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How To Check If You Have Bed Bugs

April 30, 2023  ·  8 min read

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Knowing how to check if you have bed bugs, especially after traveling, can save your mattress and your home from horrible infestations. As summer vacation is nearing closer and closer, the desire to travel to beautiful destinations grows even stronger, and hotel bookings skyrocket. But upon returning, your dream vacation suddenly turns into a nightmare when you realize that you’ve brought home more than just your souvenirs. 

Bed bugs are, no exaggeration, the worst. As mattress experts, nothing gives us the creepy crawlies more than the idea of sleeping on thousands of tiny insects. Yuck! In order to avoid this ever happening to you, we will be discussing how you can get bed bugs, how to check if you have bed bugs, and how to get rid of bed bugs if you do end up with an infestation. We’ll warn you, though, it’s not pretty or cheap.

Why are bed bugs bad for your home?

Bed bugs are brown, tiny, oval-shaped insects that feed on the blood of mammals, similar to mosquitos. Unfortunately, bed bugs love to live in warm environments that give them easy access to their food source, making your cozy mattress their perfect home. 

Although bed bugs do not carry any harmful diseases and are not considered dangerous insects, their bites can result in irritating skin infections or allergic reactions. Not to mention, having bed bugs in your home can come with mental health consequences including increased symptoms of anxiety and, more notably, insomnia. If you’re losing sleep over the fear of these little critters, you won’t be able to live your daily life properly.

Needless to say, bed bugs are a serious problem that should not be overlooked. Knowing how to prevent an infestation in your home is crucial information. 

How do you get bed bugs?

The most common way bed bugs get into your home is through an accidental transferral — meaning you unintentionally brought them home with you from a place that was currently infested.

Let’s say that you go on vacation, stay in a luxury resort, and sleep on a hotel mattress — unbeknownst to you, that hotel mattress is infested with bed bugs. While you’re lounging by the pool, these little insects are making their way into your luggage, just waiting to be brought home with you. It’s that simple and, unfortunately, the most common source of an infestation. 

Because they love hiding in upholstered surfaces such as furniture, bags, luggage, and most notably, mattresses, it is crucial to be aware of your surroundings and ensure that any new residential space that you enter is clean and bug-free.

From the Expert: It’s important to note that having bed bugs is not a sign of poor hygiene. These little bugs will reside in even the most immaculate of homes, meaning that anyone can get bed bugs. An infestation is not a reflection of your personal cleanliness.

How to check if you have bed bugs

Here are some warning signs that you may have, or have been exposed to, bed bugs.

  • Small, itchy bites on your skin: Bed bug bites will often be clustered together or form a linear or circular pattern on exposed areas such as your arms and shoulders.
  • Dark spots on your sheets or mattress: These tiny flecks of dark spots could either be droppings (the size of a period) or blood stains leftover from their feeding.
  • Shed bug skin: Bed bugs often shed their skin and leave it behind. The skin will resemble the bug itself, making it a clear indication of an infestation.
  • Actual live bugs: Can you see bed bugs with the naked eye? Yes, despite the small size of these bugs, you can easily spot them without the help of a magnifying glass (though it might make the process easier!)

Here are some tips for how to properly check your mattress for signs of bed bugs:

  • Step 1: Put on disposable latex or rubber cleaning gloves to protect your hands and wear full-coverage clothing to protect your skin.
  • Step 2: Pull your bed away from the wall to expose any bugs that may be hiding between your mattress and the wall. This will also give you more room to do a thorough inspection.
  • Step 3: Check every crevice of your mattress. Bed bugs like to hide in the seams, near the tags, in and around the box spring, and even in cracks in your bed frame! Inspect every area in and around the mattress. A flashlight may make it simpler to spot them. 

Do note that finding one single bed bug is not a sign of an infestation. If you happen to only locate one bug during your search, kill it and wait a few days to see if more appear. If they do, call an exterminator, and if not, simply use our tips for how to clean a mattress at home. Although, it is always nice to get an inspection done to put your mind at ease.

How to get rid of bed bugs

So, you found bed bugs in your mattress. Now what? 

  • First, carefully remove any bedding that seems to be bug-free and wash them in hot water. 
  • Second, turn up the heat — literally. Bed bugs cannot survive in hot temperatures. Now, we understand that turning your thermostat to 113° in the Texas heat is just not an option, so if you are willing to buy a special heater or even use a hair dryer to complete this task, you may be able to kill some of the bugs. 
  • Third, deep clean your entire home. We know, but you really need to, because bed bugs get in everywhere. 

PSA: DO NOT, under any circumstances, throw away a mattress that has been infested with bed bugs.This will only increase the likelihood that others will bring bed bugs into their own home. Because people often do this instead of dealing with the problem properly, we heavily warn against buying or interacting with a used mattress.

Unfortunately, if you want to ensure that your home is bed-bug free, it’s best to call a professional extermination company to do a thorough inspection and home treatment. This can be costly, but it is your bet for beating the bed bugs. The best thing that you can do in this scenario is to let the professionals do their job and look into ways to protect your mattress, and in turn, your home with a mattress protector.

What to do if your hotel mattress has bed bugs

How do I know if my hotel bed is clean? Use all of the same steps for how to check if you have bed bugs above. Keep in mind that the mattresses hotels use don’t often have mattress protectors on them, so you can’t ever be certain that they are 100% clean. To be safe, place your bag or luggage on a suitcase stand rather than on the bed or floor and keep them closed when not in use. This will decrease the risk of bed bugs getting into your bags.

If you are staying in a hotel and happen to notice bed bugs, alert the front desk and ask to be moved into a different room. When you return home, immediately wash all of your packed belongings — and we mean everything (bag included) — in hot water.

How to Protect Your Mattress

Protect Your Mattress to Extend Its Life

Protect Your Home and Your Mattress With the Help of Texas Mattress Makers

We hope that our expert tips for how to check if you have bed bugs are helpful for you in the future and that you are able to enjoy your vacations without worrying about bringing home unexpected souvenirs. But when it comes to your own mattress, protection and prevention are key.

The best way to protect your mattress against bed bugs or any other hazard is to purchase a mattress protector. Texas Mattress Makers offers a 3D mattress protector that fully encases the mattress as well as the box spring for full coverage protection. Mattress protectors shield your mattress from any harmful hazards or substances that could come into contact with your mattress, extending its lifespan and saving you money in the long run.

Although bed bugs mainly reside in mattresses, mattresses are rarely the origin of the infestation. If you shop at a Texas Mattress Makers showroom, you will be pleased to know that we take our sanitation processes very seriously. Our factory is treated on a weekly basis by an exterminator, our delivery trucks are sanitized after every trip, and our suppliers’ factories also operate with a high level of quality control to ensure that your mattresses are safe to sleep on.

More Helpful Articles by Texas Mattress Makers:

Mattress 101

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