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Can bed bugs live in a foam mattress?

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You’re back from New York after a Hangover type weekend. The week following your return, you suffer from itching at the extremities of your legs and on your forearms. You think about it and remember that the Big Apple is as infamous for its bed bugs as it’s famous for Times Square and get scared. But you've read that foam mattresses are often antimicrobial. Does that protect you from bed bugs? Polysleep gives you the answer in this blog post.


First thing: what are bed bugs? How do you identify them?


Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) belong to the Cimicidae family, related to the heteropterans suborder (bedbugs). They are brown to red in colour as adults, oval and flattened in shape and measure between 5 and 8 millimetres. They are visible to the naked eye, not moving fast enough to escape watchful eyes!

They are aptly named bedbugs: they take advantage of our sleep to feed on our blood by biting us. Yuck! And to target us, they use vibrations, heat, odours and the carbon dioxide we emit. After a fifteen-minute snack, they take refuge for a week before resuming their misdeeds. But the worst thing is that they are tough cookies: they can go for several months without eating (dormancy). In other words, it's not easy to get rid of them!

Bed bug on linen

 

What are the signs of a bed bug infestation?


The first sign is on your body: the bites. These look like mosquito bites and will often be located on your forearms and lower legs. These bites will make you itch, but fortunately, they are usually nothing more than that. So, there is no risk of getting any disease from these bites!

Other signs, this time on your bedding, will also indicate their presence, including tiny black or brown spots on your sheets, mattress and/or bed base (black spots = excrement (yuk!), brown spots = blood). Since they initially tend to hide near their meal (you!), they will hide in the seams of your mattress and underneath it, as well as in cracks in the rest of your bedding. If you think you have an infestation, watch for them in these areas first!

Uncomfortable young woman scratching her arm

 

Can these bugs invade a foam mattress? Yes! How do you get rid of them?


There you have your answer! Yes, bed bugs can infest your foam mattress, although they will have a harder time doing so. This is because foam is a very dense material. It will therefore do an excellent job of slowing down the invader's progress! So, if you want to prevent massive colonization, foam mattresses are an excellent option.

However, since bedbugs can also live, among other places, in bed frames and bedroom furniture, you'll have to use all possible means to get rid of them if you are infested:

 
  • Wash all your sheets in hot water and then put them in the dryer.

  • Disassemble all your bedding and surrounding furniture and inspect every nook and cranny.

  • Vacuum the surfaces of your mattress and all your furniture intensively, then discard the used bag immediately afterwards.

  • Apply rubbing alcohol to all treated surfaces to kill the eggs.

  • If necessary (and highly recommended), call upon an exterminator.

  • If your bedding shows signs of a large-scale infestation, change it!

 

Fresh linen

 

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There you go! You know that even though a foam mattress can slow them down, bed bugs can still get invade your bedroom! And even if you know how to get rid of them, it's still better to be preventive rather than reactive, by avoiding cluttering up your home (bed bugs love to hide!) or by meticulously inspecting any item you buy used. If you need to replace your mattress following an infestation, don't forget to visit polysleep.ca to discover our foam mattresses!


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