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Most people first hear about bed bugs as a child. Either they go off to summer camp where there’s a bed bug infestation, or they hear the common saying, “Good night, don’t let the bed bugs bite”. While bed bugs can seem like a far-away problem that really only happens at camp, or to a small percentage of the population, the truth is, bed bug infestations can happen to anyone.

Bed bugs are a major concern, and they are not something to take lightly. A bed bug infestation can seriously impact your quality of life, and force you to take certain precautions to disinfect your room and bed to remove the bed bugs. Plus, bed bugs are not easy to remove, and in many cases, you may have to throw out your mattress altogether. Therefore, it’s important to know what bed bugs are, how they spread, and how to spot and prevent them. Read on to learn more about bed bugs, and whether latex mattresses can get them.

What are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are tiny, wingless insects that feed on the warm blood of animals like humans. At their adult stage, they measure about 6.5 mm long, making them visible, but difficult to detect by themselves. Also, during the daytime, they usually hide, and come out only at night to feed, making them more difficult to spot.

Once they reach their adult stage, females can lay  7 eggs every day, making the infestation spread quickly. Bed bugs are particularly hard to eradicate because they spread so quickly, and can hide in crevices and indentations in your bed, in your sheets, your clothes, and anywhere in your home. Plus, their eggs are even more difficult to spot, making them a challenge to fully clear out from the home.

Where are Bed Bugs Found?

Bed bugs are not present in most homes. Unlike other pests like dust mites, which are unavoidable, and pose few problems in small concentrations, bed bugs are a serious problem no matter how small their population is.

Bed bugs tend to hitchhike on clothing, and settle in and around your bed, in the bedding, and in the mattress, where they will feed every night. However, bed bugs can get almost anywhere, and can hide in hard-to-reach places all around your room. Carpets, cracks, skirting boards, and crevices are all places where you might find bed bugs hiding out.

How Bed Bugs Spread

If you or your partner is a fastidious cleaner that keeps the home clean around the clock, you may be thinking that bed bugs aren’t a concern for you. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. All it takes for a bed bug infestation is one contaminated item. This could be a piece of clothing that picked up bed bugs outside from another home or hotel room, or it could be a piece of second-hand furniture. You can pick up bed bugs in a public restroom, or during a run-in with a person whose clothes have bed bugs.

Bed bugs can also come through the walls of an apartment. So if a neighbor has a bed bug infestation, they may be able to find their way over to your room through the walls. In addition, bed bugs can go months without feeding, so eradicating them is very difficult.

Bed bugs are more common when people live near to one another. Therefore, the risk of bed bugs increases in cities and in places where humans are living close together.

Bed Bug Symptoms

Bed bugs are extremely unpleasant to have because they bite and feed on human blood. Bed bug bites are very discomforting and they are red, itchy, and puffy. Furthermore, if you have a bed bug infestation in your bed, chances are you won’t get just one bite. Likely, you’ll get a multitude of bed bug bites while you sleep and wake up with many itchy, red bites all over your body.

Most people don’t recognize they have bed bugs until later on. This is because they may wake up with a few bites, and assume it’s a mosquito, spider, or another insect that bit them during the night. Also, bed bug bites may not even become noticeable for up to  14 days after you were bitten, so you may not know you have bed bugs until days later when they’ve had time to reproduce and spread.

While bed bugs won’t kill you or transmit any diseases to you, they are still a major problem. The discomfort and itchiness from the bites are unsettling and bothersome, and bed bugs will continue to reproduce in the home until they are eradicated. Bed bugs can cause stress, disrupt sleep, and prove extremely bothersome. If you have a bed bug problem, you may find it hard to get any peace of mind until they are dealt with.

How to Spot Bed Bugs

If you notice unusual red bites on your skin and think it might be bed bugs, you should do a thorough search to see whether or not you have an infestation. Look carefully along the seams and edges of your bed sheets, mattress, and box spring for signs of bed bugs. Check indentations and folds in the mattress and sheets, and also check in the space underneath the bed, and at the foot of the bed. Bed posts, footboards, and headboards may also have bed bugs.

Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown insects that are about the size of an apple seed. Bed bug eggs look like small, pale poppy seeds, and they take a trained eye to spot. Bed bug excrement is easier to spot. Look for small brown or rust-colored dots along the seams and edges of your bedding and mattress. Also, check loose areas of wallpaper near your bed, your desk, drawers, under carpets, and in your laundry.

How to Remove Bed Bugs

If you have bed bugs, you need to remove them immediately before the problem gets worse, and you develop more bites, or you spread them to other households. There are a few ways you can go about removing bed bugs.

How to Remove Bed Bugs from Your Mattress (Option #1)

  1. Remove all bedding from your mattress, including pillowcases, mattress covers, and mattress protectors, bag in plastic garbage bags, and wash in hot water.
  2. Throw out your pillow.
  3. Encase your mattress and box spring in a bed bug encasement. These covers are uniquely designed to trap bed bugs. Keep the mattress and box spring in the bed bug encasement for at least one year. Bed bugs live for months after they feed, so it’s essential that they are kept in the encasement until they are all dead.
  4. Using a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment, thoroughly vacuum your mattress, paying close attention to the seems of the mattress where bed bugs like to hide and lay eggs. Empty the vacuum bag outside, and clean the vacuum cleaner to ensure there are no remaining bed bugs.
  5. Search your headboard and footboard for more bed bugs, and kill any you find. If you are using a pesticide, read the directions first to ensure you do not poison yourself.
  6. Move your bed away from the wall, and place bed bug interceptor cups under each leg of your bed. These will trap and kill any bed bugs that try to climb onto your bed with an insecticide. Make sure that nothing is hanging from your bed to the floor, so that the bed bugs can’t find another way up to the mattress beside the legs that are guarded with the interceptor cups.
  7. Vacuum your floor, and clean your room and home thoroughly. Check every crack, crevice, and spot in your home to ensure that no bed bugs are left. Periodically search your home afterward to see if you missed any eggs that may have hatched since you first searched the home.

How to Remove Bed Bugs (Option #2)

If you need to remove bed bugs from your home, another way to go is to throw away your mattress, box spring, and sheets, and replace them. While this isn’t the most cost-effective way to go, you will likely need to find a replacement while your bed is encased for a year, so it’s a viable option. It will save you time cleaning your bedding and vacuuming your mattress and box spring. Also, you won’t need to purchase interceptor cups, or a bed bug encasement, and store the mattress for a year.

If you are okay with replacing your mattress, sheets, and box spring, you will still need to thoroughly clean your home to ensure that all traces of bed bugs are completely gone. If there are any leftover bed bugs or eggs in the home after you get a new mattress, the new bed will become infested too, so it’s vital that you do a thorough cleaning, and ensure all the bed bugs are gone before you purchase a new mattress.

Call Pest Control (Option #3)

The most effective option to eradicate a bed bug problem is to call a pest control company. They will give you instructions on how to prepare for the visit, and then will spray and nuke the affected areas with pesticides to kill any and all bed bugs.

How to Prevent Bed Bugs

While it’s impossible to totally bed bug proof a home, you can take some steps to prevent bed bugs from getting there in the first place.

1.  Best Practices for Staying in a Hotel

First of all, when you’re staying in a hotel, or if you’re on a cruise, avoid placing your luggage on the bed. Then, when you get home, wash your clothes in hot water. Also, when you’re staying in a hotel room, you can check the bed posts, headboard, footboard, sheets, and mattress for any signs of bed bugs. If you find any, report it to the hotel manager, and they should move you to another room. If they don’t, then leave the hotel room, and stay somewhere else if possible.

2.  Checking or Avoiding Used Furniture

Secondly, avoid buying used furniture. If you are buying used furniture, do a thorough inspection before purchase, and look for any signs of bed bugs along the seams, including the rust-colored or brown stains of their excrement.

3.  Checking Your Bed/Preventing

Lastly, if you ever notice any bites on your body after sleeping, do a thorough check of your bed to catch the infestation early on. Once you spot bed bugs, immediately seek action. Although you can try to get rid of the bed bugs yourself, you will be better off if you let pest control handle the problem.

Can Bed Bugs Live in Latex Mattresses

Besides the many other benefits of natural latex mattresses, like their durability, support, and comfort, natural latex foam is made of dense material, and is a great way to prevent dust mites. Dust mites feed on dead skin cells, and while they are relatively harmless, they can increase allergy symptoms. Therefore, many latex mattress companies boast about the benefits of natural latex in preventing dust mites in your bed.

In addition, latex mattresses often have properties that reduce the chances of bacteria and mold growing in and on the mattress, making it a less hospitable environment for dust mites. However, there is no research that proves that dust mites cannot live on a latex mattress.

Similar to dust mites, latex mattresses prove to be an environment that is not ideal for bed bugs. Bed bugs like to burrow, so if you have an innerspring or memory foam mattress, they may burrow into your mattress to hide and rest. While the dense latex foam may prevent bed bugs from burrowing into a latex mattress, it may not prevent bed bugs from living in your bed altogether. For example, they may find the space in between your mattress and box spring a good place to live and breed, so they will likely still be a problem. So, while natural latex mattresses may offer some bed bug deterrent properties, unfortunately, there is no such thing as a bed-bug-proof mattress.

Invest in High-Quality Sheets, Covers, and a Bed Bug-Resistant Box Spring

In addition to using a natural latex mattress to reduce the chances of bed bugs infesting your bed, also use high-quality sheets and covers for your bed. Furthermore, there are box springs designed to deter bed bugs. While they may not be completely effective, they will reduce the chances of bed bugs taking over your bed.

Latex For Less

As we mentioned, there is no such thing as a 100% bed-bug-proof mattress. However, consider a latex mattress for your next purchase. Natural latex has many benefits, along with being resistant to pests like bed bugs. It is extremely durable, which means you can use it for decades, unlike memory foam mattresses, which last about 10 years at most. Natural latex foam is also non-toxic, and comes from rubber trees, meaning it’s safe and healthy to sleep on. Also, the right latex mattress can be extremely comfortable and supportive, and give you a great night’s sleep.

All Latex For Less mattresses are made from 100% natural latex of the finest quality. We offer latex mattresses for every kind of sleeper, so you can find the one that is right for you. In addition, all of our mattresses come with a 20-year warranty, and a 120-night trial, so you can be confident that your mattress will have longevity, and that it’s the right one for you.

While we can’t guarantee that our mattresses are immune to bed bugs (because no such mattress exists), we can guarantee the quality of our latex mattresses. Not only will they give you a better night’s sleep, but they will also reduce the chances of pests like dust mites and bed bugs, mold, and bacteria from accumulating in your bed. Check out our  Latex For Less mattresses today to learn more.

Elizabeth Magill

Elizabeth Magill is a professional freelance writer and editor who holds an MBA. Liz specializes in writing about health news, medical conditions, healthy living, small business, career and work, personal finance, and green-living, including news and trending topics in these specialties. Her clients include Healthline, The Motley Fool, GoBanking Rates, LIVESTRONG.com, Big Interview, HealthNews, Intuit Small Business Blog, Intuit Health, American News Report, Travels.com, IFX Medical, and many others. She’s also a published eBook author and ghost writer for various clients in the health, medical, career, small business, and personal finance niches.