Mosquitoes flying around

Little Red Bites? How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Mattress

February 05, 2023

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

When they’re not biting humans or animals for the blood they need to survive, bed bugs hide during the day in the small cracks and crevices in and around beds and mattresses. Learn how to get rid of bed bugs in mattresses, the signs of a bed bug infestation, and when it’s time to call the pros. 

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are tiny brown parasitic insects that are oval-shaped. They survive by feeding on the blood of people or other mammals, although they prefer to use humans as their hosts. These nocturnal insects typically bite at night when they’re most active.

Although bed bugs aren’t disease-spreading insects, their bites can cause tiny red marks, and in some cases, allergic reactions or skin irritations. After being bitten by bed bugs, the resulting marks can be itchy and inflamed; in allergic persons, blisters or hives can develop. It’s also admittedly psychologically disturbing to realize there are bed bugs in your mattress, which can result in anxiety and insomnia until you can treat the mattress for bed bugs. 

bed bug infestation on a mattress

How do you check a mattress for bed bugs?

The size and nocturnal nature of bed bugs make them difficult to spot, but there are ways to check a mattress for these critters. Wear gloves and check on the mattress top and all four sides. Look carefully in the crevices, seams, and folds of the mattress for bed bugs or physical signs of them. 

Signs of bed bugs can include:

  • live bed bugs
  • small dried blood marks
  • excrement stains
  • pale white bed bugs eggs
  • yellow skins shed by nymphs

Take off a mattress protector if there is one. Turn the mattress over so you can check the bottom. With the mattress lifted, inspect the bed frame and headboard for insects.

Using a flashlight is a good idea because a bed bug is only about the size of an apple seed, usually ¼ of an inch in length or less. Younger, nymph bed bugs are smaller, translucent, and nearly invisible to the naked eye. Bed bug eggs on a mattress are very tiny, about the size of a pinhead, pearly white, and have a small dark eye spot after five days of life.

Where do bed bugs hide in mattresses?

These parasites may be hiding just beneath the seams, within folds and crevices, on the mattress label, and a zipper if the mattress has a cover over it. They’ll also hide between pillows, cushions, and comforters placed on the mattress.

Can you feel bed bugs in your mattress?

Chances are you’ll never feel bed bugs in your mattress, even as they bite. They feed on humans while you’re asleep or lying still. Their saliva has an anesethic quality that makes their bite unnoticeable, so you don’t realize you’ve been bitten until the next day or later when welts appear on the skin.

Can you save a mattress that has bed bugs?

You likely won’t have to buy a new mattress if you receive appropriate professional bed bug treatment for an infestation. You can keep your mattress and other items treated for bed bugs with proper pest control treatment services.

close up of bed bugs on fabric

Will getting a new mattress get rid of bed bugs?

Simply throwing away a bed bug-infested mattress and buying a new one will not necessarily solve the problem. The insects likely may have already spread elsewhere in the home, and may live in upholstered furniture, carpet, and other rooms. Because of this, the probability of your new mattress becoming infested again remains high.

How to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress

The best way to get bed bugs out of a mattress is with the help of a professional pest company. Washing your sheets and vacuuming the mattress and around the bed is helpful, but won’t step an infestation. If using the vacuum, be sure to empty the vacuum container and place the contents in sealable plastic bags before disposing of them in outdoor garbage pails. 

This method will kill bed bugs in a mattress that are visible at that time, but unfortunately, many more bed bugs are probably hiding elsewhere. It’s best to call in the professionals.  

Bed bug pest control services

At Hawx Pest Control, we take bed bug infestations seriously. Our professionals thoroughly inspect your premises to see if you have an infestation and treat your home using professional tools and expertise. Call us today for your free estimate.

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