New mattresses and box springs are often encased in plastic from the factory. Sometimes the people who purchase these beds leave the plastic on them as a cheap mattress encasement. But if you inspect the plastic you will often find a multitude of holes. The problem with this plastic are many: they allow bed bugs access to the mattress where they are protected by the plastic, they encourage some bugs to harbour further from the bed in baseboards and clothing which in turn leads to a broader circle of infestation, and the plastic makes treatment of the bed impossible which, in turn, makes getting rid of the bugs impossible.
Last week I was involved in a case where the mattress was encased in plastic and I received permission to remove the plastic. Lo and behold there were a small number of bugs in both the mattress and box spring and I was able to treat them. And there was also greater evidence of bed bugs in all the dressers suggesting the bugs had been pushed further from the bed. Wearing clothing from those dressers is very dangerous to the community. I do wish people would remove that plastic factory wrap from their new beds – the harm it causes can be immense.
Some homeowners attempt to seal the holes in the plastic with tape. This is usually ineffective as the tape quickly falls off and the holes remain. I have also noted in other cases where a hotel bed had part of the frame wrapped in tape to lessen damage to the box spring encasement. The bugs simply harboured in the gaps between the tape and the metal frame. If one attempts to tape up all the holes in a plastic encasement there will inevitably be overlaps of tape which will have gaps. Those gaps are then potential bed bug harbourages. Do yourself a favour – get rid of the plastic wrap on your beds.