Some mattress retailers are experiencing a nice increase in their business because of bed bugs and this will likely not diminish any time soon. Especially in densely populated areas in the North East, mattress retailers are witnessing business spikes comparable to the aftermath of South Florida’s Hurricane Andrew back in 1992. We’ve spoken to several retailers in New York City and although they sympathetic to their customers bed bug issue, they welcome the opportunity to offer a better nights sleep. With the recent economic downturn, furniture and mattress retailers have been hammered with sales decreases between 20-50% compared to just a few year ago. The average person normally waits 14 months from the time they think they need a new mattress to the time they actually buy one. With the economy the way it is, people are in many cases waiting even longer.
One issue with purchasing a new mattress during todays bed bug epidemic is the risk of bringing in bed bugs. For years mattress retailers have offered free setup and removal on the old mattress set, which is carried away in the same truck that the new mattress came in on. This is now a major issue as contaminated mattresses are infesting the elevators, hallways, stairwells and eventually the delivery truck resulting in potentially thousands new infestations each year. The problem grows larger when the used mattresses reach the retailer’s warehouse where bed bugs can then attach themselves to other mattresses and even furniture if it’s a furniture retailer.
We have spoken to at least 50 people who were infested with bed bugs after receiving a new mattress, which is an alarming amount. Although furniture and mattress retailers have a flawed practice with today’s bed bugs epidemic, what can be done with the used mattresses before they are taken out of the infested apartment or home? Another issue is many people fail to or are embarrased to to tell the delivery service that their mattress set is infested.
Perhaps bagging the old mattress set in 5 mil bags before removing it from the home and into the truck would help solve this problem. States like New York may want to look into requiring all mattress retailers to collect their used mattresses in sealed vinyl or plastic bags. I believe customers would understand a appreciate the extra measures taken by the retailers. It may even be a selling feature a retailer could advertise.
One alternative to purchasing a new mattress during a bed bug infestation is by applying certified bed bug proof mattress and box spring encasements. This can save not only hundreds of dollars, but can also be used on a new mattress down the road. Whether you decide to keep your infested mattress or buy a new one, your still going to need mattress and box spring encasements.