How to Treat Bed Worms: Everything You Need to Know

If you have bed worms, you’re not alone. Bed worm infestations are becoming increasingly common in the United States and around the world. While bed worms don’t carry diseases, they can cause a lot of discomfort and sleepless nights. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about bed worms: what they look like, where they come from, how to treat them, and more!

What are bed worms?

Bed worms are a problem for many people, but there’s no need to worry about them. That said, the term “bed worm” is actually used by extension from several different pests who also have larvae that can be found under your skin or hair – these harmless creatures don’t always stay this way! But adults? They’re another matter entirely.

In this article, we’ll look at how we can eliminate them but first let’s learn about the different types of common bed worm.

Types of bed worms

Carpet Beetle Larvae

Carpet beetle larvae are tiny moths between 1/8 and 1/4 inches long that can be found in your bed or clothing. They have long hairs and brown, black, or yellow tones with stripes on their bodies to help them blend into the fabric they love so much – even when it’s against human skin!

The worst part about these pesky creatures? You might not even know what type of carpet beetle has infested you because many types look exactly alike. 

Clothes Moth Larvae

Clothes moth larvae love eating fabric. In fact, these larvae feed on anything from old clothes stored in your chest of drawers to furniture covered with upholstery insect control sprays! However, they will often leave behind an encouraging clue for you.

Most clothes moth larvae are no longer than 1/2 inches long and tend to be a creamy white with a brown head. They will leave trails of silk webbing and will line tunnels through your fabrics with silk. 


Now get ready because if you weren’t creeped out already, then you will now. 

Pinworms are tiny parasitic white worms that crawl out of the anus at night to breed and lay eggs on beds. These tiny worms can be seen as white pinpricks or thin threads, but what makes them so terrible is how easily infected they make people who encounter their excrement.

Pinworm infection typically presents itself through itching around your waistline (or lower abdomen) where these creatures like living; however, some may also experience muscle pain caused by inflammation.

Common causes for bed worms

A common question that comes up when talking about the causes is whether bed worms are contagious. So you’ll be glad to know you actually cannot catch them from another person or animal. 

However, they can spread quickly through an infested area. So once they’re inside the home, they’ll quickly lay eggs and start to multiply.

Here are some of the most common causes of an infestation.

1. Dirty Living Spaces

Bed worms wouldn’t find their way to your bed if they didn’t have a purpose. And the main reason is often dirt and food stains. It’s because these are the meals for bed worms.

Many of us have a tendency to eat on the bed while watching TV. Food fragments fall on the bed while we eat. That’s not all. Food stains can also be found on the bed from time to time.

The likes of carpet beetles and clothes moths thrive on these as food sources. They will chew through the stained area of your bed sheet, causing holes in it, once they are inside your bed.

Of course, with more expensive bed sheets, such as those made from silk as an example, then the greater the damage will be as these are easier for them to ruin.

But the problem doesn’t just stop at your bed, you know. If you have carpeting, rugs, and other soft fabrics that are dirty then this will act as a calling card to the worms who will see this as their next target.

That’s why, if your living space is messy and filthy, worms on the couch are conceivable.

2. Damp Rooms

The other main attraction for insects and pests to your house, aside from a filthy environment, is high dampness in rooms like the kitchen and bathroom.

Food waste, organic waste, and high dampness in a dirty kitchen and bathroom are ideal for insect breeding.

Tiny critters might sneak into the kitchen pantry and bathroom. They’ve also been known to visit bedrooms.

Although the larvae of these kitchen pests prefer to develop in foods that have been stored, you’d see them on your bed if there are food stains on it.

3. Cracks & Crevices On The Walls, Windows And Door Frames

Open doors and windows, as well as cracks and gaps on the walls, are two of the most common ways bed-worm-causing insects enter your house.

Some may even be brought into your house inadvertently. Adult carpet beetles, for example, can be found in the potted plants you bring inside your home.

Bed worm life cycle

The bed worm life cycle consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Let’s look at each stage in more detail. 


Bed worm eggs are very small (about the size of a pinhead), oval-shaped, and white in color, visually not too dissimilar to sesame seeds.

They are usually laid in groups of up to 50 on fabric, such as bedding or furniture. It takes about two weeks for the eggs to hatch, but depending on the temperature this can happen sooner.


Bed worm larvae are small, pale, and worm-like. They feed on blood from humans or animals. After feeding, they shed their skin and grow larger. This process is called molting. Bed worm larvae can molt up to five times before becoming adults over a process of about 35 days.

The time from egg to adult is generally between two and four months but can be longer under cool conditions.


The pupa is a transitional stage between the larva and adult bed worm. It is small, dark, and has a hard shell. Pupae are found in cocoons made of silk and feces and may be mistaken for adults. 


Adult bed worms emerge from pupae after about two weeks, mate, and then begin the cycle anew. The adult bed worm is reddish-brown in color and about half an inch long. They can live up to one year and feed on blood from humans or animals and can produce up to 500 eggs in their lifetime.

Tips on how to get rid of bed worms step by step

Realizing you need to treat your house for bed worms may seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually not that difficult if you follow these steps:

1. Remove clutter 

Bed worms thrive in cluttered environments, it gives them another hiding space. So the first step to repelling bed worms is to remove all unnecessary clutter from your home. 

This means taking everything out of your closets, drawers, and cabinets and thoroughly cleaning them—inside and out. Be ready to part with old clothes, shoes, and other belongings. It could be the difference-maker.

2. Air & Wash Your Sheets

Air & Wash Your Sheets

Your old clothes, dirty laundry, and bedsheets are the perfect place for bed worms to hide and lay their eggs. If you think you might have bed worms, wash any suspect belongings in hot water (above 130°F) and dry them on high heat. 

Make sure to also clean rugs, pillows, and other soft items you have on or near your bed. As well as this be sure to clean places your pets rest like a dog or cat bed.

It may be worth taking a trip to see a professional dry cleaning company when doing your washing as they will be able to get rid of most bed worms with their larger industrial-grade cleaning equipment.

Finally and a little unconventionally, you can also toss things in the freezer for a few days to kill any critters that might be hanging out. 

3. Vacuum Top To Bottom

To get bed worms out of your home, you need to keep your living space as clean as possible and that means vacuuming regularly. The more regular the better.

In addition to not regularly vacuuming, another habit that can easily attract bed bugs is eating and drinking in your bedroom. Spilled drinks and food crumbs may seem harmless but it leads to a dirty bed and this is one of the common ways bed bugs start. 

Vacuum thoroughly everywhere in your bedroom, from the floor to the ceiling and everywhere in between. So make sure you move furniture and vacuum behind. Vacuum closets and other rooms in your home as well. Once done, go over hard surfaces with a damp cloth.

4. Spray Down Any Cracks

Remember bed worms are tiny insects that can fit through tiny cracks and crevices. So in order to prevent this, you’ll need to make sure everything is sealed.

You can use spray foam insulation to fill in any spaces around door frames, windows, baseboards, and other areas.

Mastic caulking is also an option and can be used to fill in any gaps or cracks around your bed. This will help kill bed worms where they hide and prevent them from coming back.

5. Eliminate the Host Infestation

The most important step in getting rid of bed worms is to eliminate the host adult infestation. This means removing any bedding, clothing, or other items that might be harboring young bed worms from your home and if certain items can’t be cleaned like your mattress, you’ll need to, unfortunately, get rid of it. The same goes for couches, chairs, and other pieces of furniture. 

Once all external threats have been eliminated, make sure to continue taking steps towards managing internal ones by following the steps we’ve outlined like cleaning regularly & washing bed sheets weekly.

Now that you know how to get rid of bed worms, make sure to follow these steps as soon as possible to prevent an infestation in your home. Taking these measures will see you getting a good night’s rest in no time.

Suggested products to remove bed worms from your mattress, sheets or bed

There are predominately two ways to eliminate bed worms, these being naturally or chemically. Let’s look at both in detail.

Natural remedies for bed worm removal

Diatomaceous earth

This powder is made from the fossilized remains of algae and is a natural bed worm killer. By absorbing the oils and fats from an insect’s exoskeleton, it dehydrates and kills the insect by desiccating it.

Food-grade DE should be dusted around the bed, in cracks and crevices, and on bedding. It can also be added to vacuum cleaner bags to help with bed worm removal.

Earthborn Elements are one of the best-trusted brands on the market with their 100% Pure Freshwater Amorphous Silica edition.

Plant oils

Plant based essential oils such as thymol and peppermint can be used to treat infested fabric. But a word of caution: Always test an essential oil on a small, hidden area of fabric before using. Some oils can cause discoloration or other damage.

A popular example is Mighty Mint spider repellent spray. Though it’s labelled being a spider repellent, it will work with all insects. It’s made with all-natural ingredients like peppermint oil. It’s safe for people, pets and the environment. The spray can be used on mattresses, furniture, carpets and other surfaces where unwanted critters might live or hide.   

Neem Seed Oil

Another powerful oil is that of the neem seed. Chances are, you’ve never heard of it before but it’s been used in India for bed bug and mosquito control for centuries. Neem oil can be sprayed on mattresses, bedding and furniture. It interferes with the insects’ ability to molt (grow) and lay eggs.

A popular product for Neem Oil is by Bonide. It’s Bonide BND022 is a perfect natural solution to your pest control needs with its 3 in 1 design, aimed at killing the egg, larvae and pupa into adult stages of bed worms.

Chemical bed worm removal products

If you prefer to use chemical products, there are a whole range of effective options available. There are plenty of chemical pesticide that will kill bed worms and their eggs but choose one that is registered for use on them and always follow the product label instructions carefully. Let’s take at some popular examples.

Pyrethrin-based insecticides

These products contain natural compounds derived from chrysanthemum flowers that can kill bed worms and other insects. They are typically safe to use around children and pets when used as directed.

They can come as aerosols as well as in a liquid concentrate form. If choosing pyrethrin to solve your bed worm issue, Southern AG’s Natural Pyrethrin would be a sensible choice.


This is a synthetic insecticide that kills bed worms by paralyzing their nervous system. It can be used on bedding, furniture, and carpets. It’s also registered for use in outdoor areas to control fleas, ticks, and other insects.

Ready Ranger is a popular permethrin-based product in this category coming in an easy-to-use spray form with no scent.


This is another insecticide that paralyzes the nervous system of insects. Among the most popular examples is imidacloprid. This is a bed bug-specific insecticide that kills adults, larvae, and eggs. It’s fast-acting with long-lasting residual control.

Eco PCO ACU by EcoSmart is an example of this type of product and comes in a ready-to-use aerosol form and leaves no visible residue.

If taking the matter into your own hands is not something you feel comfortable doing don’t worry. It can be difficult to get rid of bed worms on your own, so it may be necessary to call in a professional exterminator. With some patience and effort, you can get rid of bed worms for good!

Frequently asked questions

Are bed worms harmful?

No, bed worms are not harmful to humans. However, they can cause a lot of discomfort and sleepless nights.

How do I know if I have bed worms?

If you suspect that you have bed worms, there are several ways to confirm your suspicions and it involves thoroughly checking for:

– small, dark insects that resemble dots or ticks crawling around on your bedding or furniture

– small, dark stains on your bedding or furniture

– small, white eggs on bedding or furniture

If you see any of these signs, it’s important to act quickly. Either treat it yourself with the solutions we’ve suggested or call a professional exterminator as soon as possible. Bed worms can quickly spread to other areas of your home if left unchecked or untreated.

Do bed worms bite?

Except for the flea larvae, all other bed worms don’t bite. However, they can cause irritation and skin lesions where they come into contact with human skin. If you have bed worms, you may experience itching, redness, and swelling in the affected areas. If you scratch too much, you may also end up with a secondary bacterial infection.

What attracts bed worms?

Bed worms are attracted to warmth and the carbon dioxide that humans exhale. They often hide in bedding, furniture, or clothing so they can be close to their human hosts.

They can crawl from one person to another, or they can hitch a ride on clothing and make their way into your bed accidentally. If you think you may have bed worms, an easy and effective first thing to do is to wash all of your bedding and clothing in hot water to kill the insects and their eggs.


So there we have it. You now know that bed worms are small, insects that can cause a lot of discomfort to many. They are attracted to warmth and carbon dioxide, so they often hide in bedding, furniture, or clothing.

We’ve seen that they do not pose any harm to humans, but their bites can cause a lot of itching and irritation. If you suspect that you have them, there are several ways to confirm your suspicions and if confirmed, you have both natural and chemical solutions to exterminate them.

Do you have any tips for getting rid of bed worms? Share them in the comments below! And if you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends and family who might also be struggling with this pesky pest.

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