A bed bug mattress protector is similar to a mattress cover with the main difference being that it zips around the entire mattress. This normally keeps any bedbugs living in or on the mattress from getting out. The protectors are available in both fabric and vinyl, and are generally found at many retailers in the same section with regular mattress covers.
Using a bed bug mattress protector is often effective because the bugs may starve if they cannot feed on a host. It could take anywhere from 6 to 18 months before all the bed bugs living inside the mattress are gone, but they will likely die eventually if they cannot find a way out. There are also bed bug protectors made for pillows, and a person with a bed bug problem in their mattress may benefit from using these as well.
Waste and bites on the skin are common signs of bed bug infestation. The waste left behind by bed bugs is typically made up of shed skins, feces, and eggs. At first glance, it might look like dirt or crumbs on the mattress. The bites left by bed bugs look very similar to other types of bug bites, such as those left by mosquitoes. It is likely that a person won't feel the bite when it occurs because bed bugs are very small, and they usually come out only while people are sleeping.
Using a bed bug mattress protector to get rid of bed bugs may help a great deal, but an exterminator is still often necessary. Bed bugs seem to prefer mattresses, but they may also exist in other areas of the home. They could be living inside baseboards, in carpet, and underneath a mattress. If bed bugs are living in these areas, the mattress protector may only kill some of the population. There are foggers and sprays commercially available for killing bed bugs, but exterminators typically have access to products with stronger ingredients.
People who do not like using chemicals in their home can try other methods for bed bug removal. In addition to the bed bug mattress protector, there are remedies involving heat that might be effective. Bed bugs cannot normally survive extremely high temperatures, so using a high-heat steam cleaner on both the mattress and carpet may kill off many of them. It could also be effective to move the mattress and any other infested belongings outside when temperatures rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (about 38 degrees Celsius), or drop below freezing. This method may work, but is not a guarantee because temperatures often vary throughout the day.