A very common misconception with bed bugs, mainly due to their name, is that they are found only on or in your bed. The reality is that the majority of bed bugs in your home, are NOT in or on your mattress. Bed Bugs are generally hiding in other areas of your home. If you do see bed bugs on your mattress, it's often a sign of a pretty serious infestation.
Bed Bugs On Your Mattress
Bed Bugs generally feed on you at night, while you're sleeping. During the day they hide, spending their time digesting the blood they've eaten and reproducing.
You generally won't see actual bed bugs on your mattress, although it certainly is possible. More than likely, you'll notice signs of bed bugs instead. These can include:
- Shed skins
- Bed Bug Feces - Feces is dry and black, and smears when touched
- Odor - bed bugs give off a very distinct, and pungent odor
- Bed Bug Bites - The single most obvious sign that you have bed bugs are bites on you or your family's body.
If you do see bed bugs crawling around on your mattress, that is generally a sign that you have a pretty serious bed bug infestation.
Whether you see actual bed bugs themselves, or signs of bed bugs on your mattress, you'll want to take immediate steps to get rid of the bed bugs. The longer you wait, the worse your infestation will become.
1 - Call a Professional
The single most important step you can take if you have bed bugs on your mattress or in your home is to call a bed bug professional. Bed Bug Professionals have the experience, time, and equipment to properly find, treat, and kill bed bugs in your home.
While a bed bug professional is the best way to kill bed bugs, they are also, unfortunately, the most expensive option as well. Using a professional is often outside the budget of many homeowners, and as a result isn't an option.
Fortunately, there are many other treatment options you can do yourself, that are very effective.
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2 - Install a Mattress Cover and Box Spring Cover
The very first step you'll want to take if you have bed bugs on your mattress or in your home is to encase BOTH your mattress and your box spring. If you have a box spring, it is generally one of the top hiding places for bed bugs.
Mattresses without holes and rips are difficult for bed bugs to get into, and as a result aren't where bed bugs tend to hide. A Box Spring is a different story and is easily accessible to bed bugs.
Encasing both your mattress and box spring will immediately protect you from bed bug bites, and start the process of killing a large percentage of bed bugs in your room and home.
Mattress and Box Spring Encasements also make seeing and detecting bed bugs much easier, as they are white, and have a smoother surface.
Be sure to use Bed Bug approved encasements, otherwise, the bed bugs will just escape through the zipper or material.
3 - Begin Treatment for Bed Bugs
With your box spring and mattress cover installed, you can now begin to look at the different bed bug treatment options. We recommend using a strategy that utilizes multiple treatment options. Here are some common and highly effective treatment options you can implement yourself:
- Bed Bug Vacuums
- Diatomaceous Earth
- Bed Bug Sprays
These are all proven strategies that actually work. Be aware, that there are a number of treatment methods that do not work, including using essential oils.
One of the most successful treatment combinations is Vacuuming, Steam, and Diatomaceous Earth.
Whatever treatment options you elect to use, you'll want to continue treatment, until you see no signs of bed bugs for at least 30 days. Multiple treatments are almost always required, so be prepared.
4 - Ongoing Prevention and Monitoring
After treatment, monitoring is critical to know when you can stop treating bed bugs. To monitor for bed bugs in your home, do the following:
- Perform frequent bed bug inspections
- Monitor yourself and your family for new bed bug bites
- Install Bed Bug Traps under all furniture.
Once your bed bug infestation is resolved, unfortunately, your chances for getting a new infestation are high. To minimize your risk, put some bed bug prevention measures in place, and continue to actively monitor for bed bugs in your home.
Seeing bed bugs on your mattress is a sure sign that you have bed bugs, but actually seeing them is not common. Bed Bugs are excellent at hiding, and you'll often see signs of bed bugs, rather than the actual bed bugs themselves.
If you have any signs of bed bugs, it's incredibly important to take immediate action using the 4 steps outlined above. The longer you wait to treat your bed bug problem, the worse it will get, and the more difficult it will be to get rid of them.