bugs may survive.
3. High Heat Bed Bugs Treatment
Another way on how to get rid of bed bugs is the use of high heat.
This method is applicable if you cannot see all of the bugs or all of their eggs.
It will discover the bugs and kill them irrespective of their hiding place.
You will need to get aheater and have it installed in your home.
You need to heat your home up to 140 o F for about two hours.
This kind of treatment will kill the majority of the begs and their eggs as they cannot survive such high heat for a long time
However, you need to take certain precautions.
Ensure that you follow the precautions listed below.
- Do not stay at home during this treatment.
- Staying in a place with high heat can pose health hazards.
- Make sure your home is suitable for the treatment.
- Get a professional to double check your walls and windows to prevent the heat from escaping the building.
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4. Hot Steam for Bed Bug Treatment
Hot steam is a very effective method on how to get rid of bed bugs once you apply it correctly.
It kills bed bugs in their different stages of development without posing a threat to the environment.
The steam can find its waythrough tiny cracks or spaces on household furniture.
It also eradicates bed bugs infestations inside mattresses.
A steam cleaner is very necessary for this method.
Although steam cleaners are quite expensive, it is possible to rent one.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs With Hot Seam
To get rid of bed bugs fast, follow the steps below carefully.
- Mark out the infested areas.
- Thoroughly vacuum all the areas you plan to steam.
- Apply the steamer on all surfaces of the infested area or where you think the bed bugs may be hiding.
- Ensure that the fabric you are applying the steam on is not wet.
- Just in the case the fabric is wet, reduce the amount of steam generated by the steamer.
- Turn on or use a fan in the infested area. This will ensure proper circulation of air to dry the area of materials you have steamed.
- Repeat these steps until you are almost sure that the bed bugs are dead or eradicated.
- Note that bed bugs that do not come in contact with the steam will survive.
But first a warning:
Take the following precautions before and while steaming for your safety.
- Make sure that you always read and understand the directions in the manual that came with the steamer.
- The steam produced from a steamer is very high so, do not let children near the steamer.
- In addition, always direct the steam away from yourself.
5. How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs with Baking Soda
Baking soda is an effective home remedy for bed bug. It helps eliminate moisture from the body of bed bugs due to its drying properties.
It loaded with antimicrobial properties which kills bed bugs.
Just sprinkle some baking soda around the crevices and cracks or wherever you find bugs.
Vacuum the baking soda after few days and you can repeat the process again.
6. Tea Tree Oil for Bed Bug
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This is one of the best essential oils with high antimicrobial effects.
In fact,the antibacterial properties help you kill any unwanted microbes like bacteria, viruses, and fungi (4).
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs With Tea Tree Oil
- Add some tea tree oil drops on the infested area.
- Prepare a solution with warm water and tea tree oil.
- Put the diluted solution of tea tree in a spray bottle and spray it on the walls, furniture, carpets, clothes linens, beds, drapes, cupboards, and mattresses
- Do this once a week to kill the bed bug
7. Lavender homemade Bed Bug Killer
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Use lavender essential oil, soap or powder to treat bed bugs.
You can also put lavender leaves on the infested area to keep bed bugs away.
This is one of the effective homemade bed bug killers that nauseates them.
8. Bed Bug Spray
Using bug sprays and other chemicals can help get rid of bed bugs. Bug sprays are quite effective.
These chemicals kill the bugs on contact.
Bug sprays are easily affordable but one may need to purchase multiple bottles for effective treatment.
Bug spray can prevent further infestation when applied correctly but you may need to search for bed bugs in hidden places.
Make sure you read and understand the instructions of the bug spray before application.
Ensure that you keep the infestation from expanding even after applying any of the methods(5).
Bed bugs like to hide in inaccessible locations, so they produce more eggs and multiply.
Continue checking for the presence of bed bugs, at least every 1 week, just in case any eggs remained or you missed a spot.
In addition,ensure that you seal anything you remove from your home properly in a plastic bag and also dispose of it properly.
Do not discardusable furniture if you can eliminate the bed bugs from it.
If you cannot completely get rid of bed bugs from a particular, discard it responsibly.
Also, you should place interceptors under the legs of the furniture in your home to catch bed bugs and prevent them from climbing.
Now, are you ready to get rid of bed bugs permanently at home? Try one of these home remedies on how to get rid of bed bugs at home, give us feedback the comment box below.
What Good Is a Bed Bug Mattress Cover?
Eve Mattress/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 4.0
- B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University
Bed bugs are a pervasive pest that can find their way into any home by unwitting hosts. They can do this simply by hitching a ride in suitcases if you visit a hotel with an infestation, transferring onto your clothes from a movie theater seat, or traveling on visitors who come into your home. These bugs are erroneously associated with pests that only live in filthy living conditions. In fact, they can live and breed anywhere, including inside clean, uncluttered homes.
To protect your mattress from an infestation or to curb a mattress infestation that may have occurred, you can purchase a bed bug mattress encasement to trap the bugs inside the encasement or discourage bugs from making a permanent home in your bed. While mattress covers can provide some protection, however, you need to do much more to guarantee a bed-bug-free environment.
What Is a Bed Bug?
The common parasitic bed bug, from the cimicid family, feeds on human blood usually during the nighttime hours when humans are sleeping. Bed bugs can be seen with the naked eye and are roughly the size of a lentil. They have round brown or red bodies and are easy to spot on white surfaces. They prefer to live close to their human food source and make their homes in beds. Between 85 and 90 percent of the bed bugs in an infested home are typically found on or within 15 feet of the bed.
Bed bugs do bite; they actually saw into their host’s body and feed off their blood. While bed bugs don’t carry disease, their bites can cause blisters and itching, particularly for people with allergies. Bed bugs are very hard to control. Once they’ve infested a home, getting rid of them can be a challenge.
The Benefits of Mattress Covers
Most people are familiar with mattress covers. They are usually designed like a bottom sheet and provide protection for the top of a mattress. Ordinary mattress covers do little or nothing to stop bed bugs. Mattress encasements, however, can help minimize an infestation.
A mattress encasement is a tightly-woven fabric case that surrounds your mattress and box spring. Once it is installed, bed bugs already in the mattress cannot escape or breed, and will eventually die inside the encasement. Any bed bugs left outside the encasement will be easy to spot and remove. They will find no creases or hiding places where they can breed.
Mattress encasements not only repel and stifle bed bugs, but they can also provide a variety of other benefits. For example:
- A good mattress encasement can protect against dust mites and other pests as well as bed bugs.
- Most mattress encasements are waterproof, meaning that they will protect your mattress and box spring from spills and leaks.
- Mattress encasements can eliminate the risk of infestation if used with a new mattress and box spring.
Buying Mattress Encasements
Bed bug mattress encasements can be purchased for as little as $20, though you may wish to explore the more expensive options, as they are more likely to be reliable, sturdy, and bug-proof. It’s possible to purchase a pesticide-treated encasement, but the potential health hazards outweigh the slight increase in protection from insects.
Many pest control supply companies sell mattress encasements online. If you plan to purchase a bed bug mattress protector, make sure you choose one that is specifically designed for bed bugs. There are special features, such as bugproof zippers, different materials, and chemically-treated covers, that you can consider at the time of purchase. Do check the reviews to be sure you’re purchasing a product that is reliable and well-made. Another consideration is noise, as some encasements are made of fabric that crinkles as you move in bed. This could interfere with your sleep.
Even after you install your encasement, remember that adult bed bugs can live for well over a year without a blood meal. Leave the encasement on for at least that long or for the life of your mattress to be sure all resident bed bugs are dead and there are no new infestations of your mattress occur. Meanwhile, if your home is infested, you need to hire a pest management company to completely eradicate the bed bugs.