Late at night when you're sleeping, the bedbugs come creeping. And it seems the little bloodsuckers have now made their way throughout the United States, spreading from the major cities where the infestations started a few years ago.
"Just a couple of years ago, it was a pest that not many people had seen. Now, virtually every pest control company that we're in contact with is dealing with regular bedbug incidents," said Greg Baumann, vice president of Technical Services for the National Pest Management Association.
Because bedbugs are primarily associated with mattresses, some companies are now designing protective products for bedding. London Luxury LLC has just introduced a collection of "bed bug barrier bedding," mattress and pillow protectors, available through Bed Bath & Beyond.
Allergy Solutions Inc. also sells mattress encasements, as do Protect-A-Bed and National Allergy Supply's Bedcare line. The Harvard School of Public Health says any encasement that is used for protection from the dust mite is sufficient for much larger bed bugs.
Baumann says these barrier-type fabric products work very well, as far as they go. They do trap the bedbugs, which can't get out and can't survive.
But most infestations go beyond the mattress and box spring, Baumann says. Bedbugs often hide away from the bed, in crevices, carpeting, walls, even electrical outlets.
The good news is, bedbugs can be controlled, Baumann says, even if it takes three or more visits by an exterminator.