Can Bed Bugs Live on an Air Mattress?

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 5 minLast updated May 5, 2020

If you’ve encountered the bed bug infestation, chances are that you will need to replace the bed because it’s the most common location these critters choose to live in.

As a temporary solution, many people choose to sleep on an airbed. And you might have a reasonable question: can bed bugs live on an air mattress?

The short answer is no, but that doesn’t mean they cannot live anywhere near it.

So, let’s find out what the signs of the bed bug infestation are and how these insects appear in our houses so that you can be prepared in case of an emergency.

Who Are Bed Bugs and Where Do They Come From?

Who Are Bed Bugs and Where Do They Come From

Bed bugs are tiny wingless insects that vary in size from 1 to 7 millimeters and are similar to an apple seed in shape and color. They’re nocturnal creatures and typically attack at night. However, a bed bug might bite you during the day too, if you’re close to them and inactive for a long time — i.e. watching TV on a coach.

When not feeding, bed bugs hide in hard-to-reach places. These can be cracks and crevices in your walls, inside the foam padding on your chair or couch, or behind the wallpapers that started to peel off, etc.

“A crack in furniture as thin as the VISA card can be a perfect place for bed bugs to hide.”

Even though bed bugs can’t fly or jump, they’re able to crawl long distances pretty fast in search of a host to feed on. That’s why your bed may not be the main habitat of the infestation.

So, how can these gross critters appear in your house? Because they don’t just spawn in your bed out of nowhere, right?

Here are the possible ways how bed bugs can end up in your bedroom:

  • Used furniture. Flea markets have their name for a reason. You may adore this vintage armchair you’ve bought for $25, but note that such a low price might be the result of an unpleasant surprise inside.
  • Luggage. Bed bugs are really good hitchhikers who can hide in your suitcase, backpack, purse or another luggage item. So, if the sanitary conditions of the hotel you stayed in weren’t good enough, you might bring the bugs to your place upon your return home.
  • Public places. An upholstered soft chair in the cinema or an office building, as well as seats in the public transport, can easily be home to a colony of bed bugs, and they can cling to your clothes and travel to your house.

Aside from that, you have more chances to get bed bugs if you live in an apartment building. Because you don’t always know all of your neighbors and what sanitary conditions they have in their home.

Can Bed Bugs Live on an Air Mattress?

Can Bed Bugs Live on an Air Mattress

Now, an inflatable mattress isn’t a good place for bed bugs to live on, and there are several reasons for that.

First, most of the best air mattresses for everyday use are made of either vinyl or PVC. These are durable plastic films immune to punctures and tears, which makes it impossible for a bed bug to gnaw a hole and get inside. And this is the reason why most bed bug-resistant mattress encasements also have vinyl or PVC lining.

Second, even if bed bugs would be able to gnaw a hole in your airbed, they’d simply had no place to hide because the air mattress is filled with bare air and nothing more, whereas a regular mattress often uses at least one layer of foam. This material has a porous and spongy structure, which works as a home for bed bugs much better.

Finally, the sides of air mattresses typically have a smooth surface that prevents bed bugs from climbing on it and biting you. So, you surely can use an air mattress for sleeping while you’re searching for and eradicating the bed bug colony.

How Do You Know You Have Bed Bugs?

Knowing about the main signs of the bed bug infestation will save you a lot of time and help get rid of them faster.  Because your bed isn’t the only place where the colony can hide. In fact, bed bugs can only travel to your bed to feed on your blood, but their home might be in a totally different place.

So, here’s what you should look for:

  • Red welts all over the body. The most obvious sign of having bed bugs is their bite marks on your skin. These marks look like mosquito welts and may appear on any part of your body, but the back and sides of your torso are most common because they’re the largest areas of your body in contact with the mattress.
  • Dark spots on your sheets and mattress. These are your dried blood and the bed bug fecal matter, so if you see them every time you change the bedding, this is another sign of the infestation.
  • Bed bug eggs and shells around the house. White and opalescent eggs and bed bug shells indicate that there’s a colony nearby, so if you notice them, inspect the nearest furniture pieces very thoroughly.

“Bed bugs have scent glands that release a strong odor when they feel a threat. This odor is somewhat similar to coriander (or cilantro), so if you suddenly can smell it in the air, check the area for bed bugs.”

So, are you dealing with bed bugs now? What are you planning to do to get rid of them? Share your stories below!

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