Bed bugs were surprisingly widespread in the early 20th century. Eventually increasingly potent insecticides killed most of our bed bugs, removing them from our homes and our thoughts from the mid-1950s to the late 1990s. But then global travel boomed and brought with it mass infestations in major cities from Los Angeles to New York.
These tiny and tenacious parasites like to hideout in textiles like luggage, clothing, carpets, and of course, pillows, bedding and mattresses – thus their name! Fortunately, we’ve made huge progress in not only detecting the early signs , but irradicating infestations , and preventing them completely. Since mattresses and pillows are prime targets for bed bugs, great strides have been made to prevent the little blood suckers from ever making your home their home in the first place. From mattress, box spring and pillow covers, to mattresses and bed frames that are virtually impervious to bed bugs, you have options. It all depends on your risk and your budget.
Is there a bed bug resistant mattress?
There is no mattress that is 100 percent untouchable to bed bugs. The reason for this is that the little guys will always seek out environments closest to their future meals – sleeping humans. Very dense materials like memory foam and latex do a decent job of keeping them out of the center of a mattress, but the bugs could still crawl into the box spring and framework.
That being said, there are some excellent bed bug “resistant” mattresses and frames out there for those who live in an area that is high risk. These mattresses are specifically designed to resist bed bug infestations. Bugs are usually found living in the crevices around beds and within the tufts of mattresses. Bed bug resistant mattresses are sleek and smooth with no nooks and crannies for bed bugs to hid and get comfortable in.
Another safeguard in addition to a bed bug resistant mattress, is a bed bug resistant metal bed frame. With metal mesh panels to support the mattress, there is no need for a box spring. Also, the metal tubing framework is smooth so bugs can’t crawl up them, and they are welded on all four sides to ensure that pests have no place to nest.
Other ways to prevent bed bugs
If a bed bug resistant mattress and bed frame are not what you’re looking for. There are other precautions you can take against bed bugs. And although it’s possible to irradicate an infestation once you get one, it’s far easier and mor pleasant to invest in prevention and early detection.
Some helpful items that protect your bed from the creepy-crawlies are encasement-style mattress covers along with additional encasements for box springs and pillows. Here’s what you should look for when you go shopping:
Mattress fit: To safeguard yourself as much as possible against bed bugs, make sure your mattress encasement covers everything. Look for a mattress protector that fits snugly on all six sides of the bed (top, bottom and all four sides). The goal is to have as little baggy fabric as possible that can create crevices bugs can hide in. Another tip is to put the zipper at the foot of the bed, away from your head. The reason you should do this is that our bodies release the most bed bug-attracting carbon dioxide by our heads.
Fabric: You’ll find that most bed bug mattress covers on the market are made from cotton, polyester, or vinyl. They’re all good materials and will keep bed bugs out of your mattress. The experts at BedBugsRX recommend choosing polyester or cotton. But note that cotton is generally the softest and most breathable material. Vinyl is their last choice as it isn’t breathable and tends to rip easily because it has no stretch. However, when it comes to box-spring covers, choose polyester. Because of its stretchy nature, it’s far less likely to tear.
No matter what fabric you choose, look for a mattress protector that’s thick and durable. And while you’re at it, grab one that’s also hypoallergenic and machine washable.
Zipper and seams: The zipper on the mattress cover is what separates a quality one from an inferior one. Make sure the zipper and the seams around it look sturdy and there are no gaps. You want your bed bug mattress cover to prevent bedbugs from crawling through the zipper’s teeth, or any gaps where the zipper opens and closes. Also, check to make sure all the seams (not just those around the zipper) look durable to prevent bugs from burrowing inside at the weak points. A fairly reliable sign of quality workmanship and material is a cover that comes with a guarantee of at least five years.
What to do if you have bed bugs
Should you find evidence of bed bugs in your sheets or on top of your mattress protector, the bad news is that you most certainly have bed bugs. The good news is, there’s a fair chance the bugs aren’t inside of your mattress, because it’s protected. You can also take comfort in knowing that bed bugs do not spread disease or pathogens - so it’s important not to panic. But if you suspect an infestation you need to act fast, as these bugs reproduce and spread quickly. You’ll want to contact a local professional. They’ll come and evaluate the size of your problem and help you come up with an effective game plan to get bed bugs out of your home for good.