What you must know about Dust Mites, Bed Bugs & Allergens

Tara Gleig – Director - Bed Bug Wholesale

How Do Mattress Protectors And Encasements Protect You From Bed Bugs & Dust Mites


We spend nearly 30% of our lives in bed, which makes protecting where we sleep good practice, and it’s also healthier. Mattress protectors and certified mattress encasements will not increase the heat of your bed or change the feel of your mattress in any way.

Dust Mites.

Dust Mites are these tiny little microscopic bugs or pests that live off of your dead skin cells and animal dander. Dust Mites have eight legs and live between 10-19 days which is enough time to cause complete chaos. These little critters are able to lay 60-80 eggs before they die. Although they create much frustration for those with asthma and allergies, they are not parasites and do not carry disease. A Dust Mite’s preferred place to sit back after a hard day at work and get comfortable is right inside your mattress where skin cells are on tap and distributed in abundance. The average clean person like you or I will lose over 10grams worth of skin cells per week proving a constant supply of food for dust mites, delivered right to their front door quicker than an Uber eats order on a Monday. If you happen to be one that showers in the morning you are twice as likely to receive a gift of thanks from your miniature friends in the mattress.

There is a big issue with dust mites and that is their microscopic faecal matter that they love leaving behind wherever they go, this creates major issues for those with allergies and asthma. Just one mattress can be home to over 10 million of these little pooping mischief makers. If you thought that washing your sheets once a week is enough to keep dust mite populations down, you would be scared to look at what’s crawling along the top of your mattress with a microscope. I ask you when was the last time you washed your mattress? I can hear someone saying in a sarcastic undertone that they vacuum their mattress when they wash the sheets. I can assure you that you need one hell of a hoover to suck more than a few surface Dust Mites off the mattress. They burrow down deep inside the fibres of your mattress far from any action of the hoover. The best way to reduce Dust Mites is to put an encasement over the mattress. By applying such a protection product, you will find that Dust Mites cannot enter or exit the mattress making it much easier to remove the Dust Mites. Pillows that have been encased from the day of purchase are the healthiest for asthma and allergies sufferers. Encasing a mattress from the first day you own it is also highly recommended.

My Hot Tip for You #1 If you suffer from allergies it’s so important to ensure that you have a clean HEPA filter on your vacuum cleaner to stop making Dust Mites and allergens air-born.  

My Hot Tip for You #2If you can see through your mattress encasement you will find that it may assist in the control of Bed Bugs however it's going to be absolutely useless in the control of Dust Mites. A tightly woven or TPU barrier is essential to stop microscopic dust mites making their way into your mattress.   

Fluid Protection?

Just one fluid accident can completely ruin an unprotected mattress and will likely void its manufacturer warranty. The mattress encasements we distribute are waterproof, which will prevent small or large fluid accidents from permanently soiling your mattress.

Mattresses are not cheap investments especially if you like something a little boutique, making mattress protection a smart purchase to ensure years of use. Most families will have several fluid spills on each of their mattresses attributed to children, pets, incontinence, drinks, ceiling leaks and maybe the odd red wine if you’re like me and enjoy a glass while reading a good book. There is no better feeling after a fluid spill than knowing proactive steps were taken beforehand to ensure nothing would damage or soil the mattress. I happen to have dogs and as much as they are loved I would be lying if I tried to tell you that they had never vomited or peed on the bed once or twice over the last 10 years.

If a spill or fluid accident occurs, simply remove the protector and place directly into the washing machine with a normal detergent that does not contain bleach. Once clean, tumble-dry using the low heat setting. Our mattress protectors and encasement make fluid accidents easy to recover from while at the same time providing a more sterile and safe sleep environment.

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed Bugs, are small visible bugs the size of an apple seeds that feed on warm-blooded animals. Although bed bugs have been around even before biblical times, they have recently exploded in population worldwide, especially Australia. We are shipping our products daily from single unit orders right through to mass quantiles right around Australia. I am often perplexed as to how big a problem we have with Bed Bugs here in Australia in 2018. It’s one of those unspoken issues that never come up in conversation anywhere, you could often think that you are the only one possible something like this could happen to. As my friends and peers know that I am in the business of Bed Bug & Allergy product distribution, I often find that when I am telling people I meet in social settings a little about our business interests I find that more often than not there is someone in the room that has had a Bed Bug problem in the past 5 years and they are very keen to share their stories. At this point there is often someone else that opens up about an issue they have had in the past also. Having Bed Bugs is often thought of as shameful, I have found that most people I meet need some reassurance from me that I don’t think they are messy or untidy people as that's normally the first thing they mention as a precursor to our conversation, I often need to reassure people that Bed Bug don’t discriminate and are just as happy feeding on a clean and tidy person as they are on a dirty, untidy hoarder. Having an immaculately clean and tidy home is not going to prevent you from hosting a Bed Bug congregation in your room. It only takes exposure to one single Bed Bug for you to have a whole problem of your own. The issue I am finding in Australia is that because people are not interested in publically advertising that they have active Bed Bugs camping out onsite in their immaculately clean and tidy home, their guests are completely unaware that they could be taking home an unwanted guest of their own on their clothing, shoe, bags etc when they leave from their visit. If you only happen to take home 1 Bed Bug egg there is a reasonable chance for you that this egg is going to hatch and make a meal of you.  

To better understand Bed Bugs, we must first understand how they live. Bed Bugs feed directly on their host every 4-7 days for 5-10 minutes before retreating back to their hiding place often within 3m of the bed that has their food in it (you are their food if you haven’t picked up on this yet). They are most active between 2-6 am when their host is in a deep sleep and dreaming peaceful thoughts. Before Bed Bugs begin their feed, they first inject a local anesthetic similar to that of which you would receive when extracting a tooth at a dentist so the host (you’re the host) doesn’t notice they’re there along with an anticoagulant to prevent the blood flow from clotting which allows them to fully fill themselves with your blood in 2-3 bites. These bites are often tracked in a straight line one after the other. After feeding, Bed Bugs retreat back to their hiding place until their next feeding session.

Where Can Bed Bugs Hide?

I find in most cases people take a while to catch on that they have Bed Bugs as they are the world’s best Ninjas. There are many of us that do not have any side effects from Bed Bug Bites. It's less than 50% of the population who have allergic reactions to the bites and show signs of lumps, bumps or rashes. There are plenty of us including some of my family who could be bitten from head to toe and have no concept that they are being served up as a Bed Bug meal night after night. If you have ever seen a picture of a bed bug infestation and you have been thinking to yourself, how did that get so bad without anyone working that out? This is usually the case because the host in this situation is non-reactive to Bed Bug Bites. There could be hundreds and in some case thousands of bed bugs hiding away under a bed before you would visibly see these. If you happen to be untidy and never change your bedsheets or clean your room this is a very likely outcome should you end up with a Bed Bug onsite. Bed Bugs can often be found along the seams of the mattress or inside the ensemble base and corner guards. They can also be found inside walls, along skirting boards, inside alarm clocks, picture frames, headboards and furniture. My favourite Bed Bug hiding place is just down under the edge of the carpet and underlay where you could never see them hard up against the smoothedge which is used to hold your carpet to the floor. Many people have trouble finding Bed Bugs as they are normally only active at night. They are the most amazing things at hiding. I thought that my 4-year-old daughter played a great game of hide and seek. If you want something to keep you occupied for hours of an evening to the point that you may think you are going insane, try crawling around your bedroom trying to find a live Bed Bug when you know they are around somewhere. If you can fit a credit card inside a crack there is a good chance that a bed bug can also fit inside there. Bed Bugs are the 2019 version of a miniature unicorn. They have a magical power to cause insomnia and sleep conditions for years to come. Once you have discovered Bed Bugs in your room there is a switch that often is turned on in your brain that makes you feel like you are being crawled over by bed bugs even when you know that they are not crawling on you. We have clients who wake up in the middle of the night with a torch or phone in hand finding themselves crawling along the floor trying to find Bed Bugs in their room months after they have been reprimanded and removed. For me, the physiological aspects of Bed Bugs which is also not often spoken about are the worst side effect of Bed Bugs as it takes the longest time to heal. I don’t wish insomnia or paranoia on anyone.    

 How Do I Know If I Have Bed Bugs?

Bed Bugs can be normally be distinguished through a visible encounter (if you can find one) or by examining signs they leave behind which is much easier. Common signs include small blood droplets or black fecal matter they leave behind. Small red bite marks in a row are also indicative of bed bugs. If bites are found a thorough inspection of the room can often confirm the presences of Bed Bugs or insanity, whichever may come first.

Where Bed Bugs Came From? 

Bed Bugs are nothing new in Australia but were almost eradicated during 1930-1950 through the use of pesticides such as DDT. DDT had been used liberally against cockroaches during this time period, which was also indirectly effective against bed bugs as well. It was later found that DDT caused health issues with wildlife such as the Bald Eagle and it was banned in the 1970s. From the ’70s on pest control professionals began using more natural remedies against roaches such as bait traps, which had no effect at all against bed bugs. It was only a matter of time until bed bugs, with nothing being used to kill them, increased their numbers dramatically. Over the past few years, bed bug cases have increased over 500%, with new cases continually increasing. I can vouch for this in the number of enquiries from pest controllers and commercial operators such as hotels, motels and hostels we receive weekly.


How Do I Get Bed Bugs?

People are often exposed to Bed Bugs by coming into contact with an area that has them. This includes areas where people frequently come and go such as hotels, hospitals, cruise ships, aeroplanes and buses. Bed Bugs can easily attach themselves to clothing, suitcases or bags making their way home with the host where they quickly lay eggs and multiply. Each female bed bug can lay over 500 eggs during their lifetime. If you have Bed Bugs you should act responsibly and advise your guests of this problem before letting them enter your home. If they are aware you have live Night Ninjas hiding in your house your guests can be careful to ensure that they don’t introduce these to their own property.


How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs?

Bed Bugs can be eradicated through the use of a professional bed bug extermination service and by purchasing bedding protection products. Along with the extermination service, bedding encasements should be applied. Bedding encasements protect your mattress and ensemble base from invading Bed Bugs and well as treat your mattress sets that are infested with Bed Bugs or Bed Bug eggs. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to throw away their mattresses. Mattresses are expensive costing hundreds or thousands of dollars to replace. If the mattress or ensemble bases are ever infested, they can be easily encased with bedding covers trapping any hiding Bed Bugs inside. Eventually, these hiding Bed Bugs will die of starvation as they can only feed on a live blood source. If money is no objective and you are thinking that throwing your mattress and ensemble base out is going to fix your problem in one clean sweep it’s important to remember that if there is one egg or Bed Bug hiding within 15-20m of your bed, you are likely to have a brand new infested mattress or ensemble base in a very short period of time. A new mattress or ensemble base should not be considered until you are certain that you have completely controlled the situation and no live Bed Bugs or Eggs are living in your home. This can take a period of a few months to completely control and feel safe again.