Entrepreneur Gus Carey introduced a mite-killing product to the consumer market over a decade ago, but the product never became a success. Since then, Carey has spent more than 12 million dollars having a new pest control product marketed, researched, and approved by state and federal officials. This new product is a mattress cover treated with pesticides like permethrin to repel bed bugs, and bed bug-resistant covers are also available for futons, sofa beds, and box springs. Bed bug resistant mattress covers have yet to gain popularity, as Carey’s company generates only one million dollars per year and employs only four individuals.

Many consumers find bed bug-resistant mattress covers dubious, and some University researchers have expressed concern over the negative health effects that pesticide-treated mattress covers may have on humans. However, Carey has sold his mattress covers to several hotels and public housing officials, and some consumers seem pleased with the product. Carey will be spending more than 200,000 dollars to test the efficacy of his bed bug-resistant mattress covers by distributing them to residents living in heavily infested apartments.

Michelle Niedermeier, program coordinator for the Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management Program, does not recommend Carey’s bed bug-resistant mattress covers, as they may expose humans to permethrin, which causes headaches, nausea and dizziness if inhaled. Officials in Maryland have stated that permethrin can also produce eye, skin, ear, nose and throat irritation when humans make contact with the pesticide. Niedermeier is also concerned about permethrin entering local water systems when the mattress covers are washed. However, Niedermeier does consider mattress covers treated with biopesticides to be a safer option, but only one such product is currently available to consumers. This product is branded as Aprehend, and it’s a mattress cover that has been treated with bed bug-killing fungal spores. Aprehend has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, and while the spores are not harmful to humans, the mattress covers must be retreated every three months.

Have you ever considered buying a bed bug-resistant mattress cover?