Also known as bed worms, mattress worms are several species of insect larvae that can live in your mattress. They feed on dead skin cells, sweat, and even other pests. Depending on the pest you are dealing with, these insects can reproduce quickly.
If you are dealing with mattress worms or if you have ever wondered how to get rid of mattress worms, then this article is for you.
What In The World Are Mattress Worms?
Mattress worms are the larval stage of insects like carpet beetles or flour bugs.
If you’re like most people, you might have heard of mattress worms but never thought they could be a real issue. However, mattress worms are more common than you may think. But what are mattress worms and why might you be dealing with them?
These are all great questions.
As we mentioned briefly above, mattress worms are the larvae of several different species of insects, the most common being carpet beetle larvae, clothes moth larvae, Indian meal moth larvae, and flour beetle larvae.
Depending on the pest, different types of mattress worms can feed on different things like sweat, skin, dust, fabrics, and even other pests like insects.
In order to get rid of mattress worms, you must first know which type of pest you are dealing with specifically.
What Are Larvae?
When discussing mattress worms, you will often hear people mention larvae. Larvae are the immature stage of insects. The larval stage is the most vulnerable part of an insect’s life cycle. Insects may have multiple larval stages before they mature into adults. These stages can occur in different places depending on the species of insect. For example, a mosquito has four distinct phases in its life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.
The eggs are laid in water where they hatch into larvae that live underwater until they need to breathe air again and emerge as adults that fly around looking for food and mates. However, not all insects go through all these stages. Some skip one or two stages altogether while others go through them very quickly, like ants which spend only 24 hours in their larval stage before transforming into pupae after which they become adults within another week or so (depending on temperature).
Carpet Beetle Larvae
Carpet beetles are a common type of pest you may find in your carpets, along curtains, in furniture, and even in your mattress. These small insects look like small brown beetles with long antennae and are often mistaken for ticks or mites. They feed on dead insects, pet dander, and human hair and can cause allergic reactions if they bite people or pets. They can also cause damage to fabrics such as wool, silk, or leather if left untreated for too long.
When carpet beetles lay their eggs, their larvae can hatch and begin crawling around your mattress. This can lead you to discover mattress worms.
Clothes Moth Larvae
Clothes moth larvae look like tiny worms or caterpillars that can grow to be about 1/4 inch long. They have six legs at each end of their bodies and have tan to gray colored bodies with brown heads and legs which help them blend into the fabric they are feeding on. Clothes moth larvae come from adult moths. One of the best ways to manage clothes moth larvae when they become mattress worms is to get rid of adult moths that are laying their eggs in seams and areas of your mattress or bedding.
Indian Meal Moth Larvae
Indian meal moth larvae are a type of worm that feeds off of grains, nuts, and seeds. They are native to Asia but were introduced to North America through trade routes in the 19th century. These pests can cause significant damage to food stores if they are not kept under control because they eat almost anything that contains starch or sugar. These worms can be found in pantries, mills, grain bins, and other places where food is kept for long periods of time. They may also be found outside in bird nests or other natural areas where seeds may be present.
Once in a while, Indian Meal Moth larvae can be found in mattresses. This is especially true if you eat in bed or have left food near your bed or even in your bedroom.
Flour Beetle Larvae
Flour beetles are tiny insects that infest food products, including grains and cereals. These small insects have the ability to reproduce quickly and cause a considerable amount of damage to your home. While they do not pose a serious threat to humans, they can cause significant damage to your property.
These pests have a knack for reproducing in large numbers and can quickly spread throughout your home, sometimes even winding up in your mattress in the form of mattress worms. They prefer dark areas such as basements or attics where they can stay warm during the winter months. If you see any signs of flour beetles in your home, it is important to take action immediately before the infestation spreads further.
Fly larvae are the immature stage of houseflies or other fly species. They feed on decaying organic matter, such as garbage and animal feces. They do not have wings and do not move very quickly, but they can crawl over long distances to find food or shelter.
Fly larvae are often referred to as maggots. Maggots are the same as fly larvae, except they live in rotting meat instead of decaying organic matter like garbage or animal feces.
Are Mattress Worms Dangerous?
While mattress worms themselves may not be dangerous, their presence in your mattress can lead to more severe allergies, breathing difficulties, and even allergic reactions if the pests bite. The good news is that most people don’t suffer from serious reactions from being bitten by insects, while others may experience mild swelling at the site of the bite, a rash, or itching around the area where they were bitten.
The good news is that the most common types of mattress worms come from the insects listed above, and these insects rarely bite humans.
But why might you have mattress worms in the first place? Keep reading to find out!
Why You Might Have Mattress Worms
Mattress worms are common in humid environments but might also be common in unclean environments.
Seeing as mattress worms are the larvae of several different kinds of insects that have laid eggs near your mattress, it comes as no surprise you may have gotten these worms from invading pests.
Insects like flour beetles, clothes moths, Indian meal moths, and carpet beetles can get into your home through vulnerabilities in siding or cracks and crevices along walls.
Mattress worms could also enter your home through infested pantry foods, especially if you are dealing with pests like Indian meal moths or flour beetles.
When these pests enter your home, they can lay eggs in different areas. The eggs hatch into tiny white maggots and feed on whatever they find. This can be flour, sugar, or other ingredients in your kitchen cupboard, or any kind of meat in your fridge or freezer. Sometimes, as we mentioned, these worms will even find their way into your bedroom and make your bed their home.
Some common signs of mattress worms in your bed could be small holes in your sheets or pillow cases. You might also notice waste from these larvae, dead larvae, or adult beetles or moths in your bedroom once these pests have pupated.
Other causes for mattress worms could be an unsanitary bedroom or mattress. This is especially true if you are not washing your sheets frequently or you eat in bed, leading to crumbs and food particles left behind.
If flies are the cause of your mattress worms, you could be dealing with flesh flies or phorid flies, which are attracted to human waste, sweat, garbage, and filth. If you’ve got a dirty mattress then these pests will happily lay their eggs there to hatch and feed.
For the most part, mattress worms are small and difficult to see. Their presence is usually not noticeable until you see them crawling out of the mattress or pillow case while you’re sleeping at night or when changing your sheets during the day.
When looking for signs of mattress worms, look along the crevices of your mattress, investigate your bedding, look over your pillows, and even investigate headboards and bedroom furniture for signs of adult bugs like beetles.
Remember, mattress bugs may not only be living in your mattress, and if you have them in your mattress it is time to check other areas of your home.
How To Get Rid Of Mattress Worms
Unlike bedbugs, mattress worms are not attracted to human blood.
Mattress worms are common and certainly unnerving, but the good news is they are not dangerous and they are relatively easy to get rid of.
There are several ways to get rid of mattress worms. Insecticides can be used to kill them, including insecticides, natural products, home remedies, and even professional help.
Of course, not every solution will be right for you or your family, and the best method for how to get rid of mattress worms will depend on your situation and lifestyle. .
Insecticides are one of the most effective methods you can use to get rid of mattress worms. These products contain chemicals that kill insects by destroying their nervous system or digestive tract. The effectiveness of insecticides depends on how much time it takes for them to penetrate into the mattress where mattress worms live.
There are pros and cons to using insecticides, especially when it comes to using them around children and pets and when it comes to using them in areas you eat or sleep.
If you plan to use insecticides to get rid of mattress worms, be sure you do plenty of research. Also, be sure that the product you are using is safe to use on bedding. Either way, it is always important to read the directions, keep insecticides out of reach of children, and use the product only as directed.
Natural Products: There are many natural products available that will work well against these pesky pests. Some of these include Borax mixed with sugar water, vanilla extract mixed with vegetable oil, vinegar mixed with water, cedar chips, and diatomaceous earth (food grade). You can also use a combination of essential oils like peppermint oil, lavender oil, or lemon eucalyptus oil (just be sure not to use too much oil because it can stain fabrics).
Home remedies are often easy to use when you are in a bind, but they may not work as well as insecticides or natural products you purchase online or at your local supermarket. With that said, there are plenty of household ingredients you can use to help you get rid of or prevent mattress worms. If you are interested in using home remedies for mattress worm control, scroll down to that section of this article.
If you have tried everything else to get rid of mattress worms and still don’t see results within a few days then it may be time to hire a professional pest control company. However, for the most part, mattress worms are simple to manage and get rid of, and it’s all about just knowing which products will work best for your situation.
What Are The Best Products For Getting Rid Of Mattress Worms?
One of the best things you can do to get rid of mattress worms is to wash your bedding and dry it on high heat.
The best products for getting rid of mattress worms will be able to kill all types of pests, including those who have developed a resistance to insecticides. To get rid of mattress worms, you should use a combination of a pest control spray and pest control powders that are safe to use around people, pets, and in the bedroom.
While insecticides often work effectively, you can also use some natural products and remedies. We have listed some of the top-rated products according to experts below for how to get rid of mattress worms.
Wondercide Natural Products Indoor Pest Control Spray
Wondercide Indoor Pest Control Spray is a safe, non-toxic way to control pests in your home and can help protect against pests like mattress worms. This spray is also effective against bed bugs, fleas, ticks, ants, and other insects.
We like this product for indoor use because it is made with natural ingredients like essential oils. The spray contains no pesticides or chemicals of any kind. It’s safe for use around children and pets.
To get rid of mattress worms using Wondercide Natural Products Indoor Pest Control Spray, first remove all bedding from the mattress including sheets, blankets, pillows, and the mattress pad if you have one. If you have more than one infested mattress, spray them all at the same time using a separate bottle of Wondercide for each one.
Apply enough spray so that it will wet the entire surface of each mattress and then allow it to sit until dry. To help air dry the mattress you can use fans. We also suggest spraying this spray around walls, cracks, crevices, flooring, and around your bed frame.
Ortho Home Defense Max Indoor Insect Barrier
Ortho Home Defense Max Indoor Insect Barrier is a product that is designed to kill a number of different insects in your home. It contains permethrin, which is an insecticide that kills by affecting the nervous system of insects.
This product can be used on carpets, upholstery, along walls, on bed frames, and in other areas where pests are being seen. However, you should avoid using this spray directly on your mattress.
Instead, this spray should only be used on surfaces that can be washed with warm water and soap after. The spray should not come in contact with children or pets during the application or within 24 hours after application.
Safer Brand Indoor Pest Control Spray
Safer Brand Indoor Pest Control Spray is a non-toxic, odorless formula that kills mattress worms and the adults that bring them in, as well as other pests like fleas and cockroaches. This product is safe to use around children and pets, and it is specifically designed for indoor use.
You can use this product on mattresses, box springs, carpets, and other soft surfaces. You can also spray the inside walls of your home to kill beetles and moths that might be laying eggs that lead to mattress worms in your bed.
To get rid of mattress worms using Safer Brand Indoor Pest Control Spray, remove any bedding from the bed. Spray the mattress thoroughly with Safer Brand Indoor Pest Control Spray, making sure to saturate all areas where the worms may be hiding.
Let the mattress dry completely before replacing the bedding and sleeping on it again.
Raid Multi Insect Killer
Raid Multi Insect Killer is a spray that contains pyrethrins, which are insecticides derived from chrysanthemums. The active ingredient in this product kills many different types of insects, including mattress worms and adult pests.
When using this product to get rid of mattress worms, avoid spraying it directly on the mattress. Instead, spray this insecticide around potential entry points to keep pests at bay. You can also spray this product along the bed frame so long as you are careful.
Wear gloves and avoid sleeping on the bed immediately after spraying the insecticide. Instead, allow the spray to sit overnight and then wipe it down before remaking your bed and sleeping in it.
Harris Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer
Diatomaceous earth is a natural, non-toxic product that has been used for thousands of years to kill insects and other pests. It is made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic plants called diatoms.
Diatomaceous earth works by absorbing the oils that make up an insect’s exoskeleton and dehydrating them. This product is completely safe for humans, animals, and plants when used as directed.
To use this for getting rid of mattress worms, be sure to first strip your bed from the bedding, mattress, pillowcases, and pillows. Sprinkle the powder around your mattress and let it sit overnight. Do not sleep on the mattress. Then vacuum the powder up the next day.
In the meantime, wash and dry your bedding on high heat to kill any remaining mattress worms or eggs you may not be able to see.
Which Products Help To Prevent Mattress Worms?
Mattress encasements can help protect your mattress from mattress worms.
The best way to protect your beds from mattress worms is to use preventative products like repellents and ultrasonic sound devices. Other effective products could include mattress encasements. Mattress encasements are made of a special type of fabric that completely covers the mattress, including the sides and top.
The fabric is breathable and allows air circulation, but it is tight enough to prevent mattress worms and even other pests like bed bugs and dust mites from getting inside.
Take a look at some of the best preventative products you can use to help control and prevent mattress worms.
SafeRest Zippered Mattress Protector
The SafeRest mattresses protectors give you peace of mind as they help to keep your mattress hygienic and safe from any kind of infestation of mattress worms. These protectors are also very easy to use and can be washed at home without having to take them to the dry cleaners. The zippered closure makes it easy for you to put them on and take them off your mattress without having to worry about doing it right or getting stuck in the process.
The protectors work by creating a physical barrier between your mattress and other objects such as dust mites, bacteria, mold spores, or mattress worms. This barrier helps in preventing these foreign particles from coming into contact with your mattress.
SureGuard Mattress Encasement
SureGuard mattress encasements are constructed with triple-layer protection, which consists of a waterproof membrane, polyurethane laminate, and breathable fabric. They are soft and comfortable to sleep on while offering great protection against dust mites, bed bugs, mattress worms, and allergens.
The waterproof layer prevents liquids from penetrating into the mattress, while the polyurethane laminate layer prevents dust mites and pests from infesting your mattress. It also stops moisture from being trapped in the mattress. We also like that the breathable fabric layer allows you to sleep comfortably without feeling hot or sweaty at night.
Do It Yourself Methods For Getting Rid Of Mattress Worms
You can make your own mattress cleaning spray and pest repellent using household ingredients like essential oils.
There are many do it yourself methods for getting rid of mattress worms. These methods are easy and effective to use. Best of all, they are often the most cost-effective methods of pest control.
With that said, home remedies for getting rid of mattress worms often work best when used in conjunction with other methods and products, like those listed above.
How to use essential oils to get rid of mattress worms
There are several essential oils you can use to repel not only mattress worms but also other insects like spiders, gnats, fleas, roaches, and even pests like rats and mice.
You can make your own essential oil spray to repel and even kill mattress worms and eggs that lead to mattress worms using household ingredients. To do this, you will need essential oils like peppermint oil, cedarwood oil, citronella oil, lavender oil, tea tree oil, and eucalyptus oil. You can use any type of spray bottle to mix these oils in a ratio of 15 drops of oil and 2 cups of water.
Pour this mixture into the spray bottle and shake it well before using it. Spray this mixture onto your bedding, furniture, and carpeting surfaces to repel pests and get rid of mattress worms.
You can also use the below essential oils on their own to repel mattress worms.
- Peppermint oil
- Cedarwood oil
- Citronella Oil
- Lavender Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
- Eucalyptus oil
To use these oils alone, try saturating them in cotton balls and leaving these cotton balls around your room or beneath your bed to get rid of mattress worms.
Here are some other do-it-yourself methods for getting rid of mattress worms:
Vacuum the bed and mattress – Vacuum your bed and mattress thoroughly to remove any eggs or larvae that may be present. You can also sprinkle diatomaceous earth as long as it is food grade, along your mattress and then vacuum it. This is especially helpful if you are dealing with beetle larvae.
Next, wash and then dry your bedding on high heat. Be sure to wash all bedding in hot water if possible with plenty of detergents. Then dry it on high heat to kill any remaining eggs or larvae.
Make sure you also avoid eating in your bedroom. Clean up any spills or messes on the floor immediately that you know of, and if you do eat in your room be sure not to leave dirty dishes in your room overnight while you sleep.
Finally, make sure you seal up cracks and crevices in the walls behind baseboards or furniture with caulk. This can help keep pests out of your home that could wind up laying eggs, leading to mattress worms.
Getting Rid Of Mattress Worms Once And For All
Keeping your room and home clean is one of the best ways to prevent mattress bugs in the future.
Mattress worms are a common problem for people who live in humid climates, but they can also be a problem for those living in unsanitary conditions or for those who have unwittingly brought infested food or furniture into their homes.
Along with using the above products to get rid of mattress worms, we also suggest you follow the below expert tips for mattress worm removal.
The first step to getting rid of mattress worms is to wash all your linens in hot water. This will kill the eggs that are laid by the insects. You should also vacuum your mattress thoroughly and dispose of the vacuum bag in an outdoor garbage bin away from your home. Vacuuming is important because it will remove any adult insects that may be hiding in your mattress or box spring.
Mattress worms are not like bed bugs and are generally much easier to get rid of. They also often do not bite people or animals and do not live off of human hosts. For this reason, it is not likely you will need to get rid of your mattress to get rid of mattress bugs unless the infestation is quite severe.
For the most part, stripping your bed, vacuuming your mattress, washing linens, and then keeping a clean environment around your home and rooms will be enough to keep mattress worms at bay.
We hope this has been a helpful guide on how to get rid of mattress worms. What was your favorite home remedy listed above for getting rid of these pests?
Share your thoughts with us in the comment section. Thanks for reading!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.