Where do bedbugs in my mattress come from?

If any two words could strike terror into the hearts of people around the world, they would be bed bugs. The critters have travelled around the world and live in varied and exotic places. They’ve done this for several thousands of years and show no sign of stopping anytime soon. What is the cause of bedbugs, where do bed bugs come from, and how do people get rid of them?

A brown bedbug on a white background.
This is a bedbug. They infect not only beds but also other moist and damp places in your house.

What’s the cause of bedbugs?

Bed bugs are many thousands of years old, so the origin of bedbugs has long been lost. All that’s known is that the pests travelled by boat, on their human hosts, and on the cargo or belongings with the humans. That’s how they spread so widely.

Some people erroneously think the cause of bedbugs is dirt and filth. This is not the case. Bed bugs need to be near their human food source, so dirt and clutter don’t matter to them. In fact, the more places to hide, the better, from their point of view.

Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

If people wonder at the cause of bedbugs, then where do bed bugs come from is a much easier question to answer. The bugs are less than an inch long and not much thicker. As an example, they are the thickness of a quarter and the size of an apple seed.

They hide in seams of things like furnishings, bed mattresses, linens, clothing, umbrellas, luggage, purses, hats, briefcases, and tote bags. Fabric isn’t all in which they can hide. They hide in knots, cracks, or other crevices of the wood, metal filing cabinets, books, electronics, DVDs and CDs, toys, and pretty much anything with a fold or seam in which they can hide and conceal themselves.

Where do bed bugs come from? They come from family members flying in for a holiday. They come from friends and family sailing in for a visit. They come from business associates travelling to your office by whatever means.

They arrive in packages in the mail. They enter through new office furniture, at home with new things that came from a warehouse from somewhere else, and they arrive with anyone bearing gifts. Ironically enough, even though they come in giftboxes at times, they are definitely not the gift you are looking for.

Read more for a detailed guide on how to spot signs and symptoms of bed bugs.

Boxes for present on a table, holiday background
Termites are everywhere, and can even come gift-wrapped!

How do bedbugs spread?

We’ve established that no matter where do bed bugs come from, they hide in cracks and seams. No one goes through their house examining every crack or crevice or seam when they clean. Thus, the pests lay hundreds of eggs and crawl from place to place seeking humans. They can’t fly, so they crawl.

Bed bugs move from room to room, flat to flat, and from house to house using whatever transportation method they can find. They lay eggs there, too, growing their population. If they can’t find humans, they’ll settle for animals and rodents, although their favourite meal is people.

Bed bugs are drawn to the carbon monoxide exhaled by human hosts while they’re asleep. The pests tend to hide during the day, coming out at dawn between the hours of four until six in the early morning. Then, they return to their hiding places or move to another room or house.

Young Vietnamese woman sleeping in her bed.
When we sleep, we exhale carbon monoxide. Bedbugs are attracted to carbon monoxide.

Bed bug Bites

Bed bug bites by themselves aren’t dangerous, and they don’t affect the health of humans very negatively. The main problem with bed bug bites is psychological. Of course, the bites itch, but a little aloe vera gel will take care of that.

What upsets most people is that they can’t control the bed bug problem. It’s enough of a shock that people have them around, but to be dinner for something isn’t a pleasant thought. In addition, no one wants to be set upon by bedbugs at bedtime.

Ticks, fleas, and other blood-sucking parasites are easily seen, recognized, and eliminated. Bed bugs, on the other hand, hit and run. They appear, do the deed, and are gone before a human is aware they’re around. They’re like a shadowy ninja you just can’t seem to catch and it can be very distressing.

Cartoon ninja in black garb.
Bedbugs, somewhat amusingly, have stealth in common with ninjas.

To read about methods of bed bug removal and other general information on bedbugs, check out the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)’s website on bedbugs.

So, how do I get rid of bedbugs in my mattress?


Never bring anything into your home without checking it first. Any furnishings or other items should be checked for cracks and seams. Seal any cracks or crevices before bringing items into the house. If you see bed bugs on anything, wrap it in plastic and keep it outside until you can find a way to kill them. Do My Own has a rather informative guide on how to check objects for bedbugs.

Bedbugs on your mattress can be contained with plastic mattress and box spring bags from a department store. Bed bugs can go without a meal for up to 18 months, but it takes 24 months for them to die. Keep the bags on the mattresses longer than that to be sure they’re all dead.

If you’re staying in a hotel, check the bed linens, the seams of the mattress, and bed frame for bed bugs. Look into any wooden furniture, and check the curtains and window frames for cracks in which they can hide. Look at the baseboards, the air conditioning vents, and the seams of the carpet where they meet the baseboards.

If you think you’ve been around bed bugs, don’t bring anything into your home. Wrap luggage and anything you brought back in plastic until you can find a way to kill them. Contact a pest control company like Zenith Lab immediately for advice and possible treatment.

Killing Bed Bugs

For the most part, bedbugs on mattress is where most people concentrate their pest killing exercises. Unless you sleep on a sofa, bed bugs concentrate on beds.

Keep in mind that those living in apartments or condos with an infestation will need to alert the units on the left and right sides of the infested unit as well as the one upstairs and downstairs. Treating one apartment will only drive the pests into another unit. Bed bugs in your mattress will then again become a problem shortly thereafter.

Messy bedsheets and pillows on white bed.
See all those crevices in this messy bed? That’s where bedbugs love to hide.

Some units may not be aware that an infestation exists. The manager of the property should be alerted, so s/he can have a pest control company come in to treat all the units involved. That’s the only way to really get rid of the pests for good.

The first step in bed bug removal is to vacuum thoroughly every surface where they can hide. This eliminates bed bug waste, eggshells, and other bed bug effluvia. Pay special attention to the edges of carpet that meet the baseboards, window frames, curtain seams, furnishings, any corners where something meets a wall, electrical outlets and light switches, and, of course, bed mattresses and box springs.

How do I get rid of the bedbugs I’ve found?

1) Various Chemicals

Today’s technology ensures that bed bug sprays, powders, and bug bombs reach most of the pests’ hiding spots. If the homeowner himself/herself sprays or puts powders on every surface in the home, chances are better than good that s/he’ll get rid of the majority of the pests, especially to the bed bugs in my mattress.

The top 10 bed bug killing chemicals.
The top 10 bed bug-killing chemicals.

2) Diatomaceous Earth

This method takes longer but kills the pests just as effectively. Bed bugs coming from your mattress are just as susceptible to this solution as bed bugs coming from anywhere else.

. Diatomaceous earth is composed of the skeletons of tiny aquatic organisms. When these are crushed, they present sharp edges. Bugs crawling over these sharp edges have their exoskeletons pierced, causing death.

Diatomaceous earth is safe for humans and animals to be around. It can be sprinkled in electrical outlets, along carpet edges, baseboards, window frames, cracks and crevices in walls and wood furniture frames, seams, and any other places bed bugs hide.

Sprinkling diatomaceous earth on mattress seams and box springs might be a little uncomfortable for their occupants, but remember bed bugs coming from mattress won’t be in the mattress for very long. Remember to vacuum regularly to remove anything to which the pests can cling.

3) Essential Oils

Some people swear by essential oils. Even some pest control companies use them (although we do not). They may take longer to kill the bed bugs, but they work in some cases. The essential oils pest control companies often use the most are Neem and orange essential oils. Sprayed on surfaces and cracks, these oils not only kill but repel the pests.

Other people use cinnamon oil, eucalyptus oil, lavender essential oil, tea tree oil, lemongrass oil, thyme oil, peppermint essential oil, and clove oil. Mixed with one -half cup water to twenty drops of essential oil and sprayed on surfaces, cracks, and seams, this removes the bedbugs. Placing cotton balls with concentrated essential oil dropped on them in electrical outlets keeps the pests from infesting a bedroom.

Essential oil of cloves and cloves spice on wooden table.
Essential oil made from cloves is claimed to be effective in bed bug removal

4) Professional Bed Bug Exterminators Uses Heat To Kill Bed Bugs

Bed bugs cannot survive great heat. Waiting for a hot day here in sunny Singapore to try and use the heat to eradicate the bed bugs sounds like a great idea in theory, but it is not nearly hot enough.

Pest control companies use intense heat at 119 degrees for adult bed bugs. Their eggs are heat-resistant and require temperatures of 125 degrees to be eliminated altogether. Homeowners can buy such machines, but they’re not cheap, which makes it a better idea to call a bed bug removal professional

Now that you’ve read this article on where bedbugs in your mattress come from, you may feel like you need a bed bug control specialist to help you with termites in your mattress. That’s perfectly fine, and not every homeowner feels confident in removing bed bug infestations by themselves. They’re scary and pervasive, and we understand that.

For more information on how to get rid and kill bed bugs, please read more here.

We here at Zenith Lab are bed bug removal specialists in Singapore and use the latest technology to remove your bed bug infestation in a manner that is safe for the elderly, kids and pets. Contact us today for a quote.

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