Though it may make you shudder, the truth is that you're not exactly alone when you're asleep in your bed: There are several types of bugs (microscopic and not-so-microscopic) that can be found in your bed.
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Some of these uninvited bedroom guests are fairly harmless and you'll never know they're present, but others can leave behind a painful welt, stains on the bed, and even annoying allergy symptoms.
1. Bed Bug
Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are a tiny, quarter-of-an-inch pest that burrow in the creases of a mattress and wait until you're sound asleep to bite. Waking up with red bumps all over is a sure sign of these pests. Bed bugs can also be discovered easily by their smell, or if you see large groups of small black dots — they might be your unwanted house guest. To find them, especially when staying in hotels, use a flashlight, pull back the sheets and search for little black dots.
Often hitching a ride inside via a dog or cat, fleas (Siphonaptera) like to hang out in the creases where the mattress meets the box spring. To get rid of fleas, you'll need to wash all of the linens and soft surfaces in a room where there's a suspected infestation and apply a flea spray.
3. Skin Mites
It's impossible to feel them, but we have skin mites (Demodex) living on us, feeding on the dead skin cells we flake off by the second (you grossed out yet?). These microscopic creatures are crawling into bed with us, and, in a way, are another bug in the bed. All night, as we shed and renew our skin skills, these mites eat our mess. Some of these mites specifically live around our hair follicles and get their fill of our natural oils.
In most cases, you won't ever notice these mites. But in some cases, when there is an over-infestation of skin mites, it can cause issues like rosacea and eye irritation.
4. Dust Mites
Dust mites (Dermatophagoides spp.) are another bug that loves to live (and eat) in your bed. Many bedding producers make anti-dust mite covers for beds, as dust mites are cause for several different allergies. If you wake up every morning with a stuffy nose and watery eyes, chances are you have a dust mite infestation and a dust mite allergy. Though it's impossible to completely eliminate them you can do things like vacuum the bed and regularly wash your sheets to cut down the population and help your allergy symptoms.
One of the smallest and most damaging insect pests, ticks (Ixodida) can sometimes find themselves in your bed if they've come in with you on your hiking clothes or on a pet. The best way to prevent ticks from crawling in your comforter is to thoroughly search your hair, ankles, waist, and behind the ears after walking or hiking through tall grasses or in heavily wooded areas. Also be sure to give your pets a regular tick and flea medication to prevent them from being a host to these tiny blood suckers.