Blocking bed bug bites
Given that my company produces allergen-barrier fabrics for bedding, we continue to get questions about fabrics which are effective in blocking bed bugs. Such fabrics are used in pillow and mattress encasements, to block the passage of bed bugs – and their bites!
To fully understand how to block a bed bug’s bite, we need to take a look at the bed bug’s “stinger”, or proboscis. As you’ll see in the image below, the bed bug’s proboscis is not really a mouth, but rather a complex straw with two tubes inside – one through which the bed bug spits out saliva into its host – that’s you and me – and another which sucks the blood from its host.
The saliva contains an anesthetic which prevents the host from waking up, and anticoagulants to keep your blood from clotting while it sucks it out using the other tube, during the 5-minute feeding period. Oh, and after it finishes gorging on your blood, it leaves a tiny pile of feces on its host – that’s still you and me – before crawling away to digest your blood and to reproduce. I don’t know about you, but this makes me want to step on a bug.
Bed bugs range in size from a pin head to an apple seed. However, the proboscis “stinger” is quite a bit smaller. That proboscis is what I want to block. It’s one thing to have a bedding cover that blocks the bed bug from getting inside a mattress – but it’s quite another to block that proboscis from reaching through the fabric to bite me. I hear from entomology experts that bed bugs are far more likely to walk around on top of bedding, looking for bare skin to impale, than reaching through the fabric with its mouth parts to suck your blood. But, they can still do so. I would rather have a bedding encasement that not only prevents bed bugs from physically passing through the fabric, but also blocks the “stinger”.
Most bed-bug pillow and mattress covers today are made of laminated or coated fabrics. Laminates and coatings can indeed block bed bug bites. However, they also prevent the passage of air and sweat, making for uncomfortable sleeping.
Our company has developed two Pristine® fabrics which are woven so tightly that bed bugs cannot bite through, but still allow the flow of air and moisture vapor. No coatings or laminations. We’ve had them them tested by independent laboratories with actual bed bugs! With pillow and mattress covers made of Pristine®, you won’t wake up sweating and uncomfortable, wondering where those pesky bed bugs might be.