Two stories involving bed bugs in Michigan caught my eye today. They consider two different sides of the “dumped mattress” problem.
The first story from today’s Detroit Free Press suggests that a large number of people are losing sleep due to not sleeping on a bed. Not surprisingly, it mentions bed bugs as one of the reasons people end up bedless:
While many people take having a good, comfortable bed at home for granted, for an untold number of Michigan’s adults and children, that’s not their reality.
Experts say the economy, consolidation of households, and bedbugs are all contributing to a lack of beds in homes throughout southeast Michigan, which often leads to poor sleep.
No one tracks exactly how many people share beds or go without, but a first-of-its kind study in metro Detroit is to take place this fall.
The effects of not getting a good night’s sleep range from emotional and behavior problems in children to adults drowsing off or falling asleep, putting them at an increased risk for automobile accidents and affecting work performance, medical experts say.
Of course, as we’ve often noted, sleep deprivation also occurs when people have bed bugs and a bed, and is one of the primary health problems related to bed bugs.
Remember, experts tell us in most cases you do not need to throw out your bed in order to get rid of bed bugs. If the mattress is intact (no tears), bed bugs can be removed and killed.
Box springs are a problem since they hide bed bugs easily, and these can be sealed and tossed, or carefully encased in a cover designed to keep bed bugs in or out (see the FAQ on encasements for more on this).
You don’t need a box spring for a good night sleep in many cases. If necessary, mattresses can be placed on the floor (it’s better than sleeping directly on the floor). They can also be placed on a frame that does not require a box spring.
The second story, from the Dearborn Press and Guide is from the police blotter, which reports on a “Bed-bug infested mattresses dumped at apartment complex”:
Two single mattresses crawling with bed bugs were dumped Thursday at the apartment building at Freda Street and Blesser Avenue.
The complex’s maintenance man called police about 11 a.m. He said he tried to spray down the mattresses with insecticide to keep the bed bugs from spreading.
Police called the Department of Public Works to have the mattresses removed.
It’s not clear whether the mattresses may have come from inside the same building, but if the dumping was not witnessed, the management may wish to investigate whether current tenants have bed bugs they may have been reluctant to report.
We don’t often hear about the police getting called in about bed bug-related concerns.
But we see mattresses dumped every day. Remember that if you must get rid of infested items like this, they should first be carefully sealed in plastic to help avoid spreading bed bugs within your home and to others. Where I live in New York City, it’s the law.
If the mattress can be treated and kept (and most can), this is often the best course of action.