Do Encasements Work?
This is a loaded question that frankly has an imprecise answer. If your intention is to only keep bed bugs from harboring inside your mattress or box spring, then the answer is yes, provided you follow the instructions for installation.
It is important to remember, however, that even though they’re commonly called bed bugs, they can live in many of the crevices around your bed, not just inside the mattress. They’ll even set up shop on the mattress encasement! (see photos below)
Check out the directions quoted from a leading manufacturer of bed bug encasements:
Installing Bed Bug Encasements
Before Installing Box Spring Encasements
Encasement Installed: Are the Bed Bugs Gone?
Over years of having clients purchase bed bug encasements, the outcome is what I call false hope. Clients believed the encasement would solve their problems, and I would receive calls of disbelief. “Eric, you sold me $500 of encasements for my beds, and I am still getting bites and/or have actually found a bed bug on the mattress!” To be fair, the encasements did their job, but we just eliminated one harborage area for another. This photo demonstrates bed bug activity under an encased mattress.
Leading manufactures make claims such as “products give you complete mattress protection for a healthy, bed bug free sleep zone” Once again, I find this seriously misleading. I have installed mattress encasements in large, multi-family units only to find that it eliminated the mattress itself as a harborage area, but did not provide a bed bug free sleep zone by any means.
I have been specializing in bed bugs for eight years. The photos shown are my own from bed bug infestations that I have personally dealt with. Many pest control operators have moved on from offering mattress encasements for good reasons: there are too many sizes to stock, they are susceptible to tearing upon installation or use, clients remove encasements to clean them when they are supposed to leave them on for up to 18 months, and normally requires 2 people to install. I’ve slept on them and think they can be a bit noisy, too.
The real focus going forward in 2017 is educating clients and offering a bed bug prevention program. A better alternative to encasements is using an impregnated bed bug liner that actually exterminates the bug when it comes in contact with the liner. As I like to say, “Don’t encase them, kill them.” Find out more about ActiveGuard mattress liners.
Bed Bug Specialist