If your bedroom is infested with bed bugs (Cimex lectularius), your mattress and box spring certainly is harboring these little bloodsucking pests. Most bed bugs are found in bedding or within 15 feet of the bed. These 3/16-inch wingless bugs feed exclusively on animal blood. They prefer to be close to their victims so hiding in bedding is ideal for them. Mattresses and box springs, however, are difficult to treat.
Keep or Toss
If you have bed bugs, you have to decide whether to throw out the mattress and box spring or attempt to deal with the bed bugs hiding in them. In general, if your mattress and box spring are old and in poor shape, toss them out and buy new. But if the mattress and box spring are in good condition, or if you can't afford to replace them, there are measures you can take.
Examine your mattress and box spring for bed bugs. Look along seams and under fabric flaps for the little black spots of bed bug excrement. Also look for adult bugs. They are about 3/16 inch long, flat and reddish-brown in color. You may also see the transparent light brown shells shed by nymphs as they grow into adults. With mattresses, pay particular attention to the welting along mattress edges. With box springs, strip off the dust cover from the bottom of the box spring. Check seams and the wooden frame, paying close attention to the places where frame pieces join. Peel back where fabric is stapled to the frame.
The first step in getting bugs out of bedding is to thoroughly vacuum the mattress, box spring, bed frame and the areas around, under and behind the bed. After you are finished, remove the vacuum bag and immediately dispose of it in the outside trash. The most effective way to deal with any bugs that survived vacuuming is to encase the box spring and mattress in fitted plastic covers. Bed bugs can't bite or claw their way out and eventually will starve to death. However, they can live for a year without feeding so you should keep the covers on your bedding for at least that long. You also can use pesticides that are labeled as safe for use on mattresses; follow the manufacturer's directions.
Treating your bedding is only one part of a complete eradication program. All bed bug hiding places in the bedroom must be identified and treated with an appropriate pesticide. Make sure the pesticides you use are safe for use indoors. Bed bugs like to hide in cracks along edges of baseboards, behind headboards, in crevices of bed frames, along the edges of wall-to-wall carpet, and underneath clutter. Eliminating clutter reduces potential hiding places for bed bugs. If you have a major infestation, consult a professional exterminator.
Bedbugs & What to Throw Out With the Mattress
Bedbugs are pests that suck warm blood. They do not transmit disease, but they can make getting a good night's sleep hard...
How to Buy a Bed and Mattress
Do you really have a bad back--or just a bad bed? Buying a new mattress set can be confusing and expensive--a queen...
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in a Mattress
There are several methods possible for getting rid of bed bugs in a mattress. However, if there are bed bugs in a...
Bugs That Are Found in a Mattress
The idea that your mattress is full of bugs might not be a pleasant one, but almost every mattress is. Most of...
Should I Sleep in My Bed If I See a Bedbug?
Bedbugs rarely occur one at a time, so spotting a single bedbug is a good indicator that you're dealing with an infestation....
How Long Should You Keep Clothing With Possible Bedbugs in the Freezer?
If bedbugs have taken up residence in your mattress, don't move to the couch to get rid of them. Bedbugs may live...