Should I Use Mattress and Box Spring Encasements When Freezing Bed Bugs?

There are many types of remediation techniques for bed bugs. Most commonly, chemicals or heat are used to kill them. Some Pest Management Professionals (PMPs) have now added freezing bed bugs to their arsenal of termination tools.

Just like the more commonly used extermination methods, PMPs should always encase the mattress and box springs of their customers as part of their standard protocol. Here’s why:

Effective Freezing Techniques are a balance between time and temperature

Bed bugs are tricky little blood suckers. They are remarkable at adapting and evolving in order to survive. Like their growing resistance to pesticides. While bed bugs can be effectively killed by freezing them to death, it’s not as easy as one may think. Bed bugs can continue to thrive in a 46-degree Fahrenheit environment without suffering any adverse effects. They can even survive when the temperature drops lower, thanks to their ability to change the temperature at which their bodily fluids freeze.

To kill bed bugs, you must freeze them at temperatures well below freezing, and over a period of time, which, depending on the temperature, could take up to 80 hours. In order to kill them immediately by freezing them to death, you need to freeze that at temperatures, as low as, 80 degrees below Fahrenheit! If you don’t have the proper equipment, or enough time to ensure the bed bugs will die, it renders the whole effort useless.

By encasing the mattresses and box springs, you’re cutting down on the amount of time, and number of assets that have to be frozen. When mattresses and box springs are encased after a bed bug infestation, they entomb the bed bugs, cut them off from their food supply, and eventually cause them to starve to death. All the while, they cannot get out of the mattress encasement, and will cause no further damage.

 

The Mattress

Much like bed bug heat remediation, freezing also poses a problem with the mattress. Since mattresses are so thick, it is often difficult to heat or freeze them to a temperature that kills bed bugs. With freezing in particular, the center of the mattress, as well as other bedding, must reach zero degrees Fahrenheit. To make matters more complicated, from the point that the center of the mattress reaches zero degrees, it will take four consecutive days at that temperature to ensure that all the bed bugs in and around the mattress are dead!

Again, by encasing the mattress and box spring, you eliminate the need to freeze the bed at all. The encasement itself will kill any bed bugs that are trapped inside of it. The only caveat is that you need a mattress encasement and box spring encasement that will last longer than the bed bug’s life cycle.

Many encasement products on the market are only made to last for one to two years, with many ripping after six months in a commercial setting, like a hotel. That’s an issue. Bed bugs can actually live up to 12 months without any food, meaning you need an encasement that’s guaranteed to last longer. Otherwise, you’re back to square one, and you have to start the remediation process all over again!

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