Bed bug infestations in the United States have been on the rise for the past few years, probably due to more frequent international travel. There are even bed bug registries for hotels so you can check out your stay before you arrive. These pests will follow your home and infest your furniture. Getting rid of bed bugs is a top priority.
Life cycle of bed bugs
Understanding the life cycle of bed bugs is the key to taking effective measures to eliminate them. Female bedbugs (Cimex lectularius) lay three to eight eggs that are about 1/25 of an inch long and curved. Often eggs are deposited in clusters within cracks and crevices—eggs hatch in 7 to 12 days. The larvae, called pupae or juveniles, pass through five stages for 32 to 48 days before maturing. Adult bedbugs with a regular blood supply usually live for about ten months but can live as long as seven months if there is no blood supply at all.
How to Eliminate bed bugs
To get rid of bed bugs, you must get rid of the eggs, larvae, and adults, which is a daunting task. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends implementing an integrated pest management system that includes reducing bed bug entry and hiding places, a thorough cleaning routine, and judicious use of pesticides. Since bed bug adults, larvae, and eggs can live for months even in the absence of a food source, and you can expect that it will take some time to get rid of them. Plastic covers for mattresses and pillows can be an effective part of your eradication program.
Also Read: Can Bed Bugs Live On Air Mattress?
Can bed bugs survive under a plastic cover?
The answer is yes. By wrapping your mattress and pillows in a zippered plastic cover, you can separate the larvae and adults of bed bugs from their main food source – you. They will eventually die, but it will take some time. Considering how long they can survive without feeding, you have to leave the plastic cover on for at least a year to make sure the bedbugs have died. Keep in mind that a plastic cover will not close and seal the inside of a mattress or pillow without any help getting rid of bed bugs.
Additional steps You need to take
After you have wrapped the mattress and pillows in the plastic cover, you will need to wash all of the sheets (including the bed skirt and other upholstery). Dry the items in a hot dryer for at least 20 minutes. Empty everything else (carpets, chairs, nooks and crannies, baseboards) immediately after removing it from the vacuum cleaner and sealing the vacuum bag in a heavy-duty plastic bag. Then you can spray with EPA-approved pesticides, but never spray your mattress or pillows with pesticides, whether they have plastic covers or not, unless the product specifically states that it is safe to do so.