Encasing mattresses is one of many good parts of a solution, but it doesn't get rid of the infestation. There are going to be other bugs away from the mattress, hiding nearby. What mattress covers are good at is entombing the sometimes large number of bed bugs that can live on a mattress. And because the covers tend to be uniform in color and don't have a lot of seams that the bugs can hide in, it's easier to see the insects.
We took extreme measures and hired a Heat company to come in. They heat your house to approx 150 degrees (internal wall temp of 140 or more). Bed bugs can survive for 7 minutes at 115 degrees. The heat company heats your house to well above that temp and maintains it for 4 hours! It was great!!!! We have not seen a bed bug since…except for dead ones!! I will warn everyone…the treatment is not cheap. We have a 3200 sq foot house that is only 2 years old…the cost was $4000. They base the cost on square footage, age of home, insulation, etc. I freaked when I heard the estimate, but worth the money to be rid of them!!
Around the time I started getting bites, I noticed more and more neighbors throwing out mattresses, furniture… I got suspicious. We live in apartments. I react differently to different kinds of bites so I can always tell the difference between mosquitoes and ants and such. I didn’t know what those bites were until I caught one of the little hellions crawling across the sheets.
No one tactic alone will be effective. A good pest control operator will develop a strategy to deal with the bed bugs that takes the particulars of the setting into account, and will return several times to check on progress. Dry ice sprays that freeze bed bugs have limited potential to reach hidden bugs. Steam has somewhat better penetrating ability. The downside of steam is that it leaves moisture behind. Dry ice doesn't leave any residue at all. Vacuuming has a role, but it has limitations, too. Some insecticides leave behind deposits that are slow to act but are effective in the long-term. Other insecticides kill on contact, but only reach insects that are in view. Insecticide resistance makes the choice of tactics more difficult.
I know this is a few years late, but I just wanted to let you know we had a similar situation, but it was for a few months every summer. Turns out there were bats in our attic, and the bat bugs will still bite you like bed bugs except they don’t really love humans so it will be infrequent and you won’t have to worry about an infestation! When you get rid of the bats, they go away eventually.
Bed bugs do not transmit MRSA. Although there have been reports of persons developing methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, such as boils or abscesses associated with bed bug bites, it turns out the bed bugs really weren't directly at fault. Rather, the cases of MRSA infections associated with bed bug bites are actually an example of scratching leading to minor skin trauma and subsequent secondary bacterial infections. In these cases, people who are carriers of MRSA scratch at the itchy bite sites and provide a port of entry for the MRSA (which was already present on their skin) to get in and under the skin and cause the secondary infection. While it can be blamed for some other bed bug symptoms like itching and red welts, the bed bug cannot be blamed for the infection.
DIY approaches come with risk. It's not uncommon for someone to use a pest-control bomb or fogger that is available over the counter. These don't work well against bed bugs, according to research from Ohio State University. They can also expose people to toxic chemicals. Neither are over-the-counter aerosol insecticides effective against bed bugs. Most of these products have either pyrethrin or a pyrethroid as a main ingredient and those compounds have the same mode of action as DDT, which bed bugs have become resistant to. If you spray the bug directly you might kill it, but that is not going to get rid of the infestation. The problem is finding all the bed bugs. Some just can't be reached with insecticide. It's difficult for nonprofessionals to do anything more than kill what they can see, but that's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what's there.
Dusts last longer than aerosols, but the crack and crevice tips on the Phantom and Bedlam areosols enable you to get into the smallest cracks. It is a good idea to use a combination of sprays and dusts. Temprid SC may be used on the tufts and seams of mattresses. It works well as a residual insecticide sprayed in other recommended treatment areas such as night stands, chests, dressers, couches and chairs.