Inspecting Your Mattress And Box Spring For Bed Bugs

Your bed is one of your most intimate places where you can go to relax and have a good night's sleep. However, you can have invaders and not even realize it—the tiny pests known as bed bugs.

Many do not realize their mattress has been infected until they begin noticing bite marks on the skin, itching or even a random sighting of a bug crawling around. If you are stressing whether or not your bed has been affected, here are simple ways to determine for yourself before calling a pest control technician.

Prepare for Inspection

In order to thoroughly inspect your bed it is important to separate the set, including mattress, box spring, rails and head/footboards. You may need to ask a partner for assistance depending on how heavy your mattress set is.

  • Clear space in the room so you can have a wider area to investigate each piece of furniture.
  • Position the mattress, box spring and other pieces separately either against the wall or flat on the floor.
  • Turn all the lights on in the room. Bring in lamps if needed and open windows for additional lighting.
  • Many box springs are built with a thin lining underneath the backside. This thin cover shields the coils, stuffing and woodwork inside the box spring. It is commonly fastened down with nails or staples. In order to inspect your box spring, you may need to pull the covering up by removing either the nails or staples. Box springs are ideal gathering places for bed bugs. This is where you are likely to spot more evidence.
  • Additional tools to have handy, include a strong flashlight, magnifying glass, staples or nails and a hammer to reattach your box spring lining.  

Clues to Look Out For

Even if you don't visibly see a bed bug, you can still figure out where they have been roaming. Bed bugs tend to leave incriminating clues behind. Here are prominent signs of a bed bug infestation.

  • With your flashlight and magnifying glass, begin by probing along the seams of your mattress and box spring. Don't forget to inspect the corners of your railings and within the nail grooves and edges of your head/footboards. If you see little black smears or particles this is an indication of bed bug droppings.
  • Some other main signs of an infestation include egg casings and bed bug skin. Bed bugs shed their skin as they grow. Newly hatched egg casings and bed bug skin carcasses may be hard to spot, so don't disregard what you find. The smallest speck can be the biggest clue.
  • Blood smears on your mattress or under the box spring lining are obvious clues. This indicates that the bed bugs have been feeding, presumably on you, and were either squished or have excreted as they traveled throughout your bedding.    
  • The most definite clue is an actual visual. When you see one or more crawling around, there is no doubt for concern.

What to Do if You Find Evidence of Bed Bugs

If you find any of these signs, you should take some form of action now to help stop or prevent the spread. You can call of an exterminator like Midwest Exterminating for the proper treatment methods, however, there are things you can do to initiate the remedy process.

  • Clean your furniture to wipe away bed bug residue or remains.
  • Buy and install a complete encasement set. Encasements help seal mattresses, box springs and pillows. Keep it on for a year or more; this way they can't feed and continue to populate. They will eventually die off. Encasements prevent bed bugs that are already in your mattress or box spring from escaping. If you see signs of infestation on the outside of your encasements, this may suggest that your bed bug problem may not be limited to your bed. Your carpet, dressers or other items within your home may be the source of the infestation instead.
  • Wash all of your bedding in hot water.