How to Check Mattress for Bed Bugs

If you suspect that you have a bed bug infestation, it is better to find it as soon as possible, before it spreads even more and becomes expensive and difficult to get rid of.

However, finding and identifying the signs of an early infestation may not be so easy. There are many other bugs that can be easily mistaken for bed bugs which is why you need to be really careful and watch closely to find the right signs.

Bites on the skin can’t be such a good indicator of a bed bug infestation as they look pretty much like bites from other insects such as mosquitoes or fleas, rashes, etc. Some people even may not react to bed bug bites at all, which is why you need to look for other signs.

Read our guide to learn more about bed bugs and find out where they tend to hide and how to inspect your mattress. Last updated Jun 2, 2020 @ 5:09 pm

Important Facts about Bed Bugs

To find an early bed bug infestation before it becomes established, you need to understand how these bugs behave, how they live, eat and reproduce.

As for their primary source of food, bed bugs prefer to feed on human blood, although they can sometimes feed on other animals and birds too.

Their feeding usually takes 3 to 12 minutes and they can travel some 5 to 20 feet from their hiding place to feed on a chosen host. Bed bugs are active during the night, but sometimes if they are hungry, they can even seek food in full daylight.

They have six life stages and need at least one meal to develop from one stage to another. Sometimes they can feed even more than once, and as they develop to the next stage, bed bugs molt their skin.

Both male and female bugs must feed every 14 days so they could continue to mate and produce new eggs. Each female may lay 1-3 eggs every day and 200 to 500 eggs during her lifetime which usually lasts from 6 to 12 months, although some of them can live even longer.

Looking for Signs of Bed Bugs

Before you start looking for bed bugs, you should put on gloves to protect your hands from being bitten and coming into contact with blood from smashed bed bugs. If you don’t have any gloves, you can even use a plastic bag. Wrap it around your hand and it will do the thing.

Now, you should look for the physical signs of bed bugs. There will be small bed bugs and adult ones that are around 1/4 inch long. They will be bright red color if they have recently fed on blood or dark if they have digested their food. If they haven’t fed for some time, they will be pale brown color.

However, if you can’t see bed bugs anywhere, maybe they’ve hidden. Therefore, you should look for reddish or rusty stains on your sheets or mattress. Such stains will point to the presence of bed bugs and they are caused by bed bugs being crushed.

Bed bugs also leave their excrement around so you should look for small dark spots like a marker would leave. Their excrement can also stain the fabric beneath and you may see dark streaks as well.

Besides excrement, bed bugs will also leave their eggs, which are pale white, and pale yellow skins that nymphs shed as they grow.

Where Bed Bugs Hide

Bed bugs tend to hide in various places. They can be found around the bed, bed frame, adjustable base, near the piping, seams, etc.

To check whether your mattress is infested with bed bugs, remove the comforter, bedspread, duvet and then carefully strip all sheets and remove a mattress protector if you use one. Start looking for bed bugs slowly so that they don’t fly off the sheets into the room.

Look closely at the mattress and bed frame. You can use a flashlight when inspecting your mattress and bed frame so you can see better where bed bugs are hidden.

Check the seams and all the crevices on your mattress, a mattress label and a zipper if your mattress has a removable cover. These are places where they often tend to hide.

Flip the mattress over to check its bottom and then lift it up to check the bed frame and its joints.

If the room is heavily infested, you may find bed bug in the seams of chairs and couches too. They can be between pillows and cushions, in the folds of curtains, in drawer joints, electrical appliances, under wall hangings and loose wall paper, etc.

As soon as you find signs of infestation, you should make sure you clean everything and get rid of bed bugs. There are various ways how you can do this, but if the infestation is serious, you might want to hire a pest control professional for bedbug extermination. That way you can be sure that nothing is left behind.


Bed bug infestations can be extremely difficult to deal with. Getting rid of bed bugs can cost you a lot of money and nerves if the

infestation gets serious which is why you need to inspect your mattress and its surrounding area as soon as you suspect that they are infected.

To be able to spot the early signs of infestation you should first get acquainted with how these bugs live, eat, reproduce, etc.

In this article we gave some important fact about bed bugs and explained where they usually tend to hide. We hope it will help you check your mattress for bed bugs easier.

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