Bed bug infestations cause a lot of stress and discomfort to homeowners all over the world. They live in your home – most frequently your bedroom – and attack at night, while you’re asleep. One of the places bed bugs seem to like most are beds, especially mattresses.
Regardless of circumstances, let’s examine whether bed bugs can live on an air mattress.
Bed Bugs Explained
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Bedbugs are not only insects but also parasites. From 1 millimeter to 7 millimeters in length and have a round, conical shape, they are reddish.
They feed on blood. Although bed bugs have no wings, what distinguish them from other household insects like fleas are the horizontal ridges on their bodies.
Bedbugs reproduce quickly. Adults drop about five eggs per day, and these eggs are so small that they look very much like specks of salt. Each egg hatches two weeks after it is dropped, releasing up to ten yellowish-white nymphs. As these nymphs developed and grow, their colors change to reddish-brown.
What Attracts Bed Bugs?
Bedbugs flock anywhere they feel body heat. In addition to this, bed bugs also try to detect the odorless gas that humans and animals release by exhaling carbon dioxide. When they aren't looking for the signs mentioned above of a host, they want a place to hide, and bedbugs seem for dark spaces near their host to stay until they are ready to arrive.
These insects usually feed every 5-10 days but can stay alive for months or as long as one year without food. Their amazing survivability ability coupled with the rapid reproduction rate can make it challenging to get rid of bed bugs fully.
How Do You Know If You Have Bed Bugs?
The presence of bedbugs in your home and bedroom is not as easy to detect as it might seem. Generally speaking, you can barely feel a bed bug's bite, and you will only notice the bite marks afterward. Therefore, identifying bite marks becomes critical for early detection and eradication in your home.
The size of swelling may vary slightly from person to person. Bed bug bites are also itchy like that of a mosquito or a flea. The good news is; it is highly unlikely you will experience an allergic reaction as a result of being bitten by bed bugs.
Other infestation signs include eggs or molted exoskeletons on your furniture or tiny blood smears left in their feces. You'll need a magnifying tool though to spot these things since they'd typically appear like a speck of dust.
Lastly, bed bugs scatter when you turn the lights on because they prefer the shelter of darkness. If you take the sheets off of your mattress while the views are out and then suddenly turn them on, you'll see these tiny insects scatter and gather near the edges and corners.
Are Bed Bugs Dangerous?
Luckily, bed bugs are not disease carriers. Everyone reacts to a bed bug bite differently. Some people exhibit no signs or symptoms of a bite, while others can see a visible mark that itches. Those are the two most common reactions. If someone continuously scratches a bite, they may get a secondary infection from the bacteria under their nails.
Meanwhile, some people have allergic reactions to the saliva that is released during bug bite. Usually, the allergy manifests through excessive swelling of the bitten area. Though it is rare, the bite can result in anaphylaxis.
Bed Bugs and Air Mattresses
Can Bed Bugs Live On Air Mattresses?
Bedbugs have a habit of drilling tiny holes in the fabric if mattresses and hiding inside. These holes serve as a sort of house or hiding place until at night when they come out and suck the blood of their host.
These blood-sucking insects and their wicked ways have been a source of concern to many people. As a way of tackling the issue, they ditch their conventional bed for an air mattress. However, most of these people still ask the baffling question: can bed bugs live on air mattresses too?
Well, the simple answer is "NO". Air mattress is constructed with vinyl or PVC. The significant advantage of these materials is that they don't provide a comfortable environment for bedbugs. However, the flocked top or sides of an air mattress can provide attractive hiding spots for bed bugs and eggs. Sometimes, bed bugs lay eggs in the air mattress's seams or wait for human hosts in between the sheets.
How Can I Protect My Air Mattress from Bed Bugs?
After you've read this, you can see why the answer to the question "can bed bugs live on an air mattress" is a no. However, bed bugs can still find a hiding place in other parts of your bedroom. To make sure that doesn't happen, you should clean your home regularly. Inspect all used furniture before you set it up and now and then check your bed and sheets for signs of bed bugs.
Luckily, it is easier to prevent bedbugs from infiltrating air mattresses than other mattresses. Buy zippered encasement covers and enclose your air mattress and pillows in them. Even if you don't do this, make sure to inspect the seams thoroughly daily to ensure that there are no bed bugs on the air mattress.
Also, avoid using a memory foam top except it is encased in a cover. It would help if you also changed sheets every day, and put them directly into the washing machine. Wash them with hot water and set your dryer at high heat.
How to Treat an Air Mattress for Bed Bugs?
Aside from being less hospitable than a foam or hybrid bed, air mattresses are great if you want to get rid of bed bugs because they easily fit into zippered mattress encasements. This is particularly handy in preventing these insects from inhabiting your temporary bed. If you're wondering how to keep the bed bugs from climbing your bed, try a plastic casing. The material is slippery and hard to climb, even for these tiny critters.
Additionally, you can wash an air mattress in your tub or in any large container that allows complete submersion of the bedding when deflated. Can you put an air mattress in the dryer? Definitely not, so hang your air mattress out in the sun whenever possible. Make sure that your air mattress is dry before refilling with air. Otherwise, the inner lining will start to develop mold, which can be harmful to your health.
Once you detect bedbugs in your house, the best thing to do would be to ask for pest control. They have the experience needed to rid your home of the parasites effectively.
Even if your house is not under a bedbug attack, you don't have to wait. Put everything in place to prevent them from entering your home.
Completely ridding yourself of bed bugs can be tricky, and it takes a lot of time and effort. Often, success lies in persistence and paying attention to details. After all, chances are pretty good that these pesky critters might spread beyond your bed. We recommend calling a pest control specialist as soon as you notice any sign of bed bugs in your home. For the most part, this isn't something you should try to handle on your own.
Here are some of the precautions you can take to prevent the infestation of bed bugs in your home (and mattress):
10 Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do you check your air mattress for bed bugs?
If you don't use an encasement, check underneath and along the seams of the air mattress daily for signs of bed bugs or eggs. Refrain from using a gel or memory foam top unless you put the top underneath an encasement cover.
2. Can bed bugs live in an air conditioner?
Bed bugs have been found in hollow doors and in ceiling light fixtures and smoke detectors. Heating units, air conditioners and ducts provide hiding places as well.
3. Can bed bugs live on a plastic mattress?
They can move around the mattress but they won't be able to get out unless you open up the plastic cover. It doesn't matter if it's a plastic mattress cover or any other type. Bed bugs will climb on top of it easily. The only difference is that you might see them more clearly on the plastic cover.
4. Can bed bugs live in carpet?
Yes, the bed bugs can live in carpet. The type of carpet can drastically increase or decrease the infestation but one is sure, bed bugs CAN live in carpet, no matter the type. This is because bed bugs often use carpet to travel around your house before they attach to another bed or piece of clothing.
5. Does bed bug crawl on walls?
Adult bed bugs are about 3/16” long and reddish-brown, with oval-shaped, flattened bodies. Bed bugs do not fly, and they don't jump like fleas do ― but they can crawl rapidly over floors, walls, ceilings and other surfaces.
6. Can air mattresses be used everyday?
Absolutely. While they aren't the traditional choice for those who are in need of a bed, air mattresses can be used daily for sleeping. Many of them rival the height of a standard innerspring mattress, and they are heavier than the inflatable mattresses that people take on camping trips.
7. Why do air mattresses squeak?
These mattresses are convenient as they can be deflated when not in use and inflated for overnight guests or camping trips. The other reason could be that your air mattress has got punctured. Some floors like hardwood tend to make annoying squeaking noises when the air bed's plastic or vinyl bottom rubs against it.
8. How do you get rid of bed bugs in an air mattress?
To keep your air mattress safe from bed bugs, put the mattress in a zippered encasement cover. Get zippered covers for your pillows too. If you don't use an encasement, check underneath and along the seams of the air mattress daily for signs of bed bugs or eggs.
9. Do bed bugs go in vents?
While it's unlikely that bed bugs will enter into ductwork — it's usually too far away from the host — it's possible. It's also possible bed bugs may be found in vents, heating units and air conditioners.
10. How do you draw bed bugs out of hiding?
What draws bed bugs out of hiding is heat, as it is an indicator that their host is nearby. They will most likely stay a few meters away from the source and venture out when they are going to feed. Among our popular traps, one of them which makes these pests come out is the Beacon.