If you are experiencing a bed bug infestation and you have done a bit of research, then you already know that “encasement” is one of your options.  This basically refers to the use of a specially designed and manufactured mattress cover that will seal all the bed bugs in so that they will starve and die.  Encasements have the additional benefit of providing you with immediate relief from the nightly bites of these blood-feeding insects, assuming that the source of your infestation is lodged in your mattress alone.

Buyer beware: more than one kind of “mattress cover”

It is important to understand that there are a great many different products on the market.  Some bed bug mattress covers are impregnated with insecticides and work on the principle of being able to kill the bugs that come into contact with it; some of these covers even advertise that the chemicals will repel the bugs, keeping them away from your mattress and immediate sleeping area.

These claims in most cases are overstated.  Research has indicated that these chemical laden mattress covers are not likely to truly repel insects.  Indeed, it is even doubtful that they can kill on contact since bed bugs usually need to be exposed to insecticides for a considerable length of time – measured in hours or even days – before such exposure will kill them.  The likelihood that bugs will stay in contact with the cover for that length of time is quite low.

In addition, these kinds of mattress covers do nothing to prevent infestation of close-by areas such as the bed frame and the box spring.  For this reason, they are not likely to be completely effective.

Chemical toxins not the only choice

Even if chemically-laden mattress covers worked perfectly, consumers might be quite wise to avoid them since few of us really want to come into close skin contact with chemicals throughout the night.  Even fewer people probably want to breath in the residue from chemicals which are intended to be toxic to some forms of life, even if those forms of life are insect in nature.

Physical encasement mattress covers offer another solution

Fortunately, there is another type of mattress cover that provides a much more satisfactory solution.  The encasement mattress cover, often frequently referred to as simply an encasement, has been proven to be successful at controlling bed bug infestation.  Indeed, experts around the globe recognize encasement as one of the primary methods by which bed bug infestations can be contained and controlled in the long term.

Advantages of the mattress encasement method

Using a mattress cover encasement has several significant benefits:

Used properly, encasements can halt a bed bug infestation while it is still in its early stages, cutting the bugs off “at the pass,” so to speak
An encasement can make a seemingly unusable bed usable again
A mattress cover encasement can protect a new bed from the start so that the mattress cannot become infested with bed bugs
Used as directed, an encasement can potentially keep bed bugs from being able to get inside the box spring

How to use bed bug mattress cover encasements proactively

If you suspect that your home may have a bed bug infestation, you may be quite understandably reluctant to purchase a new mattress.  What is the sense, after all, of buying one only to see it end up fouled – possibly terribly fouled – by the egg-laying and fecal activities of the bed bugs infesting your home.  The solution? A protective encasement.

When a mattress and box spring are encased, bed bugs are unable to get past the smooth exterior covering.  This is actually helpful in a number of ways.  Not only does it protect the mattress that is encased, but it can also make diagnosis of your infestation much easier.  This is because the encasement gives the bugs nowhere to hide – bed bugs typically like to adhere to seams and other nooks and crannies in mattresses and other surfaces.  This can make them hard to spot, but they are readily visible when they crawl about on an encasement.

Bed bug mattress covers: eradication of infestations

In many cases where encasements are used, the purpose is not to protect a brand new mattress.  Instead, they are used as a means of eradication.  Encasement traps the bugs inside the mattress covers, starving them into submission – in actual fact, starving them to death.  This serves two purposes.  Not only does it kill the bugs that have been infesting the mattress, but it also keeps new waves of bed bugs from being able to take up residence on the mattress.  Encasement of a box springs works in a similar manner.

Advantages of physical methods over chemical methods

In effect, encasement qualifies as  “barrier method” of protection.  Because it is entirely physical rather than chemical in nature, it is a much more environment-friendly approach.  People using bed bug mattress covers do not need to worry about sensitivity or even allergies to the chemicals used in pesticides or insecticides.  They certainly do not need to worry about long-term risks such as various kinds of cancers that could potentially result from exposure to insecticides.

Bed bug mattress covers: combination approaches

Some people, of course, do not share in the common concerns about insecticides.  Even in these cases, however, bed bug mattress covers can play an important role in a total eradication strategy.  By using mattress covers in combination with chemical elimination methods, people suffering from a bed bug infestation may be able to achieve better results faster than if only a single method were put to use.

Protect the neighborhood

A final use of bed bug mattress cover encasements can be to protect your neighbors from an infestation.  All too often, people giving up on infested beds decide to simply haul their mattresses to the curb for the trash man to take away.  Unfortunately, this strategy allows bed bugs to roam free and possibly take up residence in neighboring dwellings.

Therefore, you should encase all infested mattresses in a proper encasement bed bug mattress cover before disposal.