Can Bed Bugs Live On Air Mattresses? How To Get Rid Of Them!

Bed bugs are more likely to harbor in materials made of fabric or wood. But they also can live on air mattresses despite these beds being made of PVC materials. But since they cannot get into the air mattresses, you may find these parasites around the seams and crevices. 

However, bed bugs cannot live long on these beds because air mattresses have fewer crevices and sewn seams. Also, only a few of them can live on an air mattress. This is because they will be easily spotted.

So, how do you check your air mattress for bed bugs? Stay right here to find out this and much more.

Can Bed Bugs Get Into an Air Mattress?

The simple answer is no. Most air mattresses are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) materials. Others are made from textile-reinforced urethane plastic or rubber.

While bed bugs are notorious for their bites, they cannot eat through plastic materials. And even if they were to succeed in burrowing through the hard plastic, you would know since the mattress would start leaking air.

Besides, air mattresses don’t have many sewn seams where these parasitic insects could crawl inside the mattress. So, unlike latex or memory foam beds, these bugs can only get on the surface of your air mattress and not into it.

Generally, it is easy for these parasites to get onto the surface of an air bed. After all, the mattress usually lays flat on the ground. Therefore, bed bugs will crawl up on your air mattress via the blankets if they are touching the ground.

Can Bed Bugs Live on Air Mattresses?

Yes. Bed bugs can live on nearly all surfaces. However, since they cannot get into the mattress, you will only find them along the crevices and seams of air mattresses. This makes it easier to spot and get rid of them.

However, bed bugs cannot live for long on an air mattress. This is because air mattresses don’t offer many hiding spots, unlike other fabric mattress types. Therefore, these ectoparasites are unlikely to form colonies in your air bed.

Also, these parasites don’t like living on smooth plastic materials. Air mattresses boast smooth surfaces. Instead, these bugs are more attracted to fabrics and small tight crevices where they can hide and lay their eggs. So, they will probably try to live on your blankets, allowing them to quickly get on the air mattress.

Key signs of bed bugs on air mattress:

Bed bugs are skilled at hiding, but there are  clear signs that can help you identify their presence:

  • Red, itchy bites: One of the most obvious signs is waking up with red & itchy bites in a clustered pattern. Sometimes bed bug bites are found on exposed skin, such as arms, legs, and the face.
  • Tiny bloodstains: Look for small, rust-colored, or reddish-brown stains on your beds.
  • Shed exoskeletons: Growing bed bugs lose their shells. Unfilled, translucent oval shells are on your air mattress.
  • Visible bed bugs: Bed bugs are experts at hiding, so you may see one crawling on your air mattress. They are round, brown, and tiny.
  • Musty odor:  If your air mattress has an unusual or unpleasant scent then it could be a sign of an infestation.
  • Dark spots: Check the seams, creases, and folds of your air mattress for small, dark spots that look like pepper. These are bed bug droppings.

How Do You Check Your Air Mattress for Bed Bugs?

Credit: UNLExtensionPSEP

It is easier and cheaper to treat bed bug infestation before it spreads. Unfortunately, early infestations can be challenging to find. So, how do you know your air mattress is infested with bed bugs? Below are some common signs to watch out for.


Check your air mattress’s seams, creases, pillows, and blankets for bed bug poop. At first glance, the droppings should look like ink stains from a ballpoint pen. But once old, the poop usually appears as a dark stain with a rusty smell since it is essentially digested blood.

Eggs and Eggshells

Another sign of bed bugs to look out for is the eggs. The eggs are pearl-white in color and the size of a pinhead. They resemble grains of rice but are smaller. Also, look out for egg shells that nymphs shed over time, which are pale yellow.

Blood Spots on your Bedding or Clothing

You can also look for blood stains on your bed sheets, blankets, and sleeping clothing. The blood spots are small, dark red, and either smeared or roundish.

Live Bugs

If you cannot spot any of the above, look for traces of live bed bugs. You can find them around the seams of your air mattress. These insects are brown and oval-shaped. In terms of size, adult bugs are as small as an apple seed.

How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs In A Mattress?

How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs In A Mattress

Once you confirm your mattress is infested by bed bugs, below are various ways to eliminate them.

  1. Wash the Bedding

Remove all the bedding on your mattress, including blankets, sheets, and pillows. Place them in the washing machine. Then, set the water temperature to hot. After the cleaning, let the bedding dry in the dryer at the highest heat setting for 30-60 minutes or longer.

  • Vacuuming

Use the hose attachment to vacuum around the seams and crevices of your mattress. Then, remove the vacuum bag and seal it with tape. Next, put it in a plastic bag and seal it tightly before disposing of it in the trash.

However, vacuuming alone will not help get rid of the bugs completely. This is because the method does not kill the bugs and their eggs.

  • Steam Cleaning

First, vacuum your mattress before running a steam cleaner across the entire surface. Heat treatment using a steamer is an effective bed bug killer. These bugs will die if you expose them to temperatures between 113-and-118 degrees Fahrenheit for 90 minutes.

  • Freezing the Mattress

Deflate your air mattress, put it in a garbage or plastic bag, and seal it tightly. Next, place the garbage bag in the freezer and let it sit there for 96 hours or 4 full days. Make sure to set the temperature at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Freezing leads to ice forming inside the bed bug, causing death.

  • Spray Insecticides

Additionally, you could spray the mattress with a pesticide. The best pesticide should be safe for domestic, and public premises use with a long residual effect for at least 5 months.

Pyrethroids, pyrethrins, pyrroles, desiccants, and neonicotinoids are the most prevalent compounds that work.

  • Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

DE is a chemical-free powder composed chiefly of silica. It can kill bed bugs by dehydrating their bodies. Typically, you sprinkle the powder around the seams and crevices of your mattress.

Then, leave it there for at least a week. However, the powder may take 2 to 4 weeks to be effective.

  • Use Natural Products

Alternatively, you could eliminate the bed bugs using white distilled vinegar or rubbing alcohol. Vinegar contains acetic acid that can damage the insect’s nervous system upon contact, killing the bugs.

Meanwhile, the alcohol eats away the bed bug’s outer shell and acts as a desiccant. You can also use baking soda as it helps suck the moisture out of the bugs, leaving them dried out and dead. After a week, you can vacuum your mattress. 

  • Get a Professional Bed Bug Specialist

If you don’t have the time to implement all the above methods, you could hire a professional bed bug exterminator. These specialists have the experience to deal with stubborn bed bug infestations.

People Also Asked:

Can bed bugs climb an air mattress?

Bed bugs can attempt to climb an air mattress, but the smooth surface can make it more challenging for them compared to other materials. 

Can bed bugs live on inflatable mattresses?

Bed bugs can hide and live on inflatable mattresses, especially in seams or creases. Regular inspections and proper cleaning can help prevent infestations.

Can bed bugs crawl on air mattresses?

Bed bugs have the ability to crawl on air mattresses, but their smooth and slippery surface can impede their movement.

Can bed bugs live in a memory foam pillow?

Bed bugs can live in or on memory foam pillows, just like any other bedding or furniture.


While bed bugs cannot get into an air mattress, they can still climb onto the surface. Even worse, these pesky insects can live on air mattresses, especially around seams. Luckily, there are many ways to check for bed bugs on your air mattress, allowing you to eliminate them.

Even better, many effective ways exist to eliminate these ectoparasites. For instance, you could use a vacuum, steamer, insecticides, diatomaceous earth, or natural products. Washing the bedding and freezing the mattress could also help eliminate the bugs. The final suggestion is to clean your mattress on a regular basis.

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Rene C. Evans

Hi, I'm Rene C. Evans author and owner of this website. Though this website is not related to manufacturing company of mattresses but I extensively studying, and analyzing mattresses and inform you solutions regarding mattress problem that will help you to take rest properly.

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