Dealing With Bed Bugs In Your Mattress

For such a small and unremarkable insect, it turns out that bed bugs are surprisingly resilient. It’s not that they cannot be removed or killed, it’s that most Do-It-Yourself (DIY) methods prove ineffective – unless you simply remove the mattress altogether and replace it.

Bed bug on bed corner

Of course,

even in this case, you want to make sure the bed frame, itself, doesn’t have a hidden infestation.

Generally, however, bed bugs won’t be found in quantity anywhere other than the mattress, since they feed on the dead skin cells (among other things) that you leave behind when you sleep there.

If there’s one thing you shouldn’t do when you have a bed bug infestation, it’s use chemicals in a DIY effort; these bugs have developed an almost legendary resistance to consumer-grade pesticides, and a successful eradication often requires the stuff that the professionals use.

Let’s get to solving your bed bug problem.

First, Identify the Problem

For a full scope of this, you’ll need a flashlight, an old credit card (or similarly sturdy apparatus), a roll of sticky tape, plastic bags and a cloth. It’s also helpful to have a small bowl of hot, soapy water nearby.

Once you’ve got all these items, it’s time to put them to use. The flashlight will help you locate the dark, receding spaces that reside in your bed posts and mattress. Any little crack or crevice can serve as a good hiding spot for the bugs, which usually emerge at night to feed once a body depresses the service.

removing bed bug with spray

Basically, when you have bed bugs, simply laying down on your bed is the equivalent of yelling “Dinner Time!” We hope to put an end to these impromptu feasts with the following:

  • The flashlight will also help you find any eggs that the bed bugs might have laid; keep a mental note of all the places where you find any. Furthermore, use the card or hard edged apparatus to dig into cracks and draw out any others.
  • Next up is the tape; the plastic kind is best for obvious reasons. The sticky part is very good at lifting up the bed bugs as you find them, and making sure that none fall to the floor. Similarly, for broader surfaces, the wet cloth and bowl of soapy water form a very good bed bug solution; wipe the surfaces and deposit any bugs that are caught into the bowl; they cannot survive the mixture. It’s not necessary to use gloves when doing this (you have to wrong out the cloth each time), but you may find it more effective.
  • The plastic bags are necessary because you will be depositing your pillow cases and bedding into it; they need to be washed and put in the dryer to kill and remove any bed bugs. Obviously, the bag stops them from spreading to the floor during your cleaning routine.

Even if your go-to solution is get a new mattress from a reputable merchant, you will still need a mattress encasement for your old mattress.


bed bugs will spread to the floors and eventually move to the new one once they detect your body heat at night. When you encase the old mattress, if the enclosure is air-tight, the bed bugs will starve to death in several weeks.

You should leave it in there for longer, however, to give the unhatched eggs enough time to hatch and then starve to death, too. It’s an ugly business – but it will all be over soon enough.

The Argument for Professional Help With A Bed Bug Infestation

Because of the sheer resilience of bed bugs, there’s a strong argument for professional aid in resolving the problem. For example, even if you replace your mattress, there’s a chance that any vacuuming that you do will simply move the bed bug problem to the vacuum, as this process doesn’t kill them. Temperatures have to be above 113 degrees in order to kill bed bugs.

Removing bed bug

Another problem is that consumer pesticides are not all that effective; however, some of the commercial-grade stuff has been shown to work.


any solutions have to be EPA-approved, so that they don’t end up causing more problems for you and your family; pesticide exposure is a real risk in the hands of the amatuer DIY-er.

Keep in mind that most chemicals are not effective after they have dried; this means that you’re only really killing the bed bugs that are directly sprayed. For our money, mechanical removal of bed bugs – as outlined above with flashlights, sticky tape and plastic bags – is always the better alternative if you’re doing it yourself.

Lastly, if you use steam to kill them, make sure the temperature is above 120 degrees – this is deadly to every single life stage of the bed bug. Of course, you will want to be safe so as not to burn yourself accidentally.

The good thing is that, once removed completely, it is unlikely that you will get another bed bug infestation unless you bring them with you from another home.

Peter Robert

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