It is a common accepted practice for people to return mattresses to stores if they do not fit the comfort they desire.
That reason for mattress returns is being replaced at some stores due to fear of bed bugs in mattresses. At least two Canadian mattress retailers have scrapped their comfort-exchange programs, pointing to escalating infestations of bed bugs in Canada as the primary reason.
Jordanna Caine, president of Simmons Mattress Gallery stores in Nova Scotia, said customers over the past year have become increasingly concerned with returned merchandise, as reports of bed bugs invading Canadian and American homes spread. Although the insect has not been detected in the company’s mattresses, exchanges of previously slept-on beds were halted earlier this month. “It’s clearly a concern for people,” she said. “Obviously, we don’t want to put our warehouse, our trucks, and our customers at risk.”
Eliminating mattress exchanges is one of a many tactics being used to combat bedbugs. Many factors have made getting rid of bed bugs a difficult task.
Although Health Canada does not keep record of bedbug infestations, bed bugs have affected provinces across the country. Ontario recently committed $5-million to help public health agencies tackle the problem, while Manitoba is drafting a bed bug strategy. Bed bugs have been detected in low rent buildings as well as high-end hotels. In northern Saskatchewan last November, they were detected in a hospital, prompting a major cleanup and weeks of monitoring.
In the United States, bed bugs have been the subject of two government-organized summits, the latest one held in Washington last month. And, the bed bug problem is expected to worsen! A recent Ohio State University Study found that the bug’s numbers of bedbugs in North America have increased as much as 500% in the past decade, costing businesses and home owners billions of dollars annually to deal with the outbreaks. Recently, there has been an urgent call to keep bed bugs in mind when initiating new policies and practices, locally and globally. But is eliminating mattress exchanges the right move? Whether the answer is yes or no, prevention and early detection are key. It may be possible for used mattresses to be treated with steam or covered in entomologist approved Securesleep™ bug-proof encasements.