Pest Problems

Bed Bug Prevention: How to Stop Bed Bugs from Getting into Your Mattress

Bed bugs are a common problem for a lot of households. Feeding on human or animal blood as their prey soundly sleeps, they are elusive to detect and even harder to kill. Known for being very good at hiding, the bloodsucking insect can be moving house underneath your wallpaper, in your shoes, on your mattress, pillows or even your blanket and cause serious troubles in your home.

So, if you:

  • Are worried about getting a bed bug infestation;
  • Are looking for the signs of a bed bug problem on the mattress;
  • Are considering using a second-hand mattress;

Then read on!

In this post, we are going to discuss why do bed bugs hide in the mattress and in between your bedding, what to do if you’re suspecting a bed bug infestation and how to prevent an attack.

But first, let’s clarify…

What are bed bugs?

The bed bug is an oval-shaped, brownish-red insect visible to the naked eye. Adults have flat bodies and reach around 5mm in length, although they tend to swell and turn reddish after feeding.

Bed bugs live on animal and human blood and are active mainly at night. The pests feast fairly quickly for about 3 to 12 minutes. Once done, they go back to their hiding places and stay there for around a week to mate and lay eggs. As the bloodsucking insects reproduce quickly, it is important to exterminate bed bugs at first sight so that you can prevent heavy bed bug infestations.

Where do bed bugs hide?

Bed bugs don’t fly but move quickly, so they can sneak into your house without you suspecting a thing. Your bed is their primary target, and the most common bed bugs hiding places are in the seams and tags of the mattress and the cracks on the bed frame and headboard. Over time, they can move to other parts of a room such as:

  • In the seams of anything cushioned: chairs, sofas, decorative pillows, ottomans.
  • In your bed – in between the mattress, sheets, blankets and pillows.
  • In drawer joints.
  • In electrical receptacles and appliances.
  • Under loose, ripped, or lifted wallpaper.
  • Inside of your cats/dogs sleeping area.
  • Inside mirror and picture frames.
  • In the small space where the ceiling and walls meet.
  • Inside plush toys
  • In between the pages of your books.
  • Even in the head of a screw.
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Why do bed bugs get in your mattress?

Bed bugs usually infest bedding and blankets because of the warm and cosy environment and, of course, the abundance of food. Another reason is to lay their eggs.

So if one morning you wake covered in small itchy bumps, the experts at Fantastic Services advise you to remove every bedding item and carefully inspect the area for signs of a bed bug infestation.

Get a magnifying glass if you need to and examine your blanket. If there are any rusty-looking spots scattered on the fabric, you have just witnessed some bed bug poop. 

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How can you tell if a mattress has bed bugs

As you’ve probably noticed by now, these little bloodsuckers are indeed evil masterminds. However, they do a bad job at covering their tracks. The clues that they tend to carelessly leave behind are easy to spot and are a positive indicator for bed bugs in the mattress.

Abandoned shells and shed skin

The more bed bugs eat, the bigger they get. When their protective armour gets tight, they shed it so they have more space to grow. The process is called moulting. Each insect will experience this process about 5 times in its lifetime in the way to maturity.

If you have a severe bed bug infestation, there will be hundreds if not thousands of skins abandoned by the bed bugs. The moulted shell resembles the form of the bug but is lighter in colour and transparent. You can find different sized shells due to the different life stages the little buggers go through.

Faecal matter stains on your sheets

If you spot scattered dark-brown spots on your bed sheets, you are looking at some bug poop. People tend to confuse the poop marks for blood stains but that is not the case. Yes, the bugs faecal matter highly resembles blood spots, but it’s actually a lot darker in colour. So if you find such marks, you probably have bed bugs in the mattress.

A musty smell

If you smell a very strong and far from the pleasant musty odour that resembles the smell of an old wet towel, it is most probably caused by bed bugs. They release pheromones and the stink can become unbearable if the infestation is big. If your bedroom starts smelling like an icky locker room, we advise you to start looking around for unwanted house guests.

Itchy red bumps

The indicator of a bedbug infestation that you just can’t miss is the bite marks. However, the problem is that the bites can look like they’re caused by another insect like a mosquito or look like a rash. Some people won’t even react to a bedbug’s bite. On the other hand, doctors say that if you are repeatedly exposed to bedbug bites, symptoms will eventually show up.

Here are the symptoms of a bedbug bite:

  • Raised, red welts bumps;
  • Burning and itching sensation;
  • Bed bug bite rash across a localized area;
  • Straight lines of multiple bites marks.

Suspicious blood stains

Much like with the bites, blood marks aren’t a sure indicator of a bedbug infestation.  You can usually find blood stains on your sheets, pillowcase, and occasionally on your pyjamas. These spots are the result of the blood-filled creatures being mercilessly squished.

If you spot any of these signs of a bed bugs infestation, gather all your bedding items and look for the existence of actual living bed bugs. After that, check the seams in the wood framing. Investigate around the bed. Check your bookcase, the edges of the carpets, go through your closet and even examine the electrical outlets.

Or why nor opt-in for a professional pest inspection?

Book a slot with a Fantastic pest controller!

Add a valid postcode e.g. SE1 2TH

How to stop bed bugs from attacking the mattress

There are certain measures you can take to prevent those parasitic insects from invading your bed. For your convenience, the experts at Fantastic Services have gathered a list of all the ways to prevent bed bugs in the mattress.

Buy bed bug interceptor

The bed bug interceptors are made to slip under the feet of your bed and that way they stop the insects from climbing on it. It’s really easy to install: just carefully lift each leg of your bed and put the bed bug interceptors under it.

Be extra careful with laundry facilities

If you are a fan of public laundromats, you have to be extra careful with your clothes there. Why? Because this is one of the ways in which you get bed bugs. The insect is notorious for its hitchhiking habits and it loves to travel from home to home thanks to laundromats.

  • When you use the service, make sure to transport your items to the laundry facility in a sealed plastic bag.
  • When you are done with washing and drying them, again, store them directly in another clean plastic bag.
  • Avoid to iron and fold them in the laundromat facility

Wash your sheets on a regular basis

Take the time to wash your whole bedding once every other week. This applies to all: linen, covers, additional blankets, etc. The pillows are not that easy to clean and fully dry, so you can try and clean them at least once every 2 to 3 months. Check and follow the washing instructions on the label.

Still, whenever possible, wash the linen and covers on a higher temperature so you can demolish every type of unwanted visitor that may be living there. This is also another answer to the “How do you kill bed bugs in the mattress” question.

After you’ve washed them, put the items in the dryer, again on a high setting. If you have any infested stuffed animals that were in contact with the bed, that don’t do good in the washing machine, skip the process and just put them in the dryer for 30-40 minutes.

Deep clean your mattress regularly, too

Just like the linen, the mattress requires some good in-depth cleaning every once in a while. The use of steamers is an excellent, chemical-free way to freshen up your mattress. This way you will be extracting and getting rid of any unpleasant stains and odours, as well as killing any potential crawling intruders.

If you worry about bed bug infestation after a trip, for instance, a steam cleaning session could be of use. The temperature of the steam must reach 120 degrees or higher in order to effectively kill any bed bug eggs or adult bugs in the mattress.

Using a specialised machine with a nozzle, glide it slowly over all probable bed bugs hiding spots. If you don’t have access to such a machine, there are professionals who could provide it and take care of the cleaning, so you don’t have to worry about any of it.

Get mattress covers

Most mattress covers are made for non-vinyl mattresses and box springs. The idea behind the cover is that it acts as a barrier between the actual mattress and any insects. Mattress covers are made from high-quality materials, which makes them durable and tear-resistant. Therefore, they can’t form folds, and bed bugs can’t hide there.

This is an effective method to protect your mattress from bed bugs and other crawlies, but you have to keep the cover on all the time and, preferably, get a thicker one for better protection.

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Book professional bed bug extermination

Dealing with bed bugs is a troublesome and time-consuming activity, and professional bed bug extermination is your best chance no matter if the vermin have taken over one mattress or your whole property. Experienced pest specialists use special products and equipment to kill the bugs, and they can put an end to the tyranny for good.

Worried about a bed bug infestation on your mattress?

Find a professional to take care of your property.

Add a valid postcode e.g. SE1 2TH


  • Following some simple rules such as regular washing of your bedding and mattress can help you keep the bed bugs away.
  • It is important to eliminate bed bugs as soon as possible so that you can prevent a more severe infestation.
  • Don’t hesitate to contact a pest control service and get professional assistance – a specialist will help you to get rid of the bed bugs on your mattress and the whole property and will save you a lot of stress.

Did you find our article getting rid of bed bugs helpful? Why not share your thoughts with us in the comments below?

Image source: Shutterstock / Akos Nagy

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