Can Bed Bugs Live In Pillows

Can Bed Bugs Live In Pillows?

Bed bugs are small parasites often found to live in beds and mattresses. They usually hide in the darkest nooks of the mattress, and other furniture as well, depending on how widespread they are in a home.

Because these parasites are so skilled in hiding, it can be hard to even pinpoint the evidence bed bugs are living in your home. But, if you wake up with itchy, irritating bites on your skin, chances are you’re sharing the bed with bed bugs.

But, so far we’ve established that bed bugs can live in mattresses and beds. But, what about pillows? No one seems to address the possibility of bed bugs infesting the pillows, so we’ve decided to tackle this topic in detail. In the following paragraphs, we’ll see whether bed bugs can live in your pillows, and if so, how you can get rid of them. So, let’s get started!

Bed Bugs And Pillows

To answer the question of whether bed bugs can infest the pillows, we have to immediately say yes; bed bugs can, in fact, live in the pillows as well as the mattresses. Many people who have complained about having bed bugs said they woke up with bite marks on their face, neck, and shoulder area, which turned very itchy and irritated.

The appearance of the bite marks is one of the most common signs that you have pillow bed bugs. Bite marks can develop into small red bumps, which are known as wheals or papules. These bites often appear in a row, and you’re more likely to witness the bites than actually seeing the bug.

Bed Bugs And Different Types Of Pillows

Many people think that bed bugs cannot live in certain types of pillows. We’re here to see if that is true;

  • Bed bugs and regular pillows – Unfortunately, bed bugs can live in regular pillows without a problem. However, bed bugs tend to hide in the pillowcase rather than the stuffing itself.
  • Bed bugs and memory foam pillows – well, bed bugs can move around a memory foam pillow and live in the pillowcase. However, because memory foam pillows are denser and are better at weight distribution, the bugs might not be crushed by your head as you sleep. This could prevent blood stains or bed bug shells in and on the pillow.
  • Bed bugs and feather pillows – Unfortunately, bed bugs can also find their ways to feather pillows. Even though there isn’t anything, in particular, that attracts them to feather, they can live in such pillows too.

How Can I Be Sure There Are Bed Bugs In The Pillows?

So, how do you know you really have bed bugs in your pillows? Here are the main signs you’re dealing with a bed bug problem;

  • Identifying the bugs – before you come to any conclusions, it is essential to first identify the bugs. These bugs are small, 1/4th to 1/3rd of an inch long, and range between brownish and reddish color.
    They are more on the red color spectrum after they’ve had a meal (meaning biting you), and when such, they often double in size as well.
  • Checking your skin – after waking up, make sure to check your skin for any bite marks, bumps, redness, and irritation.
    If you suspect pillow bed bugs, there should be bite marks on your face, neck, shoulders, as well as skin irritation and itchiness. If the marks appear elsewhere on the body, chances are there are bed bugs in the mattress as well.
bite by bed bugs
Image Source: Terry Cralle

If this inspection and identification doesn’t bear fruit, we recommend you look for the following, more infestation-indicating signs;

  • Looking for bed bug eggs – one of the main reason bed bugs infest pillows is because pillows are a great spot for laying eggs.
    So, to really make sure you have bed bugs, try to look for small, white, oval-shaped eggs on the pillow, as well as inside the pillow. Sometimes the eggs don’t have to be on the pillow, but rather on the mattress, so make sure to check the rest of the sleeping surface as well.
    If you do find eggs, chances are that the bed bugs have been there for a few months and that they made themselves more than comfortable in your bed and pillows.
  • Checking for bed bug feces – check your pillows and the mattress for small black spots. If you notice such spots, chances are your whole sleeping area is infested with bed bugs.
    These spots are bed bug feces, and when in touch with the skin, they can cause irritation, redness, and even allergic reactions in people with sensitive skin.
  • Checking for blood stains – after biting you, bed bugs become swollen, reddish, and bloody. Sometimes, however, they don’t escape into hiding on time, and people when sleeping may crush them.
    So, if you notice small, bloody stains on your pillow or mattress, chances are you have bed bugs crawling in your bedding.
  • Identifying the bed bug scent – when in presence of bed bugs, you’ll notice the change of scent in the room where they’ve infested the furniture or the bedding.
    The scent is often a bit sweet, but also very musty. So, try to smell your pillows and the mattress, and see if there’s a sweet, musty scent to them. If so, you’re also in the presence of bed bugs, unfortunately.
  • Checking for dead beg bugs – while checking your pillows and the mattress, if you come across small, curled up shells, chances are you found dead bed bugs. Sometimes the shells are accompanied by some messy stains, which means the bug was squashed while it was still digesting.

How Can I Get Rid Of Bed Bugs In Pillows?

If you’re sure to have bed bugs in pillows, you might be tempted to throw away the pillows, remove the bedding from the mattress, wash everything thoroughly, and put it into the dryer on the high cycle. However, instead of throwing away infested pillows (which is a bad idea), we recommend the following;

  • Heat exposure – because bed bugs are sensitive to heat, we recommend you put the pillows into the dryer on high heat and let them toss around for at least half an hour.
    If the manufacturer’s instructions don’t recommend the pillows dry for such a long time, then follow the instructions. Either way, make sure the pillows are exposed to heat in the drying. This can kill the bed bugs, regardless of bed bug eggs, or fully grown bugs.
  • Washing – washing is a great way to get rid of bed bugs. We recommend you put infested pillows and bedding into a sealed bag and bring it to the washing machine.
    Then, put the pillows and the bedding inside the machine. Make sure to wash the pillows and the bedding on high heat. The water will drown the bugs, and detergent will surely kill them.
    If they do survive somehow, then the heat of the water will knock them out for good. Make sure to get rid of the bag you use for the pillows and the bedding, so you avoid re-infestation.
  • Using pesticide spray – using a pesticidal spray is one of the most common ways to get rid of bed bugs. Such sprays are useful because they kill the bugs on contact, and they stick around for a long time, repelling and killing the bugs for weeks to come.
    If you don’t want to use a spray, we recommend you try diatomaceous earth powder, or to hire an exterminator for heat treatment.
    If you don’t try any of these treatments, drying and washing won’t be enough. Your pillows will re-infest quickly, so make sure to not miss this step.
Know More Details on SayByeBugs

Tip: if you’re looking for a pesticide spray that will actually be effective, and won’t make the bed bugs immune to chemicals, we recommend you check out the SayByeBugs.

This spray is safe for the family and pets, while simultaneously designed to get rid of all bed bugs in your home. The spray is designed with a new ingredient list and improved formulation, unlike the regular, store-bought pesticides which are actually very harmful and non-target insecticides.

Reasons You Shouldn’t Throw Away Infested Pillows

Throwing away infested pillows is a bad idea for numerous reasons;

  • By carrying the pillows through the house, you’re increasing the risk of spreading the infestation from the pillows and the mattress to other furniture in the house.
  • Pillows are just a sign that your mattress is infested with bed bugs. So, instead of throwing the pillows away, you should treat them, while considering the mattress treatment as well.
  • Buying new pillows would just result in another pillow infestation because the old pillows were not the source of the infestation.
  • Buying new pillows isn’t cost-friendly, and you will need your money for the fight against bed bugs. Rather spend the money on hiring an exterminator, rather than new pillows.

However, if the idea of sleeping on pillows that used to be infested with bed bugs is repulsive to you, we recommend you pack the pillows into sealed bags, call an exterminator and consult on how to get rid of them. However, in no case should you be throwing the pillows in a random dumpster or leave them in front of your home or the basement.

You will just spread the infestation not only across your own home but other peoples’ homes too. People can carry bed bugs on their shoes and easily bring them inside their homes, and you don’t want to carry such a responsibility.

Final Thoughts

Bed bugs, unfortunately, don’t only live in mattresses and pillows. Female bed bugs may travel your entire home looking for a perfect hiding spot to lay eggs. Therefore, make sure to check the cracks in the walls, windows, and furniture. Observe the gaps between the carpet and the wall, as well as the gaps between the furniture and the wall.

Chances are bed bugs could be hiding in such places as well. That is why it is essential to clean the house regularly and thoroughly, vacuum at least twice a week, and avoid walking around the house in shoes. Try to observe your sleeping surface for a possible sign of bed bug infestation, and if you do suspect there are bed bugs in your bed, clean everything, and hire an exterminator.

Bed bugs are known to live in mattresses. But, what about pillows? Can they live there too? Let’s find out in this detailed insight!

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