How to identify bed bugs on your mattress? Signs, DIY, and professional advice.

You have probably heard this saying in your childhood, as your parents tuck you in, right before they turned off the light. The thing is, bed bugs are not just invisible mythological creatures that your mum and dad used to scare you with. Contrary to popular belief, they are quite noticeable, and these insects pack a menacing bite.

Here we will cover the visual characteristics of bed bugs, how to check your boudoir for their presence and most importantly - techniques on how to wipe them off the face of the earth; well, your mattress.

What do bed bugs look like on a mattress?

The bed bug is a bit of a bloodsucker, which makes it a member of the parasite clan. To keep the Dracula theme rolling; the creepy-crawly pest is also nocturnal, and its diet plan consists mainly of mammal blood. Bed bugs genuinely drink blood, as if they were vampires! These insects have a beak-like mouth, which is used to pierce flesh and extract the blood. Bed bugs tend to pounce while its prey are asleep.

Here is a list of these pesky parasites physical features, and believe us, these bugs aren’t as good-looking as most fictional vampires:

 

  • Bed bugs are flat and oval when unfed. They look exactly the opposite when full - plump.
  • Sizewise, the insect is rather miniature, up to 5 mm to be precise. To get an idea of how big this is, a medium-size rice grain is about 6 mm long.
  • Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown. You could even say that they are “rusty” looking. Baby bed bugs are transparent but can appear red when fed.bed bug on plain background

 

How to check your mattress for bed bugs?

If you have any speculations that your home shelters bed bugs, you better find out for sure as quickly as possible, for bed bugs might decide to visit your neighbours as well. Also, it is easier and less expensive to treat a few families of bed bugs than a full on colony invasion. It’s difficult to spot the actual pest because it dwells during the night and like we mentioned above - they are relatively small.

However, you can look for the specific signs of bed bugs presence on your mattress:

  • Blood spots - Bed bugs are messy eaters. When they puncture their food source, some of the blood normally ends up on the bed sheets.
  • Dark-brown stains - This one is cringe-worthy. If you detect any dark spots on your sheets, there is a good chance that you are looking at some bed bug poop.
  • Left-behind eggs and eggshells - If you find some hollow rice-looking flakey residue around 1 mm in size, then congratulations! Not only do you have bed bugs, but they also made some babies and the crunchy things you’ve just come across are the abandoned eggshells.
  • Bed bugs on the move - Of course, a pretty sound indication of an infestation is spotting a few adult bugs between your bedsheets.
  • Bite marks and micro blood stains - Bed bug bites leave small and itchy red bumps that can leave a tiny drop of blood on your bed linen. You would find such bites on parts of your body that are exposed at night.

Where else could bed bugs lurk?

Controversial to their name, bed bugs don’t only linger between your sheets. They also tend to inhabit areas like sofas, chairs and curtains; essentially anywhere cosy, such as plush toys, furniture joints, and even some electrical appliances. Any crack can host these utter creatures, even behind the wallpaper.

So next time you go bug hunting, remember to check even the most obscure areas of your home.

old leather sofa on white background

How do you get rid of bed bugs from your mattress?

Bed bugs are hard to kill as they can survive extreme conditions. Even if you give all you have to turn their life into a living nightmare, there is still a big chance your DIY pest control efforts will fail.

To free your mattress from the crawling horrors once and for all, you can resort to the following methods:

Here’s how to get rid of bed bugs with heat

  • Use heat boxes for infested shoes, clothes and blankets

Heat boxes can be a solution if the bloodsuckers are found lurking in your shoes, clothing, bedding, blankets or luggage. Fill the chamber with the infested items, of course, if the items are not heat sensitive. The heat distributed in the box is at 117-122°F. It penetrates every nook and cranny of the items within thus killing all insects. The downside here is your pair of favourite trainers could ignite or become distorted due to the extremely high temperature. The system is also expensive and can be dangerous if not used correctly or left unattended.

  • Rent a professional steam cleaner meant for bed bugs on mattresses and furniture.

We are not talking about the old steam cleaner you might have laying in the closet. To get rid of bed bugs you need a professional unit. Don’t worry. You won’t have to burn a hole in your wallet to buy one as you can rent one! Steam cleaners are perfect for cleaning mattresses and furniture. They can kill bed bugs no matter the stage of development, and are also eco-friendly. The downside of using the DIY steam method is the extermination procedure can eat a big chunk of your time. Also, steam cleaners may not be compatible with some specific water-sensitive fabrics and materials

  • Hire a technician to conduct a professional room-wide heat treatment.

If you have ever dealt with bed bugs (or are still dealing), you have most probably heard of the above-mentioned almighty heat treatment. Expert exterminators come with a high-end electric or diesel-fueled heater that raises the temperature in each room and thus kills all bed bugs regardless of the stage. Professionals companies like Fantastic Pest Control offer heat treatments with a 100% success rate that doesn’t require any chemicals.

Although getting rid of bed bugs is far from impossible, if the bed infestation has spread beyond the scope of a professional heat treatment, we highly advise you to get rid of the old piece and buy a new mattress. Revival Beds offer a wide range of luxury mattresses to suit all tastes and styles.

Choose any of the Natural Pearl Mattresses, Memory Foam Mattresses, or a mattress from our Henry Smeaton range -  all excellent options. We even offer Coolux Latex Mattresses, that until now, we have to seen to be a bed bug proof mattress.

However, making sure that you’ve fully eliminated the infestation for bed bugs can be a nightmare, and the last thing you want is your new mattress getting infested from a previous bout of bed bugs. Depending on how severe the infestation is, you might have to consider some new bedroom furniture.

Does vacuuming get rid of bed bugs?

vacuum cleaner on white background

In case you wondered, “Can’t I just vacuum the bed bugs?” Here’s the thing. Sure, you can just vacuum up bed bugs. However, if you simply vacuum the creepy-crawlies, you will capture them, but won’t kill them.

By vacuuming bed bugs you will only prevent the further growth and expansion of the infestation. Getting rid of bed bugs will require a proper method of extermination.

Killing bed bugs with silica gel

Using silica gel to kill bed bugs is a bit on the gory side, due to the way it affects the pest. It works by removing the oils out of the insect's body, destroying the shell’s protective qualities. Once the bug gets “injured”, dehydration sets in place and the pest dies. The method is highly effective, even after one single treatment, and it is fairly cheap. However, applying the gel is time-consuming and messy. The silica gel can also cause negative effects on your skin, irritate your eyes and impact your respiratory system.

Should you get rid of a bed bug infested mattress?

Getting rid of the infested items is one way to end your war against bed bugs. That is of course if your budget can handle the purchase of a new bed, sheets, carpet and other furniture. Even if money is not an issue, you still have to dispose of the infested items properly, or you risk a nasty argument with your neighbours about their new and unwanted house guests.

A good option is to relocate the furniture to your local refuse centre - Find your local refuse centre and recycling collection here. Before you dispose of your infested bed, mattress or furniture, make sure to wrap every single item in plastic and put a warning sticker on it. If you decide to drive the items yourself to the disposal area, thoroughly wash your car after you’ve dumped them.

Burning the items is also an option. However, it highly depends on your living area. First, check with the local authorities to avoid getting yourself into trouble over some bugs.

What is the best way to get rid of bed bugs?

Fighting bed bugs is a time-consuming and unpleasurable challenge. As you can see, it can be costly and simply disgusting. If you are unlucky enough to have a bed bug infestation, the easiest option is to save yourself the hassle and contact a professional pest control agency. The experts will end your troubles quickly and efficiently, allowing you to relax safe in the knowledge that those mini vampires are gone for good.