According to Pest World, 1 out of 5 Americans has suffered from bed bug infestation. This 2013 study opines that they have evolved in their resistance to pesticides making it harder and harder to combat their infestation.
I’ve had to cope with bed bug infestation countless times in my home. In addition to hurting me physically, these tiny pests severely affected me psychologically. From my experience, I believe I can authoritatively answer any question touching on bed bugs at home including can air mattresses get bed bugs.
Can Air Mattresses Get Bed Bugs?
They can! Bedbugs can get on an air mattress. The tiny creatures can get on any type of mattress.
However, with an air mattress, bed bugs can only get on the surface mainly because of how these types of mattresses are constructed. Air mattresses are mostly constructed with polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Recent models feature rubber construction. Others bring with them urethane plastic construction – a special, and more elastic type of material, yet less brittle compared to your ordinary plastic.
Due to their type of construction, it makes it difficult for the little pests to find residence inside an air mattress.
Note: Of great importance to note is that ‘living’ and ‘getting’ on an air mattress are two different things. It’s tricky for them to ‘live’ on an air mattress but they can ‘get’ on an air mattress.
Getting means that they can craw or climb on your air mattress. You can find them along the mattress’s seams and crevices (if it has).
With other mattresses, they drill small holes to act as their hiding spots until nighttime when they emerge to search for food (humans and animals – pets). After they have bitten us – usually three bites – they crawl back to their hiding spot.
They can eat only once every four to seven days. What’s shocking is the fact that they can go for even one year without taking anything and yet remain alive.
Note: The best attribute about an air mattress regarding bed bugs is the fact that burrowing to the hard plastic or vinyl outer cover is difficult for the little pests. And even if they were to succeed, you’ll definitely know as your mattress will begin to leak. Eventually, no matter how small the hole they have dug, you’ll be on the floor.
What is for sure is the materials that are utilized in the construction of an air mattress aren’t appetizing or attractive to bed bugs. Since they have a hard time burrowing your mattress, they have to find a way to adapt. Their determination leads them to hide in big seams that happen to be around the edges.
Once they do that, they can thrive on the textured mattress surface. This tends to be a more friendly material. On top of that, some can have more indentations and creases.
Avoid Using A Vacuum To Eliminate Bed Bugs From Air Mattress
Many people consider the use of vacuum as an effective alternative bed bug treatment. Although vacs are effective to destroy or remove visible eggs and bugs on your mattress, they aren’t thorough. Unfortunately, they aren’t thorough.
They do not remove eggs and/or bugs 100%. In addition to that, vacs can be infested. Battery charged, portable and lightweight vacs lack the necessary suction power.
If you’re to use a vac, you should opt for the standard electric-powered ones. Refrain from the upright vacs tailored for carpeted or floor areas. The canister types of vacuums with a hose are the best.
Vacuums that have bristles or brushes aren’t recommended as eggs and bugs can effortlessly cling unto them.
The major drawback of using a vac is the high risk of getting infested.
Because removing bed bugs using a vac from an air mattress is not 100% guaranteed, it is prudent to buy a mattress encasement. Encasements such as the Protect-A-Bed BugLock encasement are efficient at trapping any bed bug remnants inside. That way, they will ultimately starve and die.
Should I Throw My Air Mattress If Infested?
The rule of thumb when it comes to dealing with bedbugs is to never panic. Do you think you have them in your home?
Avoid doing the following, at least at the onset:
- Moving furniture from your room
- Throwing mattresses or belongings
- Ripping up your carpet
- Using do-it-yourself pesticides
The main reason for discouraging you to do the above is to reduce any chances of the bed bugs spreading to other areas of the home. To be on the safe side, it is prudent to stay calm and avoid doing anything hasty.
One way to identify the presence of bedbugs is to grab a flashlight, and search for cast skins, eggs, and bugs under mattress tags, seams, furniture joints, screw holes, crevices, and cracks.
Throwing away your mattress and/or box spring is rarely an effective solution. Unfortunately, many people do this only to buy new beds/mattresses to put back in a room still infested by bed bugs.
However, if the mattress is old and severely infested, you can throw it away. When throwing away an infested mattress, it is prudent to do it in the right way. The last thing you want is to create a bigger problem by spreading the tiny pests to other places in your home.
The best person to advise on whether it’s prudent to throw your mattress is a pest control professional. The good thing about working with such a professional is he or she will also show you the best way to dispose of your infested mattress without further aggravating the issue.
How to dispose of a bedbug-infested air mattress?
Here are the precautions you should put in place when throwing away a bedbug-infested mattress:
- Slash or cut the mattress into pieces to render it unusable.
- Wrap in plastic or cover tailored to manage bed bugs. This goes miles to prevent small pests from escaping. Make sure you cover the mattress before removing it from the room.
- Put a warning sign on the mattress with the tagline ”Bed Bug Infested.’
- Only put it from trash collection just minutes before pick-up time. This ensures it does not sit for long hence reducing chances of spread.
Note: Disposal ought to be the last resort. Consider other options to salvage the situation. If you deem it necessary to throw away the mattress, seek a second opinion from a professional.
How To Eliminate Bed Bugs From An Air Mattress
Getting rid of the pesky pests is hard as they live in different places not just your bed. Because they are remarkable hitchhikers, transporting them to different areas of your home is very easy. They are into hiding in shoes, boxes, and suitcases.
They can also hide in tiny crevices and cracks. Simply put, they like living in an environment that’s close to humans and pets.
When it comes to your bed, you can find them in bed parts like box springs, mattresses as well as folded areas. It is also possible for them to conceal themselves behind electrical switch plates, picture frames, upholstery, wallpapers, baseboards, or furniture crevices.
You can employ several strategies to eliminate bed bugs from your air mattress. Here are some of them:
- The power of washing
- Clean pets
- Vacuum your bugs
- Steam carpets and floor
- Buy an encase cover
One of the hosts that bed bugs like are pets. If you sleep with your pets, it could be through them that they found their way into your mattress. For this reason, the cleaning of your beloved pets is necessary.
You should do it in such a way that the pets do not transport the pests to other areas of your home. Cleaning ought to be done outside. Proper and thorough grooming entails cutting off all long hair. Brush him or her through the entire body vigorously.
After thoroughly brushing your pet, you’ll need to use an anti-parasite shampoo to bathe him or her. Shampoos such as Veterinary Formula Clinical Care are great when it comes to eliminating eggs and bugs. As you do that, ensure the shampoo does not find its way into the pet’s ears, mouth, or eyes.
In addition to cleaning your pets for bed bugs, you also need to clean anything related to pets. For instance, if yours has a cage, you need to clean it thoroughly.
Is there any fabric or cloth item that your pet gets in contact with frequently? Things such as towels, blankets, and bedding need to be cleaned thoroughly also.
You should wash them for around one hour utilizing the hottest setting that the washer can achieve.
We have already established that vacuuming alone isn’t able to kill bed bugs. You are supposed to use this strategy in combination with another.
We also noted that not all vacs are efficient at eliminating bed bugs. It is prudent to settle for one that is tailored and marketed precisely for pest control. It should feature a top-notch HEPA filter system that ensures allergens from the pests do not become airborne when going about vacuuming.
A vac’s crevice tool is a necessary accessory for getting rid of bed bug clumps. Utilize it for most locations or sites including crevices, cracks, edge seams, and corners.
Stiff brush attachments are handy if your home’s surfaces need more penetration and friction to dislodge the eggs and bugs.
Steam carpets and floor
Steam is one of the most effective methods to eliminate bed bugs regardless of their stage of development. Your steamer’s quality is highly important if you opt for this strategy to kill the tiny creatures.
You should opt for a commercial or heavy-duty steamer whose minimum capacity is one gallon. If possible, it should feature a steam volume control.
Avoid using carpet cleaning machines as they cannot attain high or intense temperatures to kill and eliminate bed bugs.
Buy an encase cover
As mentioned earlier, certain encasements are specifically tailored for bed bugs. Before you install your encasement, it is prudent to first remove and destroy as many eggs and bugs as possible from your air mattress. While experts highly recommend this, it is might not be necessary in some cases.
What is important to note is the fact that encasements remain only effective only if they are intact. Therefore, you must inspect yours periodically to ensure that their integrity has not been jeopardized.
Some of the areas that are prone to getting damaged include the part that is in contact with protrusions or sharp edges. Check to verify that the encasement is not worn, torn, or ripped.
An effective way to extend the longevity of your encasement especially in the susceptible areas is by placing some form of padding.