How Do Bed Bugs Look On Your Mattress

Bed bug on mattress. How to get rid of them?

No one would want to share their bed with the blood sucking apple seed sized insects, bed bugs. Although they are this small and hard to control in this article, I am going to show you exactly how to get rid of bed bugs in your home. I will show you pictures of the signs of bed bug on mattress so you will have a clear idea. Effective control requires you follow the easy steps on this guide. The signs of bed bugs on a mattress include eggs, fecal stains and cast skins on mattresses. All you need to know is how to inspect for bed bugs, the signs of bed bugs, how to control them and the cause of bed bugs.

Check for bed bug on mattress

Bed bugs infested mattress

Bed bugs require blood meals to survive and complete their reproductive cycles. They feed on human blood and do not hide far from their feeding places thus they hide on the mattresses.

They defecate immediately after taking a blood meal. The ‘poo’ leaves stains on the mattress, and the stain sinks into the fabric of the mattress. This is one of the most frustrating and disgusting sights of bed bugs presence.

To find these stains and any other signs for bed bugs you have to inspect for bed bugs.

You need to know that these fecal stains can be found anywhere on the mattress even on places where the bed bugs hide when they are not feeding.

More things that you need to check on your mattress

Bed bugs also smear blood.

Because they usually feed when you are sleeping they can become trapped between you and the bed. They then get crushed and can leave blood spots on the mattress and sheets and even on your nightwear.

These blood smears and stains are not enough signs for bed bug on mattress.

Bed bugs reproduce quickly!

A bed bug lays at least 200 eggs in her lifetime, which hatch in 6 to 10 days and can live up to 10 months. This means that three or more generations of bed bugs are born each year.

When the baby bed bug moves towards adulthood, it sheds skin at least five times, at each developmental stage, before reaching maturity. The shed skins or cast skins look like light colored empty bed bug shells. And that is what they are! And you are more likely to find these on the specific hide out places on the mattress.

The hatched eggs also leave empty eggshells. And this is a symptom of a fast growing generation of bed bugs. These eggshells are very small approximately one millimeter in length but are visible with a naked eye. For the best results inspect using a magnifying glass.

The eggshells look like dried casings, but not shiny and flatter somehow. They are found in any place where the bed bugs hide especially on rough surfaces like the fabric. You also need to understand theВ bed bug life cycle.

You probably need more proof to confirm that bed bugs have infested your mattress. Bed bugs eggs can also be found on the mattress far away from the main population location. They are shiny translucent to pearly white and are mainly found in wood and fabric, unlike plastic or metal.

Baby bed bugs are also a sign of infestation in the home. They are called nymphs and are smaller and lighter in color than the adult bed bugs. They start turning red when they start to feed. They range in size from the size of a pin-head or poppy seed size at birth to about a quarter inch as they reach maturity.В They feed more frequently than the adult bed bugs and are more likely to be found as you inspect.

Inspect for the adult bed bugs themselves!

What do you need to know?

They are rusty-brown and very flat until they have filled their bellies with blood. They are about the size and shape of a small apple seed. In their early stages of infestation, they hide in and around the seams, piping, and tufts of the mattress.

The presence of bed bugs on the mattress is also noted by the sweet musty smell of coriander or almonds or over-ripe raspberries. This smell comes out in the heavily infested places. Bed bugs sniffing dogs are good at pinpointing hiding places for bed bugs effectively.

Bed bug bites are another indication of an infestation. These bites look like any other bites from other insects, and some people do not react to bed bug bites at all.

Infestation on the mattress must not spread and needs to be detected early. Treating an infestation on the bed is more convenient and far less costly and easier. Low-level infestations are not easy to identify as some insects as carpet beetles are usually mistaken for bed bugs. This misidentification gives bed bugs more time to spread on the mattress.

In the end, you should know that bed bug infestation can be identified by inspecting the following on the mattress

  • Eggshells
  • Blood smears
  • faecal stains
  • Bed bugs casting/ skin sheds
  • Bed bug eggs
  • Nymphs
  • Adult bed bugs

How to find bed bugs on mattress

The mattress is the place that you will most likely find bed bugs because bed bugs hide close to where they feed. Look in any place on the mattress that offers darkness, isolation and protection to the bed bug.

Before you start checking you have to take away all clothing and bedding from the bed.

Wear protective gloves as bed bugs take in blood and this blood may contain the disease. Your fingers are also going to get into the weird places of the mattress and probably smashing the bugs. You do not want the disgusting feel for your hands to catch the smell of bed bugs.

Here is a list of tools that you need to use,

  • A Flashlight
  • Thin Blade SpatulaВ or credit card
  • Magnifying Glass
  • Garbage Bags (for quickly containing infested items)
  • A Vacuum Cleaner That Can Use Filter Bags
  • AВ non pesticide bed bug spray

Now let me explain…

Use the flashlight on the mattress checking for blood stains. Look for bed bugs skins and eggs. The credit card is so thin and can easily run along the mattress seam. Use the credit card under any button, any straps and any tags on the mattress. Also turn the other side of the mattress and check for any signs of bed bugs. Bed bugs may flee when you start inspecting, make sure you pull the bed away from the walls. Use an insecticide aerosol such asВ CB-80В orВ PT 565В to flush the bed bugs out of suspected hiding places. These insecticides kill bed bugs on contact.

How do bed bugs look on your mattress?

Adult bed bugs about the size of an apple seed (5-7 mm or 3/16 – 1/4 inch long), they are long and brown if not fed. They become brown-like, reddish-brown and more elongated if fed. A bug has a beak with three segments; an antenna that has four parts; wings that are not used for flying; and short, golden-colored hairs.

Bed bugs are smelly, “musty-sweetish” odor produced through glands on the lower side of the body.

Young bed bugs are smaller, translucent or whitish-yellow; and if not recently fed, can be nearly invisible to the naked eye because of coloring and size.

How to treat bed bug on mattress

If you find any signs of bed bugs on the mattress, as blood stains make sure you wash all bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing first in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Any high-temperature environment kills bed bugs.

Dry cleaning and washing in hot water for 30 minutes or tumble drying for 30 minutes on high heat kills bed bugs.

Using a stiff brush on the seam of the mattress eliminates bed bugs and remove their eggs. Then vacuum the mattress. Vacuuming is one handy remedy to get rid of bed bugs in your home. A vacuum cleaner is a standard household item. It can suck up bed bugs and their eggs effectively from the mattress. It has to be done thoroughly to make sure that no bed bug escapes and at least once a week. Also, remember to change and dispose of the vacuum bag after you finish vacuuming.

You will have to use some home remedy to get rid of bed bugs. Expose your mattress to any of the following home remedies,

  • Diatomaceous Earth
  • Boric acid
  • Thiamine
  • Wintergreen alcohol
  • Sweet flag
  • Bean leaves
  • Indian lilac leaves
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Thyme
  • Essential Oils
  • Mint Leaves
  • Black Walnut Tea
  • Beauveria bassine
  • Lemongrass
  • Clove
  • Pyrethrum

There is also a range of residual insecticides and dust for spraying of dusting the mattress as,

Dust last longer than aerosols whereas aerosols get into the smallest cracks of the mattress. Temprid SC may be used on the tufts and seams of mattresses.

Does Lysol kill bed bugs?

Lysol has to be sprayed directly on the bed bugs, and for best results, it has to be wet. Just spraying on the mattress may not have any effect.

Where to look for bed bugs on mattress

Bed bugs around the bed can be found near the piping, seams, and tags of the mattress. When checking first look at the edge reinforcement on the bed. Look at the sides of the mattress, following all stitch lines. Pay attention to all the labels, tags and buttons or air screens.

Can bed bugs live on the plastic mattress?

The plastic mattress is a control measure for bed bugs. In fact, it can be used as the cover.В Plastic makes it more difficult for bed bugs to survive thus killing them.

Can steaming help to get rid of bed bugs on the mattress?

70 percent of bed bugs live in the mattress. Bed bugs can be very stubborn in the home thereby requiring more effective and professional methods to get rid of them.

Steam treatment can eliminate bed bugs on mattress. It is a method by which the cleaner produces low vapor, high-temperature steam. The steamer must be dry so that the mattress does not mold. The steam must not allow any bed bugs to escape therefore it mustn’t be too powerful but fast. Otherwise, the bed bugs will scatter to other places.

Steam seams and labels of the mattress and continue to all the surroundings. Because bed bugs are very sensitive to greater heat temperatures than 45 degrees Celsius, instant and fast heat can kill them. The material is heated must be heatproof to avoid explosions.

Does mattress encasements kill bed bugs?

Mattresses can be prevented from bed bug infestation by using the bed bug mattress covers or encasements. These are impenetrable to bed bugs outside the mattress. If the bed bugs get trapped in the mattress, they will not be able to escape and will eventually die.

It’s important to know the cause of bed bugs

Bed bugs hide in the deepest, warmest and inaccessible crevices of the home.

Bed bugs find hiding places in clutter, not dirt thus they can be found anywhere from five-star hotels, in planes, trains and automobiles, and most public places like libraries, schools, and even retail stores.

The best way to get rid of bed bugs

The best way to get rid of bed bugs on the mattress on your own is to prepare the room by removing clutter. You need to get rid of all items that you do not need to use or keep. All items in the room must be treated at the end of the day.

Reduce clutter off the floor so that all areas can be thoroughly treated. Be careful not to transfer bed bugs from room to room by carrying things throughout the house. If the mattress is heavily infested, covered with aВ Bed bug proof mattress cover, or aВ Bed bug mattress encasement.

Regardless if you find a bed bug or not, I am going to recommend using ourВ Bed Bug Bully DetergentВ on all your linens, pillows, bed sheets and mattress. This is a specially formulated natural detergent that kills bed bugs and the eggs. You will want this because in many cases there are eggs in your linens and pillow cases. Your regular detergent or bleach will not kill bed bugs or the eggs. So consider aВ solution to wash your bed bug infested linens.

  1. Reduce Clutter
  2. Launder Infested Garments and Linens
  3. Dismantle Bed Frames
  4. Remove Dresser Drawers
  5. Clean the Area
  6. Caulk and Seal

US EPA

Bed Bugs

How to Find Bed Bugs

If you have a bed bug infestation, it is best to find it early, before the infestation becomes established or spreads. Treating a minor infestation, while an inconvenience, is far less costly and easier than treating the same infestation after it becomes more widespread.

However, low-level infestations are also much more challenging to find and correctly identify. Other insects, such as carpet beetles, can be easily mistaken for bed bugs. If you misidentify a bed bug infestation, it gives the bugs more time to spread to other areas of the house or hitchhike a ride to someone else’s house to start a new infestation. Learn about identifying bed bugs.

Bites on the skin are a poor indicator of a bed bug infestation. Bed bug bites can look like bites from other insects (such as mosquitoes or chiggers), rashes (such as eczema or fungal infections), or even hives. Some people do not react to bed bug bites at all.

Looking for Signs of Bed Bugs

A more accurate way to identify a possible infestation is to look for physical signs of bed bugs. When cleaning, changing bedding, or staying away from home, look for:

  • Rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by bed bugs being crushed.
  • Dark spots (about this size: •), which are bed bug excrement and may bleed on the fabric like a marker would.
  • Eggs and eggshells, which are tiny (about 1mm) and pale yellow skins that nymphs shed as they grow larger.
  • Live bed bugs.

Where Bed Bugs Hide

When not feeding, bed bugs hide in a variety of places. Around the bed, they can be found near the piping, seams and tags of the mattress and box spring, and in cracks on the bed frame and headboard.

If the room is heavily infested, you may find bed bugs:

  • In the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, in the folds of curtains.
  • In drawer joints.
  • In electrical receptacles and appliances.
  • Under loose wall paper and wall hangings.
  • At the junction where the wall and the ceiling meet.
  • Even in the head of a screw.

How To Find Bed Bugs

Need to know how to find bed bugs in your home or hotel room?Let’s walk through the inspection process step-by-step right now. It’s time to find out if you have bedbugs.

Before you can check for bed bugs in your home or hotel, you need to know what bed bugs look like, other signs you have bed bugs and where they hide so you know where to look.

How to Look For Bed Bugs Step-by-Step

If you follow these instructions, step-by-step, you will be just as likely as to find bed bugs (if they are present) as a professional.

Start with the bed.

This is the most likely place you’ll find bed bugs because they like to hide close to where they feed.Here’s how to find bed bugs there:

  1. Carefully pull back the bedding and look for signs that bedbugs have been around like blood spots and fecal stains.
  2. Thoroughly check the mattress, paying particular attention to edges, seams and air-holes. If possible, turn the mattress on its side to inspect the under-side too. Bed bugs are more likely to be closest to the head of the bed, but make sure you take a look at the foot end of the mattress too.
  3. Do the same with the box spring. You may have to cut or remove the gauze “protector” on the underside of the box spring to take a good look inside – but you need to do this (unless it’s not your bed, of course). Box springs are the #1 bed bug hiding place, so spend extra time doing a really thorough inspection here. This is where a flash light and magnifying glass become your greatest allies. Pay special attention to wooden joints, corners, screw holes and staples. The wooden slats make a very attractive place for bedbugs to lay their eggs and the area where the cover is attached to the frame is a favorite hiding spot too.
  4. turn your attention to the head board and bed frame. Remember to really look closely at any grooves in wooden headboards and pay attention to corners and joints. Don’t forget to pull the bed away from the wall and inspect the backside completely too.

Next, try to find bed bugs in any upholstered furniture.

This includes sofas, love seats, recliners, easy chairs, chaise lounges, and ottomans.Here’s how to find bed bugs in these items:

  1. Carefully remove all cushions and pillows and inspect them one by one. Paying attention to seams, tufts and piping. Also examine the zippers closely (this is another common place for bed bugs to hide and lay their eggs).
  2. Look in and around all the seams of the couch or chair itself. Don’t forget to lift up any skirting and check the underside – focus especially on pleats in the fabric and the seam that attaches it to the piece of furniture.
  3. Pull it away from the wall to inspect the back side as well.
  4. If at all possible (with the help of a friend or partner), lay it on its back side to inspect underneath/inside just like you did with the box spring.

Now, turn your attention to the night stands and dresser to see if you find any bed bugs there.

(You can also use the directions below for coffee tables, end tables and desks in other rooms of the house.)

  1. Take everything out and put it in a large garbage bag or plastic tub with a cover to reduce the possibility that they spread if there are bed bugs in those items.
  2. Pull the drawers completely out, one – by one, and thoroughly inspect each one inside and out. Remember to check underneath as well. Like the headboard and frame, pay close attention to the corners, joints, screw heads and any grooves where bedbugs might like to hide or lay their eggs.
  3. Next, check inside, behind and underneath the piece of furniture itself. I think you know what I’m would say here about, corners, joints and crevices. (c’mon, I’m sure you need a chuckle by this point)

If you’ve gotten this far and found nothing.

You’ve checked thetop 92.6% of places where bed bugs are foundin residences with infestations according to a study conducted by the Entomology Department at the University of Kentucky.

You also have all the skills you need to inspect the other places you might find bed bugs. You will find a list of more places to look for bed bugs here.

IMPORTANT NOTE:If at any point you find a live bed bug,STOP.Your inspection is done for now and you need to start working on your bed bug pest control plan.

Don’t jump the gun and grab for a bed bug spray can or fogger!That’ll just make things worse. much worse. Head over to the bed bug pest control section to learn what to do next.

How to Find Bed Bugs When You Travel

Obviously when you’re inspecting for bed bugs in a hotel or friend/relative’s guest room, you have to make some modifications. You really can’t tear the bed apart in a hotel room. And youcertainlydon’t want the folks you’re visiting to come-a-knockin’ asking“everything okay in there?”

Hotel rooms can present some special challengesbecause the bed frame and head board are usually affixed to the floor and wall.

Generally you won’t have access to the the box spring (if there even is one) so your efforts will need to focus on the mattress itself, the head board and anything within about 5 feet of the bed.

Also, don’t forget the luggage rack (never put your stuff there) and make sure to check any upholstered furniture like love seats and chairs.

When you’re staying with folks you know,discretionis the word of the day.You can hit the most common bed bug hiding places without making a ruckus. Focus on the mattress, visible parts of the box spring, and the headboard.

Consider how often/recently the room is likely used.If it’s been closed up since the last time uncle Chuck came through 6 months ago, chances are slim there will be bed bugs present (they would have migrated to where people in the house sleep or lounge). If it’s also used as a reading room, take a look at that big comfy upholstered chair.you get the idea.

Whether you’re on the road or at home, make sure you know how to find bed bugs without helping them spread.

How to Find Bed Bugs without Spreading Them

The last thing you want is for some of these little buggers to hitch a ride on your clothing while you’re looking for them. You’re going to be getting up close and personal with their hideouts, so this is a real possibility. Here are five ways to help you find bed bugs without letting them spread.

You are here:

What’s Next?

Share This!

Get the 10-Minute Bed Bug Crash Course for FREE!

Enter your email address below, and I’ll send you the link to download it for free right away! Want to know more about it first? click here

Check outourFACEBOOKpage!

You can also find the most recent content and news updates on the Bed Bug Answers blog.

Find what you’re looking for fast using one of the search boxes below.

Search this site:

Search the web via Google:

FTC Disclosure:This site contains some advertising and affiliate links. That means if you click and/or buy through those links, the merchant may pay a small commission to support this site– at no extra cost to you.

Thanks!! Your support of this site is really appreciated 🙂 (See more details in the Disclosure Policy )

Shop for Bed Bug Products

Recent Articles

Bed Bugs Pest Control: You Must Plan for Success – Here’s How

To get rid of bed bugs, pest control planning is a must. It’s not a one-shot deal. No worries, making a bed bug pest control action plan is easier than you think! Just follow simple these steps.

Bed Bug Symptoms – 8 Signs of Bed Bugs You Need to Know

The first bed bug symptoms people often notice are bites, but they’re not proof that’s what you have. Learn the tell-tale signs of bed bugs and how to check for them.

Why I Love Bedbugger.com

Let me tell you why I love bedbugger.com so much and how you can get the most out of what it has to offer.

Bed Bug Fogger Alert: Don’t Grab that Can Till You Read This!

A bed bug fogger (bug bomb) seems like a quick-fix for those nasty little suckers, right? WRONG! Here are 3 reasons they don’t work and 5 ways they make things worse and prolong your agony.

FREE!Get the10-MinuteBed Bug Crash Coursee-book.absolutely free.J ust enter your details below and I’ll send the link to your inbox right now.

What Should I Do With My Bed?

One of the biggest misconceptions about bed bugs is that infestations are limited to the bed. For this reason, many people throw their bed(s) away believing that this will solve their problem. Unfortunately, discarding the mattress and the box spring rarely solves the problem and new beds that are purchased and brought into the home often become infested by bugs that were still present in the structure. This can obviously become very expensive and raises the following question: Just how many beds can you afford to throw away if your new beds keep getting infested? There are a number of factors that you should consider when deciding how to deal with infested beds. Each of the options is discussed below:

Discarding Beds
You should not discard your bed because you feel you have to. However, there are benefits to getting rid of infested bedding if you decide that you want to. While it is true that in most situations bugs will be located in areas away from the bed, the majority of bugs will in fact be associated with the mattress and box spring. As a result, discarding the bed is a very effective way of immediately eliminating a large percentage of the bed bug population. It may make even more sense to discard the bed if the bed is severely infested, it is old and in need of replacement or you emotionally can’t deal with leaving the infested bed in the home.

If you choose to throw infested beds away it is important to be careful how you go about getting rid of the bed so that you don’t create an even bigger problem. First think about what is going to happen to the infested mattress after you discard it. Is it going to be sitting out on the curbside or by a dumpster? How long will it be sitting outside before it is collected and will some unsuspecting person pick it up before the collection truck arrives? It is important to take measures to prevent your bed bug infestation from becoming someone else’s infestation. Steps that can be taken include coordinating the discarding of the bed with the trash collection schedule to minimize the time it is left outside. Once outside of the home the bed can be spray painted or marked indicating that it is infested. Regardless of how you choose to deal with the bed think about the problems that the bed could create for someone else and try to take some type of action to prevent it.

It is also extremely important to consider how you are going to get the bed out of the structure so that bugs and eggs are not dispersed during the removal process. Just imagine dragging the bed across the floor and down the stairs or carrying the bed and having it bang into a wall by accident. One option is to remove as many of the visible bugs and eggs with a canister vacuum or shop vacuum. The problem with this is that you run the risk of infesting the vacuum (see Remove Bugs). Even if you do try to remove the bugs with a vacuum, chances are, you will not get all of the bugs and may still disperse them as you carry it out. It is a good idea to contain the bugs by thoroughly wrapping the bed in shrink wrap or plastic before removing it from the structure. Even after it is wrapped the infested items should be handled carefully to avoid unnecessary bumps or jolts while carrying it out of the structure.

Very Severe Bed Bug InfestationDiscarded mattress outside of bed bug infested homeDon’t leave discarded beds inside of hallways or structures

Now you need to protect the new bed from becoming infested once you bring it into the home. This is the easiest step, as new mattresses and box springs can be encased in mattress and box spring encasements immediately after they have been delivered. Protect-A-Bed BugLock® encasements are the highest quality product that we have examined to date and are a critical component of every bed bug job performed by Cooper Pest Solutions. By using Protect-A-Bed BugLock® encasements, newly purchased mattresses and box springs will be protected from re-infestation as long as the encasements have not been compromised (ripped or torn). As bed bugs that are still in the structure migrate to the bed in search of a blood meal their movement will be restricted to the exterior of the encasement where they can be easily detected and eliminated.

Treatment of Beds with Pesticides
Never treat a bed with pesticides unless you are using a product that has been specifically designed and intended for such use. It is equally important that you follow all pesticide label directions carefully and that you never use a product in a manner that is inconsistent with the label directions. Very few pesticides are allowed to be used to treat beds due to the obvious concerns associated with pesticide exposure. However, there are some EPA registered pesticide products that do have label directions permitting various types of treatments to mattresses and box springs. However, just because you can treat beds with certain products doesn’t mean that it is a good idea to do so.

We do not recommend treating infested beds for the following reasons. First, most pesticides work well on contact but not nearly as well as a dry residual. This means that bugs you spray directly will typically die, but many of the bugs that encounter the treated surfaces after the chemical has dried are likely to survive. The question must be asked; why spray bugs that you can see when a vacuum cleaner or steam can accomplish the same thing. In addition, because many chemicals are not very effective when dry, repeated applications will need to be made to deal with the new bugs as they arrive at the bed from surrounding areas. Thus it is our opinion that the repeated use of pesticides on sleeping surfaces results in an unnecessary level of pesticide exposure that could have been avoided through the use of effective non-chemical measures.

Treatment of a Mattress

Mechanical Removal or Destruction
Non chemical measures such as the use of vacuums or direct treatment with steam can be used very effectively to remove or destroy visible bugs and eggs that are associated with mattresses and box springs. It is very important to note that these methods are very effective for removing the majority of bugs however it is unlikely that 100% of the bugs and/or eggs will be removed. Following the physical removal of most of the bugs it is strongly recommended that mattresses and box springs be encased. The use of an appropriate encasement (Protect-A-Bed BugLock® encasement) will trap any remaining bugs inside the encasement where they will eventually starve and die.

Eliminating bed bugs with a vacuum cleaner can be a very effective method but be cautioned that vacuums can readily become infested by bed bugs (precautionary measures are discussed below). Lightweight, portable, battery charged vacuums are not likely to have the suction power needed and are not recommended. Instead standard electrically powered vacuums should be used, but avoid using upright vacuums that are intended for use on floors or carpeted areas. Instead use a canister type vacuum or other vacuum that is equipped with a hose (crevice tool attachments can also be useful). Avoid the use of attachments that have brushes or bristles that bugs and eggs can easily cling to.

Vacuuming Bed Bugs from a Mattress SeamVacuuming Bed Bugs from a Box Spring Dust Cover

Perhaps the biggest drawback of using a vacuum is the risk of the vacuum becoming infested. If you choose to use a vacuum to remove bed bugs, it is ideal to use a different vacuum than the one that is used in the routine cleaning of the structure. After each use the vacuum can be stored and sealed tightly in a heavy contractor grade plastic bag (>3ml) or stored in an air tight storage container. Vacuum bags should be discarded immediately by placing the vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag and then discarding it into an outdoor trash receptacles (double or triple bagging the vacuum bag prior to disposal is a good idea). As mentioned above, having a separate vacuum that has been “dedicated” solely for removing bed bugs and is carefully stored in a sealed container after each use will help reduce the likelihood that the vacuum will create additional problems in the dispersal of bed bugs. It is also recommended that you advise you pest management professional where your vacuum is stored so they can pay special attention to that area during their services.

The effective removal of bugs/eggs using a vacuum requires that the nozzle or tip of the hose is very close or in direct contact with the bugs or eggs. Bed bugs have small claws at the tips of the feet that enable them to cling tightly to surfaces enabling them to resist the suction of a vacuum to some degree. Eggs are attached to surfaces with a cement-like material that can make them difficult to remove. For this reason, when vacuuming, it is important to use a back and forth scraping motion directly on the surface where bugs and eggs are present in order to remove as many bugs/eggs as possible. It is important to realize that no matter how thorough you are with the vacuuming effort it is unlikely that you will remove 100% of the bugs and eggs. Some will not be pulled out of cracks or crevices associated with the inside of the box spring; others may be too small and go unnoticed. The point is you cannot assume the bed is free of bugs after vacuuming. Encasing beds after most of the bugs have been removed is becoming a very common practice.

Steam is another highly effective method for destroying bed bugs. Twenty minutes of exposure to temperatures in excess of 120oF is lethal to all stages of bed bugs, including the eggs. Direct exposure of bed bugs to steam can kill all stages of bed bugs in seconds. Like most things in life, this sounds simple and in many ways it is, but if not used correctly steam will not kill the insects and may do little more than give them a warm bath. It is important to remember that when working with high temperatures it is very easy to suffer burns. As a result if you are using steam you should read all follow manufacturer directions and safety advice.

There are many inexpensive steamers available in retail stores. We have not worked with any of the consumer grade steamers and thus cannot comment on the effectiveness of these products. It is possible that some of the less expensive steamers may work just fine however there are a number of reasons to caution against using these products:

  • The steam may not be hot enough to reach lethal temperatures when only contacting the insects for a second or two.
  • The pressure may not be great enough to maintain the output needed
  • The steam that is produced is very wet and may soak the surfaces being steamed

Commercial grade steamers are much more expensive (often $500 or more) but are worth the cost. We have worked with commercial steamers manufactured by Amerivap (http://www.amerivap.com) and by Hi-Tech Cleaning Systems (http://www.hitechcleaningsystems.com) and have found both to be highly effective for use in destroying bugs and eggs on contact. Advantages to these steaming units are that they can produce very high temperatures (> 190oF) which will kill all stages within just a second or two of direct exposure. The steam produced is considered a dry steam meaning that the total water content in the steam is less resulting in less moisture on surfaces contacted.

While steam can be a very effective method, it is one that may best be left to professional pest management professional as there are many details that go into the effective and efficient use of this method. Additionally, if steam is used on the mattress or box spring, encasements should only be utilized after the bed has been allowed to completely air dry to prevent the onset of mold from moisture trapped within the encasement.

Steaming a Box Spring

Encasement of Mattress and Box Spring
There are many encasements available in the marketplace, but few are effective against bed bugs. The encasement that we believe is the most effective is the BugLock® encasement, manufactured by Protect-A-Bed of Chicago. The encasements can be used to salvage beds that are infested with bed bugs. Once the encasements have been installed any bugs or eggs that are still associated with the mattresses and box springs will be trapped inside the encasement and will eventually die.

There are several recommendations when using mattress and box spring encasements:

Bedbugs

In this Article

In this Article

In this Article

Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color.

Bedbugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Female bedbugs may lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime.

Immature bedbugs, called nymphs, shed their skins five times before reaching maturity and require a meal of blood before each shedding. Under favorable conditions the bugs can develop fully in as little as a month and produce three or more generations per year.

Although they are a nuisance, they are not thought to transmit diseases.

Where Bed Bugs Hide

Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. 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 people to bite in the night.

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.

Because bedbugs live solely on blood, having them in your home is not a sign of dirtiness. You are as likely to find them in immaculate homes and hotel rooms as in filthy ones.

When Bedbugs Bite

Bedbugs are active mainly at night and usually bite people while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin and withdrawing blood through an elongated beak. The bugs feed from three to 10 minutes to become engorged and then crawl away unnoticed.

Most bedbug bites are painless at first, but later turn into itchy welts. Unlike flea bites that are mainly around the ankles, bedbug bites are on any area of skin exposed while sleeping. Also, the bites do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites do.

People who don’t realize they have a bedbug infestation may attribute the itching and welts to other causes, such as mosquitoes. To confirm bedbug bites, you must find and identify the bugs themselves.

Continued

Signs of Infestation

If you wake up with itchy areas you didn’t have when you went to sleep, you may have bedbugs, particularly if you got a used bed or other used furniture around the time the bites started. Other signs that you have bedbugs include:

  • Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases
  • Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls
  • Bedbug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where bedbugs hide
  • An offensive, musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands

If you suspect an infestation, remove all bedding and check it carefully for signs of the bugs or their excrement. Remove the dust cover over the bottom of the box springs and examine the seams in the wood framing. Peel back the fabric where it is stapled to the wood frame.

Also, check the area around the bed, including inside books, telephones or radios, the edge of the carpet, and even in electrical outlets. Check your closet, because bedbugs can attach to clothing. If you are uncertain about signs of bedbugs, call an exterminator, who will know what to look for.

If you find signs of infestation, begin steps to get rid of the bugs and prevent their return.

Bedbug Treatments

Getting rid of bedbugs begins with cleaning up the places where bedbugs live. This should include the following:

  • Clean bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Place stuffed animals, shoes, and other items that can’t be washed in the dryer and run on high for 30 minutes.
  • Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams to remove bedbugs and their eggs before vacuuming.
  • Vacuum your bed and surrounding area frequently. After vacuuming, immediately place the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and place in garbage can outdoors.
  • Encase mattress and box springs with a tightly woven, zippered cover to keep bedbugs from entering or escaping. Bedbugs may live up to a year without feeding, so keep the cover on your mattress for at least a year to make sure all bugs in the mattress are dead.
  • Repair cracks in plaster and glue down peeling wallpaper to get rid of places bedbugs can hide.
  • Get rid of clutter around the bed.

If your mattress is infested, you may want to get rid of it and get a new one, but take care to rid the rest of your home of bedbugs or they will infest your new mattress.

Continued

Bedbug Extermination

While cleaning up infested areas will be helpful in controlling bedbugs, getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments. Because treating your bed and bedroom with insecticides can be harmful, it is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms. Do not treat mattresses and bedding unless the label specifically says you can use them on bedding.

Generally it is safest and most effective to hire an experienced pest control professional for bedbug extermination.

Sources

University of Kentucky College of Agriculture: "Bed Bugs."

Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: "Bed Bugs."

The New York City Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene: "Stop Bed Bugs Safely."

University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Lancaster County: "Managing Bed Bugs."

Add Comments: