Can You Have Bed Bugs on a Water Bed?

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Bedbugs do exist on waterbeds. The type of bed is incidental to bedbug survival. What matters is that someone sleeps on that bed, as the insects feed only on blood of sleeping prey. The two species of bedbugs most commonly found in people's homes include the tropical bedbug, or Cimex hemipterus, and the common bedbug, Cimex lectularius.

Expert Advice

  • Bedbugs live in the cracks and crevices in beds, sofas, sleeping bags or carpets upon which people sleep. The bugs live not only in or on mattresses, but in headboards and frames. The bugs even live on stacks of cardboard used as a makeshift bed, according to Dini M. Miller, a professor in Urban Pest Management at Virginia Tech's Department of Entomology. If the sleeping area contains tiny crevices for the nearly flat bedbugs to hide in, bedbugs are likely to infest the area.

Significance

  • Any bed in a hotel, cruise ship or motel has the possibility of harboring bedbugs. When traveling, never place luggage on a bed without first inspecting the bed for signs of bedbugs. Check the mattress seams and sides. Although bedbugs are small, the chestnut brown adults are visible to the naked eye, as they grow up to 1/4 inch long. It is easier to look for signs of bedbug feces. These appear as small rust-brown or black smeared spots on sheets, linens or mattresses. Rooms with large infestations have a sweet musty smell. If these signs are spotted, get another room; otherwise, bedbugs are likely to infest your luggage and come home with you.

Other Travel Tips

  • Whenever traveling, even to rooms with waterbeds, choose hard-backed luggage. Hard luggage is more difficult for bedbugs to infest. Travel with plastic bags. Place any suspect clothing, shoes or souvenirs in the plastic bags and then clean the items as soon as you arrive home. Discard the plastic bags in outdoor trashcans. Whenever possible, travel with only machine-washable clothing so, immediately upon returning home or even during the trip, clothes are able to be washed. Hot water kills the bugs.

Warning

  • Carefully inspect all used beds -- even waterbeds -- before bringing them home. Used beds sometimes contain bedbugs. Also, look into the cracks and seams of any frames in order to spot bedbugs huddled together. Never bring home a waterbed left out on the curb or in front of a trash bin. Even if the waterbed looks and smells clean, it's possible for it to contain bedbugs, warns the University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture.

Treatment

  • Immediately wash all waterbed linens and bedding in hot water to kill bedbugs if a home is discovered containing an infestation. Never spray any insecticide on a waterbed mattress or bedding, or anyone sleeping on the bed may become ill. Keep the mattress until a professional exterminator examines it. Only throw the bed out if the exterminator advises, because sometimes beds and other furniture are able to be saved.

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