Mosquitoes flying around

Infested Toys: How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Stuffed Animals

February 07, 2023

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

Bed bugs can nest inside a surprising number of spots inside your home. Although these creatures are known for infesting beds and hiding inside mattresses, they also hide in electrical outlets, clothing, furniture, and plush toys. Learn how to spot and get rid of bed bugs in stuffed animals before they become part of a bed bug infestation.

What are bed bugs? 

Bed bugs are tiny insects that are around the size of a pinhead or an apple seed. Their bodies are flat, brown, and oval-shaped if they haven’t eaten recently, or rounded and reddish-brown if they’re freshly fed. 

Cimex lectularius, the common bed bug, feeds on human blood, usually at night as we sleep.

bed bug on a person's skin

How do bed bugs get inside your home?

Bed bugs are skilled travelers. They hitch rides on people’s clothing, luggage, second-hand furniture, and other upholstered or cloth items in places where humans spend time with one another. 

Bed bugs’ small size makes them difficult to identify, and it’s often hard to trace exactly how they get inside your home.

What is known is that bed bugs gain entry to your home from other infested areas. If you travel and bring home a piece of luggage or a backpack that bed bugs have hidden in, you could eventually be dealing with an infestation. 

Do bed bugs bite?

Bed bugs bite humans to feed on their blood, which they need to survive. These parasites bite in a zigzag pattern and will leave up to five bites at a time. The bites cause little red, itchy welts to rise on the skin that can be mistaken for mosquito, flea, or spider bites. 

It’s rare for bed bugs to transmit diseases to humans, but their bites can cause mild allergic reactions in some people.

Can bed bugs live on stuffed animals? 

Bed bugs can certainly live on stuffed animals. Bed bugs prefer areas like mattresses and headboards, but given the opportunity, they’ll also infest stuffed animals that your child plays or cuddles with at night. 

Why do bed bugs live on stuffed animals?

Bed bugs target these items because humans hold stuffed animals close to their bodies, giving the insects plenty of opportunities to feed.

Can bed bugs live in teddy bears, too?

Because stuffed teddy bears are usually a favorite plush toy for many children, bed bugs may choose to live on them. Teddy bears are often cradled near the host they’re looking to feed on, so these critters can adapt to living in stuffed animals instead of beds and mattresses.

Can bed bugs live on plastic toys?

In addition to bed bugs on stuffed animals, these critters can live on plastic toys. The insects insert themselves in tiny cracks and gaps where they live and can emerge to bite your child who either takes the toy to bed or has it by their side while playing. 

How to tell if you have a bed bug infestation

If your home has a large infestation, you will see the bed bugs themselves as they crawl on bed linens and in other areas. More subtle signs of bed bugs include:

  • Small specks of blood or dark excrement on bedding and furniture.
  • Dead bed bug outer shells on mattresses and cushions.
  • Very tiny, white oval eggs in crevices and cracks.
  • Waking up with bites on your body.

bed bug bites on a sleeping baby's cheek

How to get rid of bed bugs in stuffed animals 

Machine wash and dry all stuffed animals and bedding from the infested area. Place infested stuffed animals in the dryer on 113˚F for at least 15 minutes to kill the bed bugs. The heat from the dryer will kill any living insects hiding in the nooks and crannies of stuffed animals. 

After removing the stuffed toys from the dryer, store them in a clean plastic bag or container until a pest control company has professionally treated your home. A new infestation can take hold if the toys are returned too soon.

Getting rid of bed bugs living on plastic toys

Cleaning plastic toys to rid them of bed bugs requires wiping the item on all its surfaces with a warm damp cloth, getting into every crevice, and rinsing the rag often as you proceed. If the plastic toy is too complicated to clean in this way, place it inside a plastic bag, then store it inside your freezer for four days.

Premium pest control services 

A bed bug infestation can cause anxiety and loss of sleep, not to mention itchy bites on you or your child’s body. If you’re concerned about a bed bug infestation, contact Hawx Pest Control to protect you now and in the future.

Our friendly team of skilled professionals have you covered when it comes to securing your home against bed bugs. Our exceptional service plans include a thorough inspection and vacuuming of all visible bed bugs, followed by the latest treatments to address infestations.

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