Bed bugs are one of nature’s most inconvenient and indestructible creatures. Their favorite place is a mattress, because that’s where humans spend most of their time in the same spot, so the bed bugs can feed off their blood. These little vampires will reside in just about any type of mattress - including a memory foam one.
If you’re worried about the possibility of your memory foam mattress becoming a home to bed bugs, it might be reassuring to know that bed bugs aren’t picky when it comes to sleeping arrangements. They will live in any mattress. Well, this could be a reassuring point of view if you’re a glass-half-full kind of person. If not, then it’s not great.
So, if you’re looking for a new mattress to replace your bed bug-ridden one, or perhaps you’re wondering if your new memory foam mattress will become a home to the vampire bugs, here is our guide on bed bugs and memory foam mattresses!
So, can bed bugs live in memory foam?
Unfortunately, yes - bed bugs can live in memory foam. However, they won’t technically live inside a memory foam mattress. Instead, bed bugs live on the surface of any mattress.
This is because, while they are small at a young age, bed bugs will grow as they continue to feed off human blood, which means they won’t be able to dig into the mattress to live inside it. The reason for this is that bed bugs don’t have teeth, so they simply aren’t strong enough to tear through a mattress. However, if the mattress already has tears and holes, then the bed bugs will happily live inside it.
If your memory foam mattress does not have any holes or rips, then the bed bugs are most likely to live on the outer edge of the underside of the mattress. Any fabric creases within the mattress, including the piping on the edge, is an ideal place for bed bugs to live. Buttons and the fabric of a bed sheet, likewise, also provide a nice amount of shelter.
In most cases, bed bugs like to live on the underside of a mattress. This is because there is less exposure to light and disturbances, which is safest for keeping them alive. At night, when there is no movement, they crawl around to nibble at humans.
So, the answer to this question is that bed bugs can live on a memory foam mattress, but they cannot live inside it. This goes for all mattresses, as bed bugs don’t have the strength to rip into a mattress due to their lack of teeth.
Will a memory foam mattress help prevent bed bugs?
Unfortunately, a memory foam mattress won’t prevent bed bugs from living on the surface. As with any mattress, memory foam won’t repel the vampire bugs. This means that if you’re wanting to spend hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on a memory foam mattress in the hopes of repelling bed bugs, you might as well save your money and look for another alternative.
The only reason why bed bugs might not prefer memory foam mattresses to regular mattresses is because of the tightly compacted hair on the surface of the mattress. Bed bugs don’t walk well amongst hair because of their wide shape and lack of claws, meaning they will find navigating across a memory foam mattress quite difficult. Not impossible, though.
Do bed bugs burrow into memory foam mattresses?
Most people will assume that bed bugs burrow into mattresses, but this isn’t the case. Bed bugs mostly live on the surface of a mattress, hidden underneath or behind crevices and folds. Bed bugs do not have claws or teeth, so they simply don’t have the power to rip into mattresses of any kind - especially dense memory foam mattresses.
Side note - although bed bugs don’t have teeth, they have a small scratcher that draws blood from human skin and feeds off it. This scratcher isn’t nearly as strong as claws or teeth, however.
However, that doesn’t mean they won’t try to burrow into a memory foam mattress that has an existing hole. If the mattress has a tear or even the smallest hole, this will become the ideal breeding ground and hiding spot for bed bugs.
How to get bed bugs out of memory foam
It’s not easy to get rid of bed bugs on memory foam mattresses, especially if they have found a hole to burrow into.
Mattress encasement covers are a great option for solving a bed bug problem. Plastic mattress encasement covers are the best for this, as plastic is a non-porous material that provides zero air flow. While bed bugs can exist for several days to weeks without oxygen or food, a plastic mattress encasement will eventually starve them from air and blood, thus killing them. You should keep these encasements on a mattress for a minimum of two years to ensure the bed bugs are dead, and it will need to be washed at 140 °F to kill off remaining bugs and eggs when you replace the mattress.
You should also keep an eye on the quality of your mattress. If you notice any holes or tears, make sure to seal these immediately to prevent the bed bugs from burrowing inside the mattress. Close the opening by sewing it tightly shut or get creative with glue and fabric.
If there are no holes or openings, you should get a bed bug repellant spray. This won’t kill anything inside the mattress, but it will kill the ones you can manage to spray.
If in doubt, the best way to get bed bugs out of memory foam is to hire an exterminator. This is the best option if you want to buy a new mattress, because replacing the bed bug-ridden mattress will encourage the bed bugs to drop off in your house or garage, which will only lead them to spread around your house once again.