A close-up image of a woman putting a Koala duvet into a crisp white striped duvet cover
Comfier Sleep by Alex Irving 4 minutes

Four early signs of bed bugs (and how to get rid of them)

4 early signs of bed bugs (and how to give them the flick)

Bed bugs. Gross. Unfortunately, they’re a thing. And if you’re on Google looking for the early signs of bed bugs because you’ve seen some suss activity, they might already be invading your mattress.

Here at Koala we want to help you keep your bed free of these little beasties, and spotting them early will give you a much better chance of sending them packing.

So, whip out your hazmat suit and snap on your Ecto Goggles. Because in this guide, we’re looking for the early signs of bed bugs, how to get rid of them and the ways you can keep them from coming back to haunt you.

Spotting the early signs of bed bugs

Bed bugs are a lot like a bad Tinder date — they give you the ick, can’t take the hint to leave and have left a strange itch on your body.

These tiny insects are nocturnal parasites, feeding on human blood at night when they’re most active. And although they love a human host, they’re commonly found in mattresses, sheets, carpets and even wooden floors.

Noticing some strange activity in bed? (And not the fun kind of strange.) These are the early signs of bed bugs you might want to investigate.

🔍 Seeing the bugs. Spotting bed bug eggs and the minute insects themselves can be tricky but not impossible. So what do bed bugs look like on a mattress? They’re half a centimetre long, wingless and light brown with a flat, oval body. Yikes.

🔍 Blood stains or spots on your bedding. Crushed bed bugs can cause blood stains on your mattress or sheets that you might be able to see. They also leave dark spots of excrement on the bed, giving you the sign that they’ve been around. Yeah, we’re done.

🔍 A musty smell. An infestation of bed bugs may be noticeable by smell. The bugs release an offensive, sweet, musty odour from their sweat glands that’s more obvious when there are lots of them. Glad we’re not the only ones stinkin’ up the joint.

🔍 Itchy, red or swollen spots on the skin. As the bed bug pierces the skin, it can cause a red mark, swelling and even blisters. Their bites are also itchy, so you might have the urge to scratch before you even spot the marks. Here comes the phantom itch.

Pretty sure you’ve got these uninvited guests in your bed? Here’s what to do.

Send help: how to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress

Bed bugs are notorious for being hard to get rid of, but it is possible. Here are a few approaches to eliminating these insects from your bed and your home for good.

🆘 Deal with the bedding. At the first sign of bed bugs, strip the bedding, throw it in the wash on high heat, and dry it in the dryer. This’ll zap ’em good.

🆘 Get the vacuum. If you want a bit of suction action to give these buggers the boot, thoroughly vacuum your mattress (including the crevices) along with the rest of your bedroom and home. Then empty the vacuum immediately to remove all traces of them.

🆘 Seal up your bed. Seal the mattress in dark plastic and then leave it outside in the sun to kill the bugs and their eggs. Without blood to feed on, they’ll soon die off.

🆘 Spray problem areas. Use a bed bug-specific pesticide to spray areas like cracks and crevices around the home. Keep these chemicals away from your bed or bedding, however. Best not to spray where you sleep.

🆘 Call in the experts. Can’t get rid of the bugs yourself? Pest control experts have access to more potent insecticides that will kill them instantly. Call your local pest control service and have them take care of the critters.

A close-up image of the corner of a bed as a woman finishes adjusting the mattress protector on the mattress
Keeping your mattress clean and always using a mattress protector is just one way to keep bugs at bay

Tips for keeping bed bugs at bay

Survived your first encounter with bed bugs and wanna make sure these little beasties never come back? We share some tips from Koala’s Bedding Manager Stephanie Roberts Baxter on keeping your mattress clean and uninviting (to bed bugs).

❌ Keep it clean — and uninviting

Does eating in bed attract bed bugs? Not really. As connoisseurs of human blood, bed bugs aren’t really after your Twisties.

That said, cleaning your mattress and washing your bedding regularly will prevent infestations from spreading, and it’ll also leave you with a healthier sleeping environment.

Better still, a mattress protector is the real secret weapon to keeping it safe from any nasties. “Our Great Barrier Mattress protector has a PU backing,” says Stephanie. “It completely encases it and protects the mattress from anything burrowing in.”

❌ Seal up the cracks

Use a sealing caulk to cover up the cracks where bed bugs really like to hide, like in flooring and in the walls. If they set up shop in your house, there’ll be nowhere for them to hide, so you can eliminate them more easily.

❌ Get a bed with good airflow

The little critters love a good sauna, so the less moisture there is in your bed, the less likely they are to thrive. Our mattresses also need ventilation for good mattress health overall, so Stephanie recommends choosing the right base. “Choose a bed that provides enough airflow and ventilation through your mattress to prevent moisture build-up.

❌ Skip the second-hand sleep

We know you wanna save a few bucks, but buying a second-hand mattress will give these creepy-crawlies a one-way ticket into your home. Our humble suggestion? Koala’s range of beds and mattresses.

“We use antimicrobials in all layers of the core of our mattresses,” says Stephanie. “They’re unfavourable for bacterial growth and prolong the life of the bed.”

Hasta la vista, bed bugs

Ready to throw the whole bed away? Honestly, we don’t blame you. If you’re looking for a fresh start, Koala’s mattresses and protectors will offer a blissful and bed-bug-free existence. Shop the range today.

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