You’ve heard the horror stories about bed bug infestations. They find their way into your home, cozy up in your mattress, and refuse to leave no matter what measures you take. It can be a nightmare for any homeowner.
One of the common recommendations for getting rid of bed bugs is to seal the infested items in plastic bags and keep them sealed until they starve. But does that actually work, or can bed bugs eat through plastic?
The Short Answer
Simply put: No, bed bugs can’t eat through plastic.
Although they’re notorious for their bites, bed bugs don’t actually have teeth. Their “bites” are an allergic reaction to them injecting their saliva into you before they suck your blood.
Then Why Didn’t Plastic Bags Work for Me?
It’s generally recommended to contain a bed bug infestation in plastic bags because of the fact that they can’t eat through them, but don’t be surprised if even those tactics don’t seem to work: bed bugs can survive without drinking blood for two to three months.
Maybe you didn’t quarantine your items in plastic long enough for the infestation to die off, or maybe you just didn’t seal the bags off properly.
Bed bugs can be as small as a single grain of rice, and they can fit through holes the size of a pinprick. Be sure to seal your things tightly in a bag that has no holes or your unwelcomed house guests won’t be leaving any time soon.
You can also attempt to rid yourself of bed bugs by exposing them to heat. Some recommendations suggest placing your well-sealed plastic bags in a hot car. It takes some fairly hot temperatures to kill bed bugs, about 119 degrees for bugs and 125 for eggs, but if the weather is right that may just do the trick.
What About a Mattress Cover?
If you’ve got an infestation in your bed, or if you’re looking to stop one from ever happening, mattress covers are one possible solution.
A good mattress cover will seal the bed bugs inside preventing them from getting out to feed and eventually killing them off.
It’s important to note that not all mattress covers are effective in stopping or preventing bed bug infestations. Make sure the one you purchase is a certified bed bug mattress cover.
If you do have an infestation, and you’ve purchased a mattress cover to stop it, there are other recommended steps to take:
- Keep your bed at least six inches away from any walls so that bugs dwelling in them won’t find their way to you.
- Don’t store items under the bed where bed bugs may be able to nest
- Keep your bedding tucked into the mattress and do not allow it to touch the floor
- Inspect all other parts of the bed for infestation, the mattress is not the only place they like to nest
How Can I Protect My Facility or Home from Bed Bugs?
There are a number of measures you can take to prevent bed bug infestations in your facility or home, though none of them are foolproof.
Be Careful Not to Bring Them in Yourself
One of the most common ways bed bugs find their way into your home is through hotels. Whenever you go on vacation, be vigilant. Inspect your hotel room when you arrive and your luggage when you leave. Clean all of your things immediately upon returning home.
Thrift stores are also a common place for acquiring bed bugs. Don’t bring any second-hand furniture into your home without giving it a thorough inspection.
Don’t Give Them Any Easy Entry Points
It is a tall order, but sealing off all of the little spaces where bed bugs might be able to find their way in, particularly in your bedroom and around your bed, can go a long way to preventing infestations.
Keep Clutter Out
Removing clutter from your house gives bed bugs nowhere to hide. Try to clear out any overstuffed areas of your home. Getting rid of bed bugs is a definite hassle, but there are a number of methods that can work if you’re diligent enough. If you’ve done all you can and nothing seems to work, you can always contact a professional.
Other Helpful Bed Bug Resources
- How Long Can Bed Bugs Live in a Plastic Bag?
- Do Bed Bugs Go Dormant in Winter?
- Bed Bugs vs. Ticks: The Differences Between Ticks & Bed Bugs
- 4 Early Signs of Bed Bugs on Mattresses
- Do Bed Bugs Hide in Metal Bed Frames?
- How to Find Bed Bugs During the Day
- Bed Bug Prevention Tips: How to Prevent Bed Bugs in Your Property
ESS Universal manufactures and supplies high-quality, cost-effective commercial grade beds, mattresses, and furniture to camps, hostels, shelters, dorms and more. View our entire line of furniture products including our popular waterproof foam mattress for institutional use, single metal bed frames, single over single bunk beds, single over double bunk beds, and triple bunk beds. Download our catalog for detailed information on our complete product line.