I Found Bed Bugs in My Bed! What Do I Do Now?

May 19, 2015 by Doug Moore

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There are different theories as far as what to do about your bed. Here are a few of them.

A. Protecting your bed from bed bugs

This means you make sure bed bugs are not harboring in the bed frame, headboard, etc., and that you encase mattresses and box springs in high quality bed bug-proof encasements.

You have to work with the protocols of your pest control professional. Most pest professionals we’re aware of do recommend encasements. A carefully-encased mattress (with encasement sealed and kept free of tears) may help many people to eliminate bed bugs sooner, avoid bed bug bites, and save or protect an expensive mattress. 

Bedbugs can crawl onto the bed and bite you, but you are taking steps to ensure they do not live there. If they cross poison on the way to you, any meal will hopefully be their last. You may use a Passive Bed Bug Monitor or an Active Bed Bug Monitor, which encourages bed bugs to harbor inside so they can be detected easily. Alternatively, you may use pitfall/interceptor monitors like Climbup ® Interceptors to catch any bed bugs climbing onto or off of the bed. These two approaches (passives vs. interceptor/pitfall monitors) are quite different, and mixing them is not usually the best idea.

B. Isolating the Bed

Here, you are trying to get bed bugs out of your bed, and keep them out, so they cannot bite at night.

Isolating the bed is controversial, and though it may help people who are being bitten very badly or who have serious allergic reactions or who are in great distress may to try and avoid getting bed bug bites while in bed, it also may actually mean you are fighting bed bugs longer. This is so because bed bugs may spread further around your home (and remember: they will still bite you outside of the bed).

The theory behind isolating is that bed bugs will still try to get to you, but they should be trapped on the way, and you should be able to avoid bed bug bites while sleeping.

In a few cases, however, bed bugs are said to have dropped down from the ceiling to bite people in “isolated” beds. It seems to be a rare occurrence, but a possibility. More often, beds not thoroughly isolated have allowed people to continue to be bitten by bed bugs. If you’re going to isolate, you must be meticulous and thorough.

And remember, if bed bugs cannot bite at night, they will bite during the daytime, as you sit in chairs or go about your day. For this reason, many would recommend instead that you simply “protect” the bed, but do not isolate it.

Many people prefer to “protect” rather than “isolate” the bed because having bed bugs biting you in bed, or finding evidence they were there (cast skins, blood spots, etc.) is a sure sign you still have a bed bug problem and require further treatment. If you “isolate” and don’t react to bed bug bites you get during the day, it may be harder to verify bed bugs’ continued presence. Isolating may also mean they spread further around your home, since they may have trouble reaching you in bed, where they used to feed. Protecting the bed instead, and using pitfall/interceptor monitors like Climbup Interceptors as a tool for catching bed bugs as the wander onto or off of the bed’s legs, or using Passive or Active Monitors (which offer an easily inspected harborage for trapping and monitoring bed bugs) would be my preference.

C. Encase the mattress and box spring

Using a bed bug-bite proof certified mattress and box spring encasement will accomplish two things for you.  First, if there are any bed bugs in the mattress and box spring, they will be trapped and be unable to feed.  Keeping the encasements on for at least a year (longer if possible) will ensure they will die of starvation. 

Secondly, when you encase, you eliminate all the nooks and crannies on the mattress and box spring where bed bugs like to hide.  When you make or change the bed, it is very easy to perform a quick examination to determine whether there are any fecal spots or blood smears on the encasement. 

For more information about bed bugs, heat treatment, and canine bed bug scent detection, click here.

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