One of the most common first steps that our customers take after they discover bed bugs is dispose of their mattress, sofa, or other furniture. The premise behind that action is simple: they found bed bugs on the bed, so throwing away the bed gets rid of them. Even if more are hiding somewhere else, getting rid of a lot of the population will help, right?
However, people who throw out their mattress aren’t going to get the results that they expect. No matter where they sleep now, they are still likely to get bitten. If they purchase a replacement bed, that bed will likely be infested in a short period of time. There are a couple of reasons for this that should illustrate why disposing of your bed is never a good idea during a bed bug treatment:
Bed bugs aren’t just on your bed.
A common misconception about bed bugs (probably due to their name) is that they are exclusively or almost exclusively found on beds. That’s why so many amateur inspection and treatment attempts are limited to the mattress. Unfortunately, bed bug infestations are almost never going to be limited to your bed.
While they are often found in large numbers in the seams and folds of your mattress and box spring, they can also be found in the bed frame, headboard, footboard, nightstands, dressers, and even the walls or floors. Bed bugs can hide in any crack or crevice you can fit a credit card into, and as long as they are still within a short trip to their nearest food source (hint: you), they don’t really care where they hide in between meals.
Because of this likely distribution of an infestation, disposing of the mattress or other furniture has a very low chance of removing the infestation from your home. If you don’t address the bed bugs hiding elsewhere in the bedroom, they’ll still be addressing you in the coming nights.
Bed bugs repopulate and spread really quickly.
Let’s assume that you still want to throw out your bed. You know that bed bugs are likely to be elsewhere in your room, but you want to at least cut down on the population. If half of the bugs are on your bed, then removing the bed removes half of the infestation. Sound logic, right?
Sorry, but no. That might be half of the infestation gone today, but that won’t last long. Pregnant females with enough food lay three or four eggs every day until they die. That could be up to 500 eggs in a matter of months. Those freshly laid eggs will hatch within about two weeks, and the newly emerged nymphs will start seeking a blood meal right away.
In any bed bug treatment, you need to aim to eliminate all of the bed bugs entirely. They repopulate so quickly that any losses incurred can be recovered in just weeks. Large treatment steps that only cut down the population are steps wasted unless you follow up with more thorough measures.
You still need a bed to sleep on.
The bed you’re thinking of throwing out was probably in use pretty recently. Last night, perhaps. Most likely by a person you know. Where is that person going to sleep after their bed goes missing?
One of the worst things you can do during a bed bug infestation is sleep on the floor. Bed bugs now have an all-access pass to your sleeping body, with no bed legs or frames to make the travel difficult. Worse yet, you have no options to block their travel with ClimbUp Interceptors or similar traps.
An equally unwise, but still very common, choice to make during an infestation is to sleep somewhere else. Many bed bug victims move to another room in their home, or even leave the home completely to stay with a friend or family member. While this might grant some relief from the biting (and even that isn’t guaranteed), it can also cause bed bugs to spread from the original room elsewhere in search of food. This dispersal makes treatment a lot harder, as you now have more hiding places full of bed bugs that could be feeding and breeding.
Replacing a bed is expensive.
How much did you spend on the mattress you want to throw out? What about the box spring, bed frame, headboard, and/or footboard? The average for a queen bed set is over $1,000, and can often go way over that. Do you really want to just throw that kind of money away?
As stated above, you will still need to sleep on a bed, and you will likely still have bed bugs after you dispose of your bed. That means two things:
- You’ll need to pay to replace the bed you got rid of.
- You’ll still need to spend money treating the remaining infestation.
While the $1,000 average cost for a replacement bed might not cover a professional bed bug treatment (depending on your home size and location), that budget can fund a heck of a do-it-yourself treatment. For less than the price of the average mattress alone, you can buy everything you need to treat the mattress, box spring, bed frame, and all of the cracks and crevices around your room that bed bugs are likely to be hiding in. Throw the average mattress away and you roughly double the cost of a do-it-yourself treatment.
What to do instead:
The issue at hand is not that bed bugs got into the bed, but how they got into the bed. Bed bugs don’t get their name by spawning or manifesting in the bed – they get it by frequently feeding and breeding there. Cutting off their access routes to your bed will stop the biting and block their ability to reproduce, since they need blood meals to become sexually mature or to lay eggs.
Bed bugs can’t jump or fly. They have to crawl up something to reach you. That means their travel routes into the bed are pretty limited: the legs of the bed frame are the most common, followed by the headboard, footboard, and any walls or furniture that might be touching the bed.
To cut off these access points, move your bed away from any points of contact like walls or furniture (even an inch of space is plenty to stop bed bugs) and use ClimbUp Interceptors to elevate the legs of your bed. The ClimbUps are especially important: they can trap any bed bugs that try to sneak onto your bed in a talcum-lined pitfall, allowing you to monitor the population over time to see how your treatment progresses.
Isolating your bed is only part of the equation. If you have bed bugs in your bed, isolation efforts won’t stop them from doing what they do best. Fortunately, treating your bed and killing all of its bugs and eggs is simple with the right products. Step 1 of our 4-step solution is dedicated to this process, which involves a set of mattress and box spring encasements, contact and residual sprays, and a vacuum and steamer for quick killing and cleaning.
Once you’re done with the treatment and isolation steps, your bed will be bed bug free and bed bug proof. You’ll now be able to sleep in the bed without fear of bites, giving you time to focus your treatment efforts on the rest of your bedroom. Take the money you saved by keeping your bed and load up on professional-strength treatment gear with our new 4-step package builder.