Identify and fight vermin in bed - this is how it works

Identify and fight vermin in bed - this is how it works

the essentials in brief

  • Bed bugs bite, are 5-7 mm in size, reddish-brown, flat-oval, wingless, nocturnal and frequent vermin in bed.
  • White bugs in bed are 0.1-0.5 mm small mites that feed on scales, neither sting nor bite.
  • Yellow-brown, 1-3.5 mm large fleas sting and can be recognized as jumping vermin in the bed.

What kind of bugs are there in bed?

Two types of parasites make life hell for us as blood-sucking vermin in bed. A third type of pest is omnipresent throughout the house and prefers to colonize mattresses and bed linen. The more specifically you can identify the vermin, the more effective the countermeasures. The following overview summarizes how you can identify the three most common pests in bed:

also read

  • Getting rid of vermin in the garden - the best non-toxic strategies
  • Discover and fight vermin in the cherry laurel
  • Fighting fleas in the garden - this is how it works
Vermin: Comparing Bed Bugs, Mites, and Fleas
Identifying featuresBed bugsMitesFleas
size5-7 mm0.1-0.5 mm1-3.5 mm
colourbrown, reddish-brownWhiteyellowish, yellow-brown
body shapeflat, roundedoval to elongatedlaterally flattened
Symptoms+ Bite wounds+ Breathing problems+ Stitches
+ red wheals+ Itching+ reddish papules
+ severe itching+ Allergies+ Itching
Circumstantial evidence+ black droppings+ tiny fecal particles+ jumping fleas
+ red blood stains+ Eggs, larvae in bed crevices
+ Moulting residues+ dark fecal pills
odorrepulsive, sweetno smellno smell

Did you get the information in this table on the right track? Then please take a look at the pictures below. The images show bed bugs, mites and fleas in comparison. You can read more detailed information with useful tips for a precise identification of the vermin in the following sections.

Recognize bed bugs

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are nocturnal bloodsuckers and masters of camouflage. The crawling insects have a flat-oval body shape and move forward with 6 hairy legs. The parasites are activated by the body heat released from sleeping people and the exhaled CO2. In search of a blood meal, bed bugs leave their hiding place, crawl around on their skin and bite. The bed bug rarely hits a blood vessel immediately. As a result, the characteristic bug streets with bite wounds arranged in rows arise. Uncovered and covered body regions are affected:

  • Neck, shoulders
  • Face, neck
  • poor
  • legs
  • Feet

Bed bug bites are not painful. However, the victims suffer from red swelling and itching the next day. If there are also 0.5-1 mm small excrement particles in bed, under carpets or behind wallpaper, there are hardly any doubts about the bed bug infestation. Blood stains and moults are additional indicators, but they can also have other causes. If, on the other hand, you notice a repulsive, sweet smell in the bedroom, you need to act immediately. Bed bugs stink to heaven. The larger the population, the more bestial the smell.

Recognize mites


White bugs in bed are mostly a population of house dust mites (Dermatophagoides). Use a magnifying glass to identify the pests. The white, tiny body is covered with bristles. A finely striped body shell can be seen under the bristles. Mites cavort in the highest concentration in mattresses and pillows. The feces as an aid to identification also require looking through a strong magnifying glass. One gram of house dust can contain up to 250,000 such excrement particles.

Dust mites in bed neither sting nor bite. Human skin flakes are on the menu of pests, which are found in large quantities in mattresses, pillows and duvets. When looking for food at night, there is direct skin contact with the involuntary human donor. For most people, this works out fine. Sometimes white bugs in bed have unpleasant consequences. Allergy sufferers suffer from asthma or dermatitis when they have to spend the whole night in the company of mites.

Recognize fleas

Does jumping vermin in bed rob you of a well-deserved sleep? Then you are dealing with fleas. The main suspect is the human flea (Pulex irritans) from the large family of fleas. Other candidates are the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) and the dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis). The blood-sucking parasites are characterized by their impressive bounce. The wingless bodies are equipped with strong hind legs that allow jumping distances of up to one meter.

A typical distinguishing feature is a robust exoskeleton. The yellowish-brown body wears armor made of shingled chitin plates. Because of this, you can rarely crush a flea between your fingers. Stinging bugs in bed are usually fleas because the parasites sting rather than bite like bed bugs do.

Where do bugs in bed come from?

The fight against bugs in bed becomes a vicious circle if you don't identify and eliminate the cause. In particular, you can avoid biting and stinging vermin if you know the following three most common causes:

Cause No. 1 - Willingness to travel


Bed bugs are not native to our regions, but they are still widespread. The reason is the pronounced willingness to travel. Germany and China regularly go head-to-head for the title of travel world champion. The downside of the coin is that returnees often have bed bugs in their luggage as stowaways. They have captured the beasts in hotels, holiday homes or sleeping cars. Bed bugs are often uninvited travel companions, especially for backpackers who sleep in a different place every night.

Cause # 2 - used goods

Used furniture, antiquarian books, old carpets and second-hand clothing are often contaminated by vermin. Fatally, fleas can starve for weeks and months without being harmed. Bed bugs can even do without a blood meal for up to 1.5 years. The parasites wait patiently until a carefree buyer takes the used goods home uncontrolled and without cleaning.

Cause # 3 - pets, bird nests, nesting boxes

Bugs jumping in bed are usually a souvenir from your pets. Cunning fleas use dogs and cats as a convenient means of transport into the house. People can catch the pests while gardening, because bird nests and nesting boxes are popular retreats for bed bugs, fleas and mites.


Frankfurt Airport is showing the way. For concerned travelers, trained noses are available on four legs to track down imported bed bugs. Upon request, dog handler Larry Hudson comes with his detection dog team. Together, the specialists carefully search for suspicious items of luggage. In Berlin, pest control agent Adam Tesmer has his Terrier Taylor in tow, who shows the presence of bed bugs with an unerring instinct.

How can you fight vermin in bed?


Identifying vermin in bed is just the prologue for effective control. Have you exposed the culprits who are robbing you of your sleep? Then specific methods are available to you as a counter-offensive. The following table provides an overview of how you can successfully control bed bugs, mites and fleas:

Bed bugsMitesFleas
ExterminatorVentilationSucking with a HEPA filter
Heat (50 ° Celsius)Wash at 60 ° CelsiusWash with washing powder, salt, vinegar
Cold (-18 ° Celsius)Freeze pillowClean the mattress with a steam cleaner
Sucking with a HEPA filterTreat pets
Treat the mattress with a steam cleanerSet up a flea trap
New mattress every 7 years

The control measures mentioned deliberately avoid the use of pesticides of all kinds. A chemical spray against vermin in the immediate vicinity harbors health risks for you and your family that go far beyond redness, swelling and itching.


Bed bugs do not transmit disease

The good news for those affected is that bed bugs are not carriers of disease. Bite marks, skin swellings and itching are very uncomfortable. However, like ticks, the beasts don't have viruses in their luggage. Usually, bed bug bite wounds can be treated well with over-the-counter ointments. Excruciating itching is relieved by active ingredients such as cortisone. If, on the other hand, there is massive swelling and unbearable itching, it may be an allergic reaction. In this case, the family doctor should be contacted.

Fight bed bugs


Have you identified bed bugs as bed bugs? Then you have tough opponents to deal with. The experts from the Federal Environment Agency urgently advise against private experiments with home remedies or pesticides. Recognized researchers have found that bed bugs have become resistant to numerous commercially available insecticides. To make matters worse, the countless eggs in your bed cannot be destroyed by any known means. In the face of such a persistent squadron, laypeople are at a loss.

In an emergency, please contact a certified pest controller or exterminator. The professionals use a sophisticated combination process to combat bed bugs. With the help of special equipment, the room temperature in the bedroom is heated up to 55 ° Celsius. The metabolism of bed bugs breaks down at temperatures as low as 45 ° Celsius and the vermin die.

Areas in the bedroom that are difficult to heat, such as carpets, laminate or PVC, are first heated to 35 ° Celsius to mobilize hidden bed bugs. This trick uses the reflex mechanism with which the vermin reacts to moderate increases in temperature because it smells a human blood donor. Instead of a blood meal, however, the exterminator waits in front of the hiding place with a special spray that is fatal to bed bugs.

The downside of the coin is that the hidden eggs cannot be destroyed with the combination process. It is therefore necessary to wait some time until the larvae hatch and the control can be used again. This is the reason why vermin extermination in bed can take many weeks and months.

Support professional pest control

With effective immediate measures, those affected by a bed bug plague can help professionals fight it. This makes sense because in this way you are helping to reduce the use of insecticides and eliminate the plague more quickly. The experts from the Federal Environment Agency recommend the following methods, among others, in an extensive flyer:

  • Freezing : freeze infected objects for 3 days at -18 ° Celsius
  • Heating up : put contaminated mattresses, pillows and bed linen in the sauna for 1 hour at 50 ° Celsius
  • Sucking : Suck up bed bugs with a vacuum cleaner, close the bag tightly, freeze for 24 hours and dispose of it

It is important to note that you do not bring any objects from the bedroom into neighboring rooms. In this way, you worsen the bedbug infestation because the bugs can spread explosively there.

Fighting mites in bed


Fresh air is anathema to mites in bed. Daily ventilation is therefore a must if you want to get rid of the vermin. The bed may only be made after it has been aired so that any moisture that has accumulated during the night can escape. The following measures have proven to be effective in practice if you want to fight the small vermin in bed without using toxic spray:

  • Make fresh bed sheets regularly
  • Wash used bed linen at 60 °
  • Just uncover the bed in the morning, ventilate it well, then shake it up
  • Wash decorative pillows, cuddly toys or put them in the freezer
  • Vacuum the bedroom every day with a vacuum cleaner and particulate filter (HEPA filter)

If the mites get too restless in bed linen and pillows, the pests pull back into the mattress. To get rid of the rabble here, you can have the mattress cleaned every three months. This measure only curbs mite infestation. Experts assume that a mattress will have a maximum of up to 1.5 million mites after five to seven years, which makes replacement advisable. You can solve the problem more effectively and ultimately cheaper with a waterbed.

Getting rid of fleas in bed

Identifying jumping vermin in bed as fleas can be done in a few minutes. The procedure takes much longer to successfully combat the bloodsuckers without chemicals. The table above lists tried and tested methods that you should apply in a meaningful sequence of steps and at short time intervals. How to get rid of fleas in bed:

  1. Mix washing powder with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 good dash of vinegar
  2. Peel off bed linen and wash at 60 ° with the washing powder mixture
  3. Take the mattress out of the bed and treat it with a steam cleaner
  4. Bed frames, rugs, floors, walls and curtains vacuum with a vacuum cleaner
  5. Take the vacuum cleaner bag out of the device, tie it tightly, freeze it overnight and dispose of it in the residual waste bin

Repeat this process every 3 to 5 days for a period of 8 weeks. Such a long period of time ensures that the larvae hatch from existing eggs and are captured by the control.

Supportive measures

Do you share your life with a dog or a cat? Then you probably owe the blood-sucking bedfellows to your four-legged friend. In parallel to fighting vermin in bed, you should therefore treat your pet with an anti-flea product from the vet. Please wash dog and cat blankets every few days with the mixture of washing powder, salt and vinegar.

A flea trap serves as a control instrument and at the same time reduces the infestation pressure. You can build the trap yourself. To do this, fill a shallow bowl with water, add one to two tablespoons of dish soap and stir the liquid. Place the bowl on the floor next to your bed and point a lamp on it. The fleas are attracted to the light, hop into the trap and sink because the detergent has reduced the surface tension of the water. Experience has shown that lamps with a yellow-green light source attract significantly more vermin.

frequently asked Questions

How do you recognize bugs in bed?


Bite marks, stings, and itching are the first signs of bugs in bed. Since bed bugs and the like are nocturnal, you will seldom catch the pests in the act. You can identify an infestation by carefully inspecting your bed and bedroom. Be on the lookout for dung crumbs, red blood stains, tiny scales, and tiny eggs or cream-colored larvae in any hidden, dark places.

Is there a bug spray in bed?

Insecticides against vermin in bed are available from specialist retailers in numerous versions. When using it in bed and bedroom, the chemical and health-endangering components, some of which are unclear, should be considered. A bed bug spray in particular is only effective if it is sprayed directly onto the insects. Applying the expensive agent to hiding places, nests and walkways is unsuccessful, it only pollutes the room air. Furthermore, the eggs are immune to any spray.

How long will it take to get bed bug free?

Combating a bed bug infestation usually requires several treatments at two-week intervals. Depending on the intensity of the infestation and your cooperation, it can take three to six months for your bed to be declared a bug-free zone.

What can I do to avoid bringing bed bugs into my bedroom when I'm on vacation?

When you arrive in your hotel room, you should never unpack your luggage in the immediate vicinity of your bed. Any bed bugs are just waiting to crawl into your suitcase. Keep your luggage tightly locked during your vacation. Check your bed and room regularly for signs of dropping crumbs or dead bugs in cracks. When you return home, ideally store your suitcases as far away from the bedroom as possible.

Are bugs in bed a sign of poor hygiene?

No. Infestation with vermin in the bed is not directly related to cleanliness. Bed bugs get into the house through luggage, old furniture and junk. Mites are also present where there is daily cleaning and vacuuming. Annoying fleas cheekily invade living spaces, regardless of the hygienic condition.


Double-sided adhesive strips are a good tool if you want to identify bugs in bed. Attach adhesive strips to the bed frame, headboard and feet. The parasites get stuck on their nightly forays and can be identified beyond doubt.