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Bed Bugs and Bed Sheets

How to Check the Sheets

Bed bugs can be found in sheets if a bed area is infested.

Sheets Allow Them to Hide
Bed bugs like to stay close to their hosts and areas on or near the sheets can be very hospitable to the bed bugs. Sheets offer protection from discovery and allow the bed bug to be close to their hosts for the bed bugs’ late night meal of blood.

Two Main Signs to Look For

  1. Dark Blood Spots
    Signs of bed bugs in sheets are dark spots or droppings of partially digested blood. These droppings can be smeared by the sleeper so the stain will appear to be a streak of blood.

  2. Dead Bugs
    A crushed bed bug from when a person rolls onto the bug is a tell-tale sign of the presence of these insects. Here is a picture of what this looks like:

    exoskeletons on mattress (source: Purdue.edu)

When Do You See These Signs?
Sometimes, occupants can even discover moving bed bugs as they pull back their sheets prior to retiring for the night.

When bed linens are changed, it is also possible to discover signs of bed bug infestation. The smears might be more obvious and after sheets are removed, it is possible to see bed bug signs on the mattress pad or the mattress itself.

Even encasements can be stained. Encasements may have prevented bed bugs from entering or exiting the mattress and box spring, but they can still remain on the surface.

What to Do Next
Sheets that are infested should be removed and laundered.

  1. Put Sheets in a Bag
    Even if the laundry room is just a few feet away, the sheets should be bagged to make sure that the bed bugs are not spread to other areas.

  2. Don’t Let The Sheets Touch Anything
    If a public laundry is used, care should be taken to prevent infested sheets from commingling with other peoples’ items and spreading bed bugs.

  3. Put Them in the Dryer
    If the sheets are infested or it is unknown whether bed bug eggs, nymphs, or adults are hiding in the seams, the sheets should be placed into the clothes dryer at medium to high heat for at least fifteen to twenty minutes. This will kill all life stages of bed bugs. Then the sheets can be laundered.