Bed bugs feed on human blood, and do so during the nighttime hours when we are sleeping. They like to stay close to their food source (you), and so make their homes in our beds. Between 85 and 90% of the bed bugs in an infested home will be found on or within 15 feet of the bed. Using a bed bug mattress cover can help minimize such infestations.
A bed bug mattress cover, also called a mattress encasement, is a tightly woven case that keeps bed bugs from infesting your mattress or box spring. Once it is installed, bed bugs already in the furniture cannot escape, and will eventually die inside the encasement. Bed bugs on the outside of the mattress cover will not be able to live and breed in the mattress, since they can't penetrate the barrier of the encasement. Bed bugs are easier to spot on a mattress cover, too, because there are no deep seams or crevices where bed bugs can hide.
Bed bug mattress covers can be purchased for as little as $20. Many pest control supply companies sell them on the internet. Make sure you choose one that is specifically designed for bed bug protection. If you have both a mattress and a box spring, you'll need to purchase two mattress covers. Adult bed bugs can live for well over a year without a blood meal. You'll need to leave the mattress covers on for at least that long to be sure all resident bed bugs are dead.