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About Bed Bug Encasement

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Why would I want to consider purchasing/using bedding encasements?

Preventative Measure - You do not have bed bugs now

 Encasements are proving to be a valuable preventative tool in dwellings that have not experienced a problem.

  • Encasements restrict the movement of bed bugs to the outside of the encasement, preventing an infestation from establishing itself in the mattress and box spring.
  • Bed bugs are more quickly detected and eliminated from the outside of the encasement as opposed to the inside of the mattress and box spring.

You have or have had an infestation of bed bugs

  • Encasements protect new beds purchased due to a previous infestation.
    • Many people cannot rest unless their infested bed is discarded. Encasements provide them with a layer of protection after a new bed is introduced into the home.
    • Encasement prevent the new mattress and box spring from becoming infested by bed bugs that are still present, but undetected or controlled post treatment.
  • Encasements enable people to salvage their infested beds and bedding.
    • Let’s face it…it is expensive to replace these items. Any bed bugs or eggs still in/on the mattress and box spring are trapped in the encasement and over time will die from starvation.
  • Encasements increase control efficiency.
    • It is time consuming to inspect and apply control measures to beds, mattresses and box springs. Encasements trap the bugs and eggs inside restricting bed bug activity and pesticides (if you do not treat) to the exterior of the encasement, which is more easily dealt with.
  • Are all Encasements created equal?
    • Not all encasements are created equal - must be bed bug escape proof.
      • Inspect seams of encasement to make sure stitching is small enough to prevent insect from getting through.
      • Inspect zipper to ensure that when left open, even a fraction of an inch, there is a mechanism to prevent the insects from escaping
      • Is the material strong enough to prevent tearing.
    • Must be bed bug bite proof.
      • Has the encasement been specifically engineered to prevent bed bugs from biting through the fabric to the sleeping occupant of the bed?
    • Allergy encasements are not designed to keep bed bugs out. Encasements should be specifically tested and labeled for bed bugs.
    • Low cost encasements may be ineffective.
 
Would bed bugs be able to feed through or burrow into mattress encasement fabric?
  • If the encasement is not constructed adequately, yes. Not all encasements are created equal. Make sure the encasement you are purchasing has been laboratory tested for the prevention of bed bugs escaping, getting into or feeding through the encasement and/or fabric.
 
Will the bed bugs caught beneath be able to survive? How long?
  • Bed bugs properly encased will eventually die from starvation.
  • The adult bed bug, depending on conditions, can live for over a year without a blood meal.
  • The nymphs (babies) can live up to three months without a blood meal.
  • Needless to say, the performance of your encasement is vital to keep these insects inside or out of your bed, depending on when you encase your property.
 
Would bed bugs be able to climb/walk on this fabric?
  • Bed bugs are good climbers. Yes, they can walk and climb on almost any surface.
 
Would bed bugs find it attractive or repellent compared to a standard sheet or other fabric?
  • The term “attractive” or “repellent” implies there is some property of the fabric that modifies the behavior of the insect. I have not seen any research establishing whether this behavior modification occurs.
 
If I use bedding encasements, do I have to treat my mattress with an insecticide?
  • No, you do not HAVE TO treat the mattress.
  • If the encasement is being used as a preventative measure, prior to any known infestation, there is no reason to treat the mattress or bed with an insecticide.
  • If you have an infestation your PMP may treat the mattress and box spring with an insecticide labeled for this use. They will then encase these items to ensure any insects or eggs in/on the mattress and box spring surviving the treatment are sufficiently isolated in order to prevent them from feeding further.
 
Can I exterminate bed bugs in my home simply by using bedding encasements?
  • If bed bugs are infesting your mattress and box spring, you can “exterminate” them by simply encasing your items in laboratory tested bed bug encasements. (see answer 7 above).
  • Encasements will not exterminate insects in other areas of the room or if not inside a laboratory.
 
Will this product help me “know” if I have bed bugs?
  • Encasements will eliminate one common area of an infestation and as such, inspection of a premises is restricted to the exterior of the encasement, where it is easier to deal with.
  • If you have encased your mattress and box spring after you suspect an infestation and in preparation of your PMP inspecting the room, it may be possible for any trapped insects to be viewed and collected by your PMP for identification.
 
Wouldn’t it be hot or noisy if I cover my bed with this product?
  • Some products are hot and noisy. The fabric or material may lend itself to this experience. However, a high quality, laboratory tested bed bug product can in fact be soft, quiet and luxurious.
 
Will bed bugs crawl through the zipper?
  • Yes, they are quite capable of getting through a zipper unless this mechanism has been specifically chosen and tested to exclude bed bugs from penetrating this area.
  • Zipper design is one of the most important aspects of a bed bug encasement product. The teeth must be small and tight enough to exclude bed bugs from moving through them. The end or closure of the zipper should have a mechanism or be constructed in a manner that prevents the insect from getting into or out of the encasement should it not be in a completely closed position.
 
I’ve seen/heard about other mattress covers. Some others seem flimsy. Will these tear/rip/develop holes as easily as those others?
  • An encasement fabric and its construction should be able to withstand the rigors of continued use, including people jumping on beds, rubbing against the walls or edges of the mattress or box spring. There is nothing worse then taking the preventative or control measure of an encasement only to find it has torn.
 
I had bed bugs on my mattress and box spring. Don’t I have to throw them away?

No. If treated with a pesticide labeled for use on your mattress and box spring:

 

  • Your PMP should do an inspection around 2 weeks after treatment to make sure any bed bugs or eggs that have survived the treatment are eliminated on this second visit. This may require another chemical application.
  • If you have encased your mattress and box spring you do not need to throw them out. Remember, use a quality, laboratory tested product specifically.
 
I’m moving to another home/apartment. Should I cover my mattress and box spring with these products to protect them while in transit?

Absolutely!

 

  • It is common for a delivery truck moving your items to be infested with bed bugs. Encasements can be one way of protecting your box spring and mattress.
  • You may not know you have a problem with bed bugs. Moving your items to a new location may only be transferring the problem there.
  • If moving into a multi-unit housing building or a single family structure, you protect your mattress and box spring in case there is an existing problem.
 
I have an air mattress/water bed/non-standard (round) mattress. Do you have sizes and styles for every kind of mattress?
  • It is critical for an encasement to be of proper size. It should not be too big or small.
  • Encasements should closely fit the mattress and box spring, otherwise it may prove ineffective if it tears.
  • Periodically inspect your encasement to insure there are no tears or holes.
  • As an added precaution, especially if you have small children, etc. you can apply felt strips to cover bolts, rough or sharp edges, or other protrusions on the bed frame in contact with your encasement.
 
Can I treat the cover with insecticides?
  • Make sure the pesticide chosen is labeled for use on a mattress, box spring and encasement.
 
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