Mattress Covers for Bedbugs
One of the first things anyone who finds out they have a bed bug infestation should get is a mattress encasement. This is just a little bit different from the standard cover you would get that just keeps the top from getting stains on it. Rather than just going over it, it actually zips around it entirely and seals up the inside - meaning no bugs are getting in or out. The ones that still live inside will die off, because they've got no chance to get out and get any food. That will take at least six months or so and up to eighteen in extreme cases (they can live a long time without feeding). However, there really isn't anything wrong with having them in there as long as they can't bite you.
You've got two basic choices: fabric or vinyl. Fabric is generally more comfortable to sleep on and is less likely to rip. However, it costs more and can get stained. If a bed bug gets squashed, sometimes you'll get little blood spots on it and will need to wash it. Vinyl encasements are usually easier to wash, aren't going to stain, and cheaper. On the other hand, vinyl tears pretty easily, can smell weird, and isn't as comfortable to sleep on. Generally, I'd go with fabric if you can afford it. Many encasements are treated with insecticides, which will help kill them off.
If you want to buy one, you can order them online here.You will also want to get some tape and cover up any holes left around the zipper, no matter how small.
You've also got one other thing to consider: what to do about the pillows. They themselves can be a hiding place for bed bugs. There are a lot of them that you can stick in a washing machine on gentle and not have any problems with (make SURE to check this first - some could be ruined by doing that). If you can wash yours, I would recommend doing it regularly. The alternative is to get a pillow cover - it's the same thing as for the mattress, and will lock it up so bed bugs can't get inside. You still have to wash the pillowcase frequently, though.
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