Bed Worms & Mattress worms: Causes and How to get rid of them

Feeling a little itchy at night? Got some mysterious bites you can’t explain? Before you blame your partner’s cold feet, you may want to check for some uninvited guests in your sheets – bed worms!

These pesky little night crawlers burrow into mattresses and can make sleep miserable. While bed worms might sound like a myth, these mattress worms are very real. And they’re hungry for your skin flakes and hair follicles!

If you’re already getting the heebie-jeebies, don’t wiggle out of bed yet. We’ve got the inside scoop on identifying bed worms, their horrifying habits, and most importantly – how to evict them from your sheets for good!

We’ll uncover what attracts bed worms in the first place and simple solutions to get rid of them. With a few cleaning tweaks and targeted treatments, you’ll be snoozing worm-free again soon. No need to lose sleep over a few tiny squirmers!

So say goodbye to bedtime bites and get ready to worm-proof your mattress. By the end, your bed will be pest-free so you can rest easy again. Let’s put these mattress worms to bed once and for all!

Bed Worms
Bed Worms

What are bed worms?

Bed worms, or mattrrss worms, can be found in different dark and humid places within a household, although they are not exclusive to beds. They have a particular affinity for natural fabrics like wool and silk, commonly found in bedding materials.

The life cycle of bed worms or mattress worms typically consists of four stages:

  1. Eggs: The eggs are tiny, about the size of a pinhead, and are usually clustered together in groups of 40 to 50.
  2. Larvae: The larvae hatch from the eggs and resemble pale, worm-like creatures. They are the stage of the life cycle where they actively feed and grow.
  3. Pupae: After a period of feeding and growth, the larvae enter the pupal stage. At this stage, they transform into a more developed form, characterized by a dark pupa with a recognizable hard shell.
  4. Adults: Once the transformation is complete, the pupae emerge as adult insects. The appearance of the adult insects can vary depending on the specific species, but may be reddish-brown and approximately 0.50 inches (1.27 cm) long.

Bed worms can be attracted to your living space and beds for various reasons, including:

  • Dirty living conditions, including an unclean bed and laundry.
  • Humid and unclean areas such as the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Cracks on walls, window frames, or door frames that serve as entry points.
  • Pets that are not treated with antiparasitic agents, as they can bring in larvae or eggs.
  • Houseplants, which can harbor larvae or eggs.
  • Spilled drinks and dropped food that provide a food source for larvae.
  • Body oil, sweat, and dead skin cells on bedding materials, which larvae feed on.

There are primarily two ways for bed worms to infest a mattress.

  • Laying eggs on the bed and bedding: Female insects may lay their eggs directly on the mattress or other bedding materials, leading to an infestation.
  • Transfer from infected individuals or pets: In the case of pinworms, for example, the worms can be transferred to the sheets when infected individuals or pets come into contact with them.

If you have a preference for organic materials such as silk, wool, leather, fur, or feathers, it’s important to be aware that bed worms have an affinity for these materials as well. Regularly changing, ventilating, and washing bedding can help prevent infestations and minimize the presence of these pests.

Body PartDescription
SizeApproximately 4 to 5 millimeters (0.16 to 0.20 inches) in length
SegmentsHead, Thorax, Abdomen
HeadSmall with compound eyes and short, segmented antennae
MouthpartsPiercing-sucking mouthparts with a proboscis for feeding on blood
ThoraxMiddle segment with three pairs of jointed legs
AbdomenElongated, covered with overlapping plates (sclerites)
ColorationReddish-brown (color may vary)
bed bug anatomy

Where Do Mattress Worms Come From?

Before treating an infestation, it helps to understand where bed worms originate from in the first place:

  • Introduced from other items – Mattress mites often transfer from upholstered furniture, rugs, crowded closets, etc.
  • Brought in from outside – Mites cling to clothing and propagate in warm conditions.
  • Spread from person to person – Mites travel on humans and proliferate where we sleep.
  • Ideal habitat – Mattresses provide warmth, humidity, and food mites need to thrive.
  • Lack of cleaning – Infrequent washing of bedding allows mite populations to explode.
  • Age of mattress – Older mattresses accumulate more mites, allergens, and waste over time.

With some diligent detective work, you can likely pinpoint the source of mattress worms. This will help you eliminate the origin and properly clean to prevent future infestations.

What are the different types of bed worms on my mattress?

When it comes to the presence of worms or insect larvae on your mattress, there are a few different types that you may encounter. These include:

1. Carpet Beetle Larvae

Carpet beetles are common household pests that infest various areas, including mattresses. The larvae of carpet beetles are small, usually about 1/8 to 1/4 inch long, and have a worm-like appearance. They are covered in tiny bristles and have a range of colors, such as brown, tan, or white with brown stripes. Carpet beetle larvae feed on natural fibers like wool, silk, feathers, and fur.

2. Clothes Moth Larvae

Clothes moths are known for infesting clothing and fabrics, and their larvae can also be found in mattresses. The larvae are small, cream-colored worms with a slender shape. They can measure up to 1/2 inch long. Clothes moth larvae primarily feed on natural fibers like wool, fur, feathers, and silk.

3. Bedbug Nymphs

While bedbugs are not technically worms, they are a common pest found in mattresses and can be mistaken for worms at certain stages of their life cycle. Bedbug nymphs are smaller and lighter compared to adult bedbugs. They are about the size of a pinhead and appear pale or translucent. As they feed and grow, they go through several molts, gradually darkening in color.

It’s important to note that these “bed worms” are not actually worms but larvae of insects that infest mattresses. Identifying the specific type of larvae can be challenging without a closer inspection or the help of a professional pest control service. If you suspect an infestation, it is advisable to consult with an expert to properly identify the larvae and devise an appropriate treatment plan.

Preventing infestations of these larvae on your mattress involves maintaining cleanliness and hygiene in your living space, regularly washing and changing bedding, vacuuming regularly, and reducing clutter. If you suspect an infestation, professional pest control may be necessary to eliminate the pests effectively.

What causes bed worms on a mattress and bedsheets?

Before treating an infestation, it’s good to understand what causes bed worms on a mattress in the first place. Some common causes include:

  • Transfer – Bed worms spread from other infested items like furniture, clothing, pillows and blankets.
  • Ideal habitat – Mattresses offer warmth, humidity, darkness, and food that mites need to thrive.
  • Exposure – Spending many hours in bed creates more opportunities for mites to bite and spread to humans.
  • Hygiene – Irregular washing of sheets and infrequent mattress cleaning allows mite populations to grow unchecked.
  • Secondhand mattresses – Used mattresses may already contain established mite colonies.
  • Proximity to pets – Pets can transfer mites from their fur and surroundings to bedding.
  • Age of mattress – Mattresses 5-10 years old contain more accumulated mites, waste, and allergens.

Understanding root causes like these can help you find and eliminate the original mite infestation sources. Then you can take steps to make your mattress and bedding less hospitable environments for future bed worm colonization.

How to get rid of bed worms from a mattress & bed sheets?

how to clean your mattress from bed bugs
how to clean your mattress from bed bugs

Kicking bed worms out of your mattress and sheets for good requires diligence, but it can be done! Follow these key steps to successfully get rid of bed worms:

Treat Mattresses Thoroughly

  • Strip mattress down fully and vacuum all surfaces, tufts, and sides using brush and crevice tools. This removes worms, eggs, and waste.
  • Use steam cleaning to penetrate deep into mattress fibers and seams to kill mites on contact.
  • Apply worm-killing powders like diatomaceous earth or boric acid in crevices. Avoid inhaling.
  • Treat with natural mite-proofing sprays using ingredients like tea tree, eucalyptus, or lavender oil.
  • Encase mattress in a bed bug-proof cover to seal in and starve any remaining mites.

Sanitize All Bedding and Fabrics

  • Wash all sheets, covers, pillowcases on hottest water setting and dry on high heat to kill mites.
  • Add borax or boric acid laundry booster to kill mites and remove allergens.
  • Use acaricide detergent that contains benzyl benzoate to clean fabrics and repel mites.
  • Spray mite-killing solutions on pillows and allow to dry before covering.
  • Wash bed skirts, blankets, and other textiles in hot water and borax.

Create an Unfavorable Environment

  • Reduce indoor humidity below 50% to discourage mites that require moisture.
  • Frequently vacuum and dust hard surfaces with acaricides.
  • Apply food-grade diatomaceous earth powder to carpets. Let sit before vacuuming up.
  • Encase box spring and pillows. Limit stuffed furniture in bedrooms.
  • Use air filters and ventilate rooms to decrease mite allergens.

With diligence and repeated thorough cleaning of your mattress, bedding, and bedroom, you can clear out bed worm infestations and prevent their return. Be sure to properly dispose of any contaminated materials that cannot be salvaged.

Frequently Asked Questions on Bed Worms

Are bed worms dangerous or harmful?

Bed worms are not typically dangerous or harmful to humans. While they may be an unwelcome presence in your bed, they do not pose any significant health risks. However, addressing their presence and ensuring a clean sleeping environment is advisable to maintain comfort and hygiene.

Do bed worms bite?

Bed worms, such as carpet beetle larvae and other common household pests, do not typically bite humans. However, they may cause skin irritation or allergies in some individuals due to their tiny hairs or bristles. If you experience any discomfort or suspect an infestation, it’s advisable to clean and disinfect your bedding and consult a pest control professional if necessary.

Can bedbugs look like bedworms?

Bedbugs and bedworms are distinct pests with different appearances. Bedbugs are small, flat, reddish-brown insects that feed on blood and can leave itchy bite marks. Bedworms are not a common term, but if you’re referring to small white worms in your bed, they are likely carpet beetle larvae and not bedbugs. These larvae are not blood-feeding insects and have a different appearance.

Why is there a black worm in my bed?

A black worm in your bed may have accidentally found its way indoors, possibly through an open window or door. It’s important to remove the worm from your bed and ensure your bedroom is properly sealed to prevent future intrusions. Additionally, inspect your bedding for any signs of pests or insects that may have attracted the worm.

What are bed worms attracted to?

Bed wroms are attracted to the warmth and carbon dioxide exhaled by humans, making them seek out sleeping individuals as hosts. They are also drawn to the scent of human skin and sweat, which helps them locate their feeding source. Additionally, bed worms are attracted to the presence of other bed bugs, as they release pheromones to communicate and aggregate in infested areas.

What are the little tiny white worms on my bed?

The little tiny white worms in your bed are likely carpet beetle larvae. These larvae are common household pests and feed on various materials like fabric, hair, and dead insects, which may explain their presence in your bed. To address this issue, thoroughly clean your bedding and bedroom, and consider using pest control methods to prevent further infestations.

Do Bed Bugs Ever Look Like Worms?

No, bed bugs do not look like worms. Bed bugs are small, flat, and oval-shaped insects, typically reddish-brown, with six legs. They are entirely distinct in appearance from worms, which are elongated, segmented, and lack the insect features of a head, legs, and antennae.


Discovering that your mattress or sheets are home to thousands of nearly invisible worms and mites is undoubtedly unsettling. But with the right knowledge and techniques, you can successfully evict these uninvited bedtime pests for good.

Now that you know precisely how to identify, treat, and prevent infestations by mattress worms and dust mites, you can rest assured they won’t interrupt your slumber again. Follow the comprehensive cleaning, laundering, and pest-proofing steps outlined here to rid your bed of worms and keep them away in the future.

With diligence and patience, you can create a clean, hygienic, and inhospitable mattress environment that deters these pesky bed worms. Then you can have sweet dreams knowing it’s only you counting sheep at night – and no microscopic spiders, mites, or woolly worms! Never let the bed worms bite again, and wake up each morning with clarity and peace knowing your bed is pest-free.

Reference – wikipedia

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