Bed bugs, Cimex Lectularius, are nocturnal creatures that like to hang out in small spaces – particularly in and around mattresses. Mattress bed bugs are not dangerous and are not known to spread disease; however, bites can be annoying and itchy, with some people suffering allergic reactions.
Read on to discover the signs of bed bugs and how to get rid of them...
What Causes Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs feed on blood so they like to live near humans or animals. They can travel in suitcases, clothes and soft furnishings so can be transported from infested areas. Common places in which bed bugs are found are hotels, hostels and other places in which lots of people gather.
Where Do Bed Bugs Hide?
Bedbugs can hide just about anywhere in your home, which is why detecting them is so difficult. They are visible to the naked eye, but their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces.
Bedbugs do not have nests like ants or bees but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to feed.
Over time, however, they may scatter through the bedroom, moving into any crevice or protected location. They may also spread to nearby rooms or apartments.
Do Bed Bugs Live in Mattresses?
Yes, bed bugs can live in sheets and mattresses. They live on the surface of the mattress and in cracks, seams and crevices. They can also live inside the mattress if there are any holes or tears.
Can Bed Bugs Live On Foam Mattresses?
Bed bugs can also live on memory foam mattresses. Although memory foam protects against dust and dust mites thanks to its compact construction, bed bugs tend to live on the surface, on the underside and edges of the mattress.
Early Signs of Bed Bugs
If you wake up in bed in the morning with itchy red marks, you may have bed bugs.
Look out for some of these warning signs…
- Bedbug bite marks - these look similar to mosquito bites and often feel itchy
- Small blood spots from the bites
- Bedbug faeces (small dark stains)
- Bedbug shells
How to Check for Bed Bugs
You should regularly inspect all sheets and pillowcases for small brown bloodstains (faecal spots) and inspect the seams and folds of mattresses for live insects and bloodstains.
Bed bugs usually stay close to the feeding areas so look in the areas where they congregate including along mattress seams, in the frames of beds or the headboards, behind baseboards and under carpet edges. But they can also hide behind pictures, door and window casings, loose wallpaper and any cracks.
Bed bugs typically hide during the daytime, so it can often be very difficult to spot them. If you don’t see the actual bed bugs look for tiny, rust-coloured stains that they leave behind on mattress tags and seams, ceilings, under seat cushions and behind headboards.
Keep an eye out for potential hiding places, such as buckling wallpaper or carpet, and conditions that can attract bed bugs like excessive heat or moisture.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Mattress
Follow these steps to remove those pesky creatures...
Professional Pest Management
If you believe you have a serious bed bug infestation then the best action to take would be to call in a professional exterminator. Many people try to solve the problem themselves using chemicals, but that can be dangerous if you don’t really know what you’re doing. Professional pest control solutions can include heat treatment and the use of safe chemicals.
Wash Your Bedding on a High Heat
If you have a light infestation then it can often be solved with good hygiene practices, along with washing the affected bedding or clothing in temperatures higher than 40 degrees centigrade.
Clean Your Mattress
Next, clean your mattress by vacuuming the surface and using safe cleaning products if necessary. Be sure to also clean mattress covers, mattress toppers and pillows.
Clean Your Bedroom
You also need to thoroughly clean and vacuum the area to remove any live bugs or eggs and prevent them from returning.
You can put sticky tape in your room to capture bugs as they move around, such as at the bottom of your bedposts. Keep track of how many you are catching, so you know your efforts have worked if the numbers caught start to decrease.
Buy a New Mattress
If the situation is severe, you may have to dispose of the infected one and buy a new mattress. If your current mattress has holes or tears, the bugs may have infested the mattress interior, making them harder to remove. Opt for a hypoallergenic mattress for the best protection.
How Can I Prevent Bed Bugs?
And for long term protection against bed bugs, follow these tips...
When returning from a trip away, it’s worth checking your suitcase and clothing for any signs of life to avoid bringing them into your home.
In addition, keeping your bedroom and home clean and tidy will help to decrease the chance of infestations. Vacuum regularly and try to avoid leaving piles of clutter sitting around for long periods of time – particularly inviting homely areas for the little pests, such as piles of clothes.
Use a Mattress Cover
Using a zipped memory foam mattress cover can provide an extra barrier and prevent bugs from finding their way inside your mattress.
Mattress Bugs FAQ
Find answers to common bed bug queries...
Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?
Bed bugs can be transported in luggage, clothing and soft furnishings from other infected areas. For example hotels or public transport.
Do Bed Bugs Burrow in Mattresses?
No, bed bugs are not able to burrow into your mattress and usually live on the surface. They can only enter the mattress interior if there is a hole or tear in the surface.
Do Bed Bugs Like Made Beds?
Some studies have suggested that bed bugs prefer made beds as they like to live in warm, damp environments. Leaving the bed unmade can help to remove the moisture that mites and bugs need to survive.
Do Mattress Covers Stop Bed Bugs?
While they may not stop them completely, mattress covers can help to prevent bed bugs from working their way into your mattress, especially if there is a hidden opening somewhere.
Does your bed need a refresh? Our memory foam mattresses are made from hypoallergenic materials that can prevent dust mites and reduce allergy symptoms.
Sleep tight and just hope the bed bugs won’t bite…