How Small Are Bed Bugs When They Hatch
ENTFACT-636: Bed Bugs | Download PDF | En Español
by Michael F. Potter, Extension Entomologist
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture
Until fairly recently, most people (and even pest control professionals) had never seen a bed bug. Bed bug infestations actually used to be very common in the United States before World War II. But with improvements in hygiene, and especially the widespread use of DDT during the 1940s and ‘50s, the bed bugs all but vanished. The pests persisted, however, in some areas of the world including parts of Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Over roughly the past decade, bed bugs have made a dramatic comeback in the U.S.― they’re appearing increasingly in homes, apartments, hotels, health care facilities, dormitories, shelters, schools and public transportation. Other places where bed bugs sometimes occur include movie theaters, laundries, rental furniture, and office buildings. Immigration and international travel have contributed to the resurgence of bed bugs in the U.S. Changes in modern pest control practice, less effective insecticides ― and a decrease in societal vigilance ― are other factors suspected for the recurrence.
Description and Habits
Bed bugs are small, brownish, flattened insects that feed solely on the blood of animals. Although the common bed bug (Cimex lectularius)prefers feeding on humans, it will also bite other warm-blooded animals, including dogs, cats, birds and rodents. It has done so since ancient times; bed bugs are mentioned in medieval European texts and classical Greek writings back to the time of Aristotle.
Adult bed bug feeding on a human.
Adult bed bugs are about 3/16” long and reddish-brown, with oval-shaped, flattened bodies. They are sometimes mistaken for ticks, cockroaches, carpet beetles or other household insects. The immature bed bugs (nymphs) resemble the adults, but are smaller and lighter in color. Bed bugs do not fly, and they don’t jump like fleas do ― but they can crawl rapidly over floors, walls, ceilings and other surfaces. Adult females lay their eggs in secluded places, depositing 1, 2 or more eggs per day, potentially hundreds during their lifetime. The eggs are tiny (about the size of a dust spec), whitish and hard to see without magnification, especially on light-colored surfaces. When first laid, the eggs are sticky, causing them to adhere to surfaces. At room temperatures, bed bug eggs hatch in about a week. Newly emerged nymphs are straw-colored and no bigger than a pinhead.
Adults, nymphs, eggs, shed skins, and fecal spots on a mattress.
As bed bugs grow they molt, shedding their skin five times before reaching maturity. A blood meal is needed between each successive molt. Adult females also must feed in order to lay eggs. Under favorable conditions (70-80°F), the bugs can mature fully in as little as a month, producing multiple generations per year. Cooler temperatures or limited access to blood prolong the development time.
Bed bugs are very resilient. Nymphs and adults can persist months without feeding which is unusual for most insects. The ability to survive without a blood meal is longer at cooler temperatures ― potentially up to a year or longer at 55°F or less. In temperature-controlled buildings, a more typical duration is about 2 to 6 months. Consequently, it is usually impractical to leave buildings unoccupied in hopes of ‘starving out’ an infestation. When infested dwellings such as apartments are vacated, bed bugs often disperse to nearby units, or reduce their activity until the unit is reoccupied.
Bed bugs are active mainly at night. During the daytime, they prefer to hide close to where people sleep. Their flattened bodies enable them to fit into tiny crevices–especially those associated with mattresses, box springs, bed frames and headboards. Bed bugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but do tend to congregate in habitual hiding places. Characteristically, these areas are marked by dark spotting and staining, which is the dried excrement of the bugs. Also present will be hatched and un-hatched eggs, the tannish shed skins of maturing nymphs, and the bugs themselves. Another possible sign are rusty or reddish smears on bed sheets or mattresses from crushed engorged bed bugs. Although it’s often stated that bed bugs have a telltale “buggy” odor, the smell is seldom evident except in extreme infestations and should not be relied upon for detection.
Dark spots on mattress and box spring are a telltale sign of bed bugs
Bed bugs prefer to hide close to where they feed, but if necessary will crawl several feet to obtain a meal. Initially the bugs tend to be situated around sleeping areas, i.e., beds, couches and recliners. If infestations are allowed to persist, they also may disperse to other locations within the dwelling making elimination more difficult.
Bites and Health Concerns
Bed bugs usually bite people at night while they are sleeping. Hungry bed bugs may also feed during the daytime, especially if this is when the occupant normally sleeps. They feed by piercing the skin with an elongated beak through which they withdraw blood. Engorgement of the bed bug takes roughly three to 10 minutes, but because the bite is painless, the person seldom realizes they are being bitten. Bed bugs normally do not reside on people like head or body lice do; instead, immediately after feeding, bed bugs crawl to a secluded location to digest their meal. Symptoms after being bitten by bed bugs vary from person to person. Many develop an itchy red welt within a day or so of the bite. Others have little or no reaction. Sometimes the reaction is delayed days or even weeks after the actual bite occurs, which can make it difficult to determine where or when bites actually occurred. Studies conducted in bed bug-infested apartments suggest about 30 percent of people do not react even when bitten repeatedly over time, and there is still higher incidence of non-reactivity among the elderly. Unlike flea bites, which occur mainly around the lower legs and ankles, bed bugs feed on any skin exposed while sleeping (face, neck, shoulders, back, arms, legs, etc.). The welts and itching are often wrongly attributed to other causes, such as mosquitoes. For these reasons, infestations may go a long time unnoticed, and can become quite large before being detected.
The likelihood of bed bugs increases if the affected individual has been traveling, or if they have acquired used beds or furnishings before symptoms started to appear. Bed bugs also are suspect if you wake up with itchy welts you did not have when you went to sleep. It’s important to recognize, however, that not all bite-like reactions are due to bed bugs. Confirmation requires finding and identifying the bed bugs, shed skins, fecal spots, etc., which often requires the help of a professional. (Other possible sources of irritation that may be mistaken for bed bugs are discussed in University of Kentucky entomology fact sheet ENT-58,Invisible Itches: Insect and Non-Insect Causes).
A common concern with bed bugs is whether or not they transmit diseases. Although bed bugs can harbor various pathogens, transmission to humans has not been proven and is considered unlikely. Their medical significance is most commonly attributed to itching and inflammation from their bites. Antihistamines and corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce allergic reactions, and antiseptic or antibiotic ointments to prevent infection. Though not known to carry diseases, bed bugs can substantially reduce quality of life by causing discomfort, sleeplessness, anxiety, and embarrassment. According to some health experts, the added stress from living with bed bugs can have a significant impact on the emotional health and well-being of certain individuals.
Conventional insect repellents, like those used to deter ticks and mosquitoes, do not appear to be as effective against bed bugs. Therefore, attempting to avoid being bitten by applying insect repellent at bedtime is not recommended. Sleeping with the lights on is also not likely to deter hungry bed bugs, as they will adjust their feeding cycle to the host’s sleeping patterns.
How Infestations Originate
It often seems that bed bugs arise from nowhere. The bugs are efficient hitchhikers and are usually transported into dwellings on luggage, clothing, beds, furniture, and other items. This is a particular risk for hotels and apartments, where turnover of occupants is constant. Bed bugs are small and agile, escaping detection after crawling into suitcases, backpacks and belongings. Acquiring secondhand beds, couches and furniture is another way that the bugs are transported into buildings. Bed bugs also can be carried in on one’s clothing, shoes or wheelchair. Once bed bugs are introduced, they can crawl from room to room or floor to floor. They can also be transported throughout buildings on people and their belongings.
Unlike cockroaches and flies that feed on filth, there is often no relationship between bed bugs and cleanliness. Since the bugs feed solely on blood, pristine dwellings can be as vulnerable to infestation as are places of squalor. That said, poverty and privation can lead to increased risk of bed bug problems, as can the inability to hire a professional exterminator.
Some bed bug species are parasites of bats or birds, and may bite people if the wild hosts are no longer available. Although similar in overall appearance, the species of bed bugs that normally feed on bats, swallows, chimney swifts, pigeons or other wild hosts can be differentiated from those that prefer humans. Entomologists and knowledgeable pest managers can make this determination. If bat bugs or bird bugs are present, roosting and nesting sites should be the primary focus, and the animals should be removed and excluded from the building.
Bed bugs are challenging to eradicate. Since they can hide in so many places, inspections must be thorough and elimination is not always a certainty. Whenever resources allow, it’s prudent to enlist the services of a professional. Experienced pest controllers know where to look for bed bugs, and have an assortment of tools at their disposal. Nonetheless, owners and occupants can assist the professional in several important ways. Affording access to all living areas is crucial, and excess clutter will need to be removed. Belongings strewn about rooms offer many places for the bugs to hide, and impede inspection and treatment. Since bed bugs can disperse throughout a building, it often will be necessary to inspect adjoining rooms and apartments as well.
Where They Hide
Bed bugs can live in almost any crevice or protected location. The most common place to find them is the bed or where people sleep. This is especially true during the early stages of a problem. As infestations grow larger, the bugs tend to move beyond beds into other locations making control more difficult.
Bed bugs most often congregate along seams and edges of
mattresses and box springs. Blackish spots are excrement.
Bed bugs often hide in seams, folds and crevices of mattresses, box springs, bed frames and headboards. A thorough inspection requires dismantling the bed so that upper and lower seams and surfaces can be examined. Things to look for are the bugs themselves, shed skins of the nymphs (immature bed bugs), and the blackish fecal spots. The dark spots of dried bed bug excrement are often present along mattress seams or wherever the bugs have resided. Box springs afford many places for bed bugs to hide, especially along the upper seams and underneath, where the bottom edge of the box rests on the frame. If an underlying dust cover is present, it may have to be removed to gain access for inspection and possible treatment. Successful treatment of mattresses and box springs can be difficult, however, and infested ones may need to be discarded or encased in a protective cover.
Cracks and crevices of bed frames should also be examined, especially if the frame is wood. (Bed bugs have an affinity for wood and fabric more so than metal or plastic.) Wooden support slats, if present, should be removed and examined since bed bugs often congregate where the ends rest on the frame. Screw holes, knots and other recesses are also common hiding places. Headboards secured to walls should be removed and inspected. In hotels, the area behind the headboard is often the first place that bed bugs become established. Bed bugs also frequently hide within items stored under beds.
Upholstered chairs, recliners and sofas are typically the next most likely area for bed bugs, and should be examined carefully along seams, skirts and folds of fabric. Sofas and recliners can be major bed bug hotspots, especially when used for sleeping. Like beds, they can be difficult to treat and sometimes may need to be discarded.
Bed bugs also congregate along seams of sofas and recliners. Photo at right shows
bugs hiding near a recessed screw under a night stand (note the presence of fecal spots).
Nightstands and dressers may need to be emptied and examined inside and out, and tipped over to inspect the woodwork underneath. Oftentimes the bugs will be hiding in cracks, corners, and recesses. Other common bed bug hiding places include: along and under the edge of wall-to-wall carpeting, especially behind beds and sofas; cracks in wood molding; ceiling-wall junctures; behind wall-mounted pictures, mirrors, outlets and switch plates; under loose wallpaper; clothing and clutter within closets; and inside clocks, phones, televisions and smoke detectors.
Bed bugs often reside along baseboards. Photo at right shows eggs,
nymphs, adults and fecal spots near a carpet edge.
Bed bugs tend to congregate, but it’s also common to find a single bug or some eggs here and there. A thorough inspection and treatment may take up to several hours. Some companies use specially trained dogs to assist in finding small dispersed infestations, especially in such places as hotels, schools, libraries and office buildings. When properly trained, bed bug detection dogs can be quite effective. Relatively few companies are routinely using them, however, due to the expense of training and maintaining such animals. Reliability of some of the dogs is also being questioned as more enter the market.
Preparing for Treatment
Preparing for bed bug treatment is tedious yet important. Very comprehensive preparation is necessary when infestations are heavy and the bugs are widely dispersed. More limited prep may be adequate for light infestations since at these levels the bed bugs typically are more confined to sleeping areas (beds, sofas, and recliners). Pest control firms have their own policies, however, regarding preparation requirements which may also depend on the manner of treatment.
Some firms want beds stripped and furniture moved before they arrive, while other firms prefer to inspect first and perform these tasks themselves. Clutter and belongings on floors (especially beneath beds) must be removed since they impede treatment and afford additional places for bugs to hide. Bedding and garments normally will need to be laundered and/or hot dried (120°F minimum) since they cannot be treated with insecticides. An effective and efficient alternative to laundering is to simply place bedding, clothing, toys, shoes, backpacks, etc., in a clothes dryer set at medium-to-high heat for 10 to 20 minutes. This can be done in lieu of washing and will kill all bed bug life stages.
According to textile experts (Drycleaning & Laundry Institute, Laurel, MD), most garments designated as ‘dry-clean only’ (e.g., cotton, wool, silk, linen, rayon, nylon) will not be harmed provided they are dry before being placed in a clothes dryer at a moderate temperature setting. Dry cleaning procedures also kill bed bugs, but there is a risk of infesting the establishment when buggy items are tagged and sorted.
Items that cannot be placed in a washer or dryer can sometimes be de-infested by wrapping them in plastic and placing them outdoors in a hot, sunny location for at least a day (for example, on pavement or in a closed vehicle parked in the sun). Packing items loosely in garbage bags and elevating objects off the ground helps the heat permeate further, and will make it harder for bugs to find a cool place to hide. Monitoring with a thermometer is prudent to ensure that a temperature of at least 120°F is achieved wherever the bugs may be.
Bed bugs will also succumb to cold temperatures below 32°F, but the freezing temperatures must be maintained for a longer period (e.g., one to two weeks). Consequently, heating tends to be a better option throughout much of the country. Efforts to rid entire dwellings of bed bugs by raising or lowering the thermostat will be unsuccessful, although pest control firms are able to achieve lethal temperatures with supplemental heaters (see the subsequent section entitled"Heat Treatments"for more details).
Discarding or Encasement
Although most furnishings need not be discarded, in some cases this may be necessary. This is especially true of heavily infested beds, sofas and recliners where bugs and eggs often reside in hard-to-reach places. Consequently, pest control firms may recommend such items be discarded, especially when in poor condition. When infested items are discarded, bagging or wrapping them prevents dislodgement of bugs en route to the trash.
In the case of beds, a more economical option is to encase both the mattress and box spring in a protective cover like those used for allergy relief. Encasements specifically designed to help protect against bed bugs are available through retail or pest control firms. Higher quality ones tend to be more durable and comfortable to sleep on. Once the encasement is installed and zipped shut, any bugs which happen to be inside are entombed and eventually will die. Encasements also help protect newly purchased beds, and make it easier to spot and destroy any bugs residing on the outer surface during subsequent examination. Encasements will not, however, keep bed bugs from crawling onto a bed and biting a sleeping person.
Encasements are an economical alternative to discarding infested beds.
Vacuuming, Steaming, Freezing
General housecleaning measures, (e.g. vacuuming floors and surfaces), seldom reach where bed bugs hide. For this reason, repetitive vacuuming by occupants may not be worth the effort, especially compared to other important preparatory activities. Targeted vacuuming of bed bugs and infested harborages, however, can help remove some of the bugs before other treatment measures are undertaken. Bed bugs and especially the eggs can be difficult to dislodge. Optimum results will be achieved by moving and scraping the end of the suction wand along infested areas such as seams and fabric folds of beds and sofas, and the perimeter edge of wall-to-wall carpet. Bed bugs can survive the high speed trip down a vacuum, so it’s important to carefully dispose of the vacuum contents in a sealed trash bag afterwards.
One trick to make this disposal easier involves using the cut-off end of a nylon stocking (or a knee-high nylon stocking) and a rubber band. Insert the stocking (toe first) into the end of the vacuum suction wand/tube, leaving the opening of the stocking protruding out of the end of the suction wand. Then fold the stocking opening back over the end of the wand and use the rubber band to secure it there. When the vacuum is turned on and the bed bugs are sucked into the tube, they will be trapped in the stocking. Afterwards, carefully remove the rubber band and retrieve the bug-filled stocking. Then secure the end of the stocking with the rubber band and dispose of it.
Some pest control firms also employ commercial steamers or spot-freezing equipment to treat areas where bed bugs are found or suspected. Used correctly, they kill bugs and eggs on contact. Neither method, however, affords residual protection against bed bugs which may have been missed. Steaming and spot-freezing equipment also have limited ability to penetrate fabric, wood, and other materials where bed bugs often reside.
Steaming (left) and spot-freezing (right) kill bugs and eggs on contact but afford no lasting protection
Some pest control firms utilize specialized heating equipment to de-infest furnishings, rooms, and entire dwellings. The procedure involves heating up the infested item or area to temperatures lethal to bed bugs. Portable heaters and fans are used to gradually heat the air to about 120 – 130°F while monitoring with strategically placed sensors. By carefully controlling the temperature, bugs and eggs are killed wherever they may be without damaging household items.
Some preparation is still required (e.g. removal of heat-sensitive items such as aerosol cans, indoor plants and medications), but it is seldom necessary to bag, launder and/or hot dry bedding and clothing since these items will be heated along with other furnishings. Another advantage of heat treatment is that infestations can often be eliminated in one day, rather than over multiple days or weeks. Conversely, heat treatment alone has no lasting (residual) effect should bed bugs be reintroduced into the dwelling. Consequently, some companies recommend concurrently applying residual insecticides. To further minimize reintroduction, occupants are advised to take as few belongings as possible with them while the heat treatment is in progress.
Heat treatments are an effective way to eliminate bed bugs quickly, but
tend to be more costly than conventional treatment methods.
Heat treatments require specialized training and equipment, and may be more costly than conventional approaches relying principally on insecticides.
While the former methods are helpful, insecticides are widely used by most pest control companies. A variety of EPA-registered materials are available formulated as liquids, dusts and aerosols. Baits used to control ants and cockroaches are ineffective in this case since bed bugs must bite and feed on blood. Professional-use insecticides such as Temprid®, Transport® and Phantom® tend to be more effective than bed bug sprays sold by retailers. Bleach, alcohol, cigarette lighters, etc. should NOT be used to control bed bugs. Besides being ineffective, such actions can result in fires and other dangerous outcomes.
Application entails treating all areas where the bugs are found or tend to hide or crawl. This takes considerable effort and follow-ups are usually needed. Companies typically treat seams, folds and crevices of bed components, chairs and sofas, but usually will not spray the entire sleeping surface or seating area. They also do not spray bed sheets, blankets or clothing, which instead should be hot washed or heated in a dryer.
Fumigation using a penetrating gas is another way to de-infest dwellings or furnishings, but the procedure is only offered by certain companies. True fumigation is not the same as setting off a total release fogger or ‘bug bomb.’ (It should be noted that bug bombs are considered ineffective in the treatment of bed bugs, and can be quite dangerous if misused.) The fumigation process is technically complex and requires vacating the building for a period of days. The building is then sealed and injected with a lethal gas, usually sulfuryl fluoride. Because the entire building must be vacated, structural fumigation is logistically more challenging with multi-unit buildings such as apartments, than for single family homes. Bed bug fumigations tend to be more common in southern and western states, where the procedure is also used to control certain types of wood-dwelling termites.
Considering how time-consuming and costly it can be to eradicate bed bugs, it’s prudent to take precautions and avoid infestations in the first place. Householders should be vigilant when acquiring used furnishings, especially beds and couches. Discarded items should be avoided, and secondhand articles should be examined closely before being brought into the home. Look carefully in the folds and seams of furniture for signs of bed bugs (see the previous section entitled "Description and Habits" for more details). There is no reason to stop shopping in consignment stores, yard sales, etc., but it would be prudent to run clothing and fabric items through the washer or dryer before storing them in the home. The risk of acquiring bed bugs from items purchased in antique stores would generally be insignificant.
Discarded beds and couches might be infested and should be left alone. Devices
such as the ClimbUp® can be placed under beds and sofas to help monitor for
bed bugs. Bugs that crawl into the plastic dishes cannot escape.
Avoiding bed bugs is most challenging in hotels, apartment buildings, and other places where there are many people, high turnover and ongoing opportunities for introduction of the pests.Periodic, preventive inspection by tenants, housekeeping/maintenance staff, or pest control firms is the best way to detect infestations in their initial stages when they are easiest to control.Visual inspections can be supplemented by using various monitoring devices to capture and reveal bed bugs that may have been overlooked by occupants.
Additional Tips for At-Risk Groups
Business and Leisure Travelers
Checking beds for bed bugs was a common practice long ago, especially while traveling. Travelers today should consider doing the same, preferably before unpacking. This would entail examining the bed sheets and seams of the mattress and perhaps box spring for signs of bed bugs, especially along the head (pillow end) of the bed. Experts also remove and check behind headboards since this is a frequent hiding place for bed bugs in hotels. Headboards are heavy and cumbersome, however, and untrained persons should not attempt removal themselves.
To help guard against bed bugs while traveling, take a moment to inspect
beds. A small flashlight is useful for dimly-lit areas.
Vigilant travelers may also want to elevate suitcases off the floor on a stand, tabletop or other hard surface rather than storing them on the floor or another bed. Hyper-vigilant travelers may further opt to keep belongings in sealed plastic pouches and their suitcase in a zippered tote — however each traveler must decide how cautious they wish to be.
While encountering bed bugs in hotels is possible, typically only a small number of rooms have problems. If bed bugs are discovered, guests can request another room, preferably in another area of the building, since problems often extend to nearby units. Should you experience itchy welts suggestive of bed bug bites during your stay, it would be prudent upon returning home to place all clothing directly into the washer and/or dryer. Inspecting or vacuuming luggage upon arrival home is less useful since it’s hard to spot bed bugs inside a suitcase. The suitcase itself can either be treated or discarded.
Social Service and Emergency Workers
Caregivers, firefighters, and other service providers are sometimes required to enter and work in bed bug-infested dwellings. In doing so, there is the potential to transport some bugs home or to the workplace. It should be noted that bed bugs do not fly, nor jump onto people/pets as fleas do. During the day, bed bugs usually remain hidden and immobile, becoming more active at night when seeking a host. Consequently, the chance of picking up bed bugs by merely walking into an infested dwelling during the day is unlikely. The risk may increase while providing care but can be lessened by taking some precautions.
Bring in only what is needed, and avoid sitting or placing coats and other items on beds, floors and sofas where the bugs commonly reside. Essential items can be placed on a tabletop or other hard surface, preferably away from bedrooms and sleeping areas. Better to sit on a hard (non-upholstered) chair than on sofas and recliners. Also try to avoid leaning or brushing against beds and upholstered furniture. If such items are carried out of infested dwellings (e.g., by sanitation workers or firefighters), it’s best to wrap them in plastic or at least not hold them against your body during transport. Emergency Medical (EMS) personnel may need to take additional precautions, such as removing a patient’s bed bug-infested shoes or clothing, or installing plastic sheeting before transporting them in the emergency vehicle.
As mentioned earlier, applying insect repellent at bedtime will probably not deter bed bugs from biting. When working in severely infested dwellings, there may be some benefit to spraying tops and bottoms of shoes with DEET-based repellents. Those working in bed bug-infested environments may also want to hot wash or run clothing, etc. through a dryer upon returning home or to the office.
Schools and Daycares
Bed bugs are a growing problem in schools and daycares. Typically they are introduced by students or staff living with an infestation at home. Pinpointing where the bugs exist can be challenging in such environments since there are no beds or sleeping areas for the insects to congregate. (Similar challenges occur when bed bugs are found in offices, libraries and retail stores.) Usually only small numbers of bed bugs are spotted, often on a student’s clothing, backpack, chair or desk. While this does not necessarily confirm that the child’s residence also has bed bugs, the parents should be notified that the home should be inspected, preferably by a professional. Teachers, nurses, and staff should be educated about the bugs and what they look like. Bed bugs should also be considered if a student frequently has reddened itchy welts –but keep in mind such reactions can be for reasons other than bed bugs.
Bed bug incidents in schools are best handled by knowledgeable pest control firms. Widespread insecticide treatment of classrooms, hallways, buses, etc. is unnecessary, ineffective and imprudent. Effort instead should be spent checking chairs, desks, lockers, coat rooms, etc. in the vicinity of where the bugs were found, and treatment should be focused on those specific areas. Canine inspections can also be useful in finding small numbers of bed bugs in schools and other establishments where there are no beds.
Those Who Cannot Afford a Professional
Bed bug eradication is challenging and it’s prudent to hire a professional when resources allow. However treatment can be expensive, often costing hundreds or thousands of dollars. Those who cannot afford this often must cope with the problem themselves. A useful step that anyone can take to combat bed bugs is to install bed encasements. Covering the mattress and box spring can help eliminate a substantial portion of the bed bug population — especially if discovered early while most of the bugs are still confined to the bed area. Extra care should be taken when installing budget encasements since these can tear easily, especially on metal bed frames. Ideally both the mattress and box spring should be encased. If only one encasement is possible it’s often best to cover the box spring which is harder to subsequently inspect.
A torn encasement may no longer be effective.
With practice and a flashlight, nonprofessionals can become proficient in finding and destroying bed bugs. The process is made easier by reducing clutter, especially in bedrooms and sleeping areas. Bugs that are spotted can be removed with a vacuum (see previous discussion), or killed with over-the-counter insecticides labeled for such use. Most bed bug sprays intended for householders have little remaining effect after the spray has dried. Therefore it’s important to initially contact as many of the insects as possible with the spray droplets. Insecticide labels should be read carefully as some bed bug products should not be used on mattresses and seating areas. Some insecticides applied as powders or dusts (e.g., diatomaceous earth) will kill bed bugs although boric acid powder will not. However powders can be messy and difficult to apply, especially by nonprofessionals. Total release foggers (otherwise known as ‘bug bombs’) are ineffective against bed bugs and potentially dangerous when used incorrectly (see University of Kentucky entomology fact sheet Limitations of Home Insect Foggers).
Insecticide dusts should never be applied this heavy. A light deposit is all
that’s needed and is best accomplished with a professionally-designed duster.
Monitoring devices such as the previously mentioned ClimbUp® are useful for confirming the presence of bed bugs when a visual inspection cannot. When installed under bed legs, they also provide a barrier between floor and bed which can potentially reduce bites, especially when beds are pulled slightly away walls and encased.
The incidence of bed bugs in the United States and in many countries of the world has increased to the point where vigilance is a prudent practice. Some common sense tactics and taking modest precautions can go a long way towards helping avoid infestation.
Portuguese Translation:Prepared by Artur Weber & Adelina Domingos
CAUTION!Pesticide recommendations in this publication are registered for use in Kentucky, USA ONLY! The use of some products may not be legal in your state or country. Please check with your local county agent or regulatory official before using any pesticide mentioned in this publication.
Of course,ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS FOR SAFE USE OF ANY PESTICIDE!
Killing Bed Bug Eggs and Larvae Is Just as Important as Killing Adult Bed Bugs
I f you were dealing with just one bed bug, your battle would be easy and short-lived. Unless, of course, that bed bug were the size of your cat, or even of a tarantula.
But the real horror of bed bugs is that an infestation means you are fighting an entire, constantly reproducing, population.
You must learn how to kill bed bug eggs, or else, even when every unhatched bed bug has been eradicated, your efforts will be in vain. And if even a single impregnated female bed bug escapes, the infestation continues.
Read on to learn to identify bed bug eggs, bed bug larvae, and likely bed bug egg “hatch houses.” Find out how to kill the eggs before they hatch and become a mob of bloodthirsty little nymphs crawling atop your mattress at night.
Table of Contents
How to Get Rid of Bed Bug Eggs and Larvae
Bed bug larvae will often be killed by the same insecticides or bed bug home remedies that kill adult bedbugs. However, the eggs will typically survive and will need treatment with a separate chemical or the same chemical, but about two weeks later when you can be sure all the eggs have hatched.
Thus, you really need to read all bug bomb or spray chemical claims very closely. Each chemical or natural insecticide is different, some killing off eggs and some not.
But, in reality, even though there are some anti bed bug treatments that kill some eggs, there really is no sure-fire chemical you can just buy and use to kill 100% of bed bug eggs for sure.
Thus, you have to use heat or apply anti bed bug measures two (or more times) at proper intervals. There really is no other way. That could mean calling in a professional exterminator, but not necessarily.
What Do Eggs Look Like?
Perhaps, you may be thinking, “How can I fight bed bug eggs? I wouldn’t know a bed bug egg from a grain of rice.” Well, in fact, they look very much like rice, only smaller.
Here are some features of bedbug eggs to help you identify them:
- Grain-like shape.
- Milky-white coloration.
- About one millimeter long.
- You’ll find one or a small cluster at a time.
Bed Bug Eggs and 1st Instar Nymph
But where will you find the eggs? Typically, there are hidden away (smart bugs) in inaccessible cracks and crevices. But, you may find some on your clothes, on pillows, on bed sheets, or on your mattress or box spring. It just varies.
How Long Does It Take for the Eggs to Hatch?
It normally takes less than two weeks for newly laid bed bug eggs to hatch. Six to 10 days is a good estimate, but it can vary based on temperature and other conditions in the environment (and “environment” here means “your bedroom!)
Females will lay only between 1 and 5 eggs at a time, but they can lay up to five hundred eggs in a lifetime and lay them nearly every day!
The Lifecycle of the Common Bed Bug
Bed Bug Life Cycle
4 Weeks – 5 Months Depending on Conditions
Upon hatching, bed bug “nymphs, ” as they’re called, immediately head out looking for blood. Nymphs then molt and go through several stages, leaving casing behind on your mattress or in your carpeting (besides fecal stains, which is digested blood poop. Yuck.)
No stage in the bedbug life cycle has wings, and you are always dealing with flat-bodied insects. The young ones are more transparent, except after a blood meal. The older ones actually change body shape, becoming long instead of circular, after the gorge themselves on blood.
Bed bugs start 1.5 mm long but get up to 9 millimeters at full bed bug maturity. But they always remain immature “mentally” and keep on biting you and drinking your blood, from the moment they hatch to the bitter end.
Can I See the Eggs?
Bedbug eggs are hard to find and hard to see, but they are not impossible to see nor even microscopic.
If you look very closely and carefully on your mattress, clothing, pillow, or any infested area, you may well spot some eggs. But you need not see the eggs to know they must be there and to take drastic action to destroy them. After all, wherever there are bed bugs, bed bug eggs are not far off.
Can Bed Bugs Lay Their Eggs in Your Skin?
Bed bugs are nasty parasites, but they do not live inside of people or under their skin, nor is that where they lay their eggs.
You may have spied bed bugs in your hair and found bites on your face and neck. You may have sores on your ankles or legs or arms where they bit you. But you need not worry about bed bugs hatching inside of you. That’s one thing, at least, you can be thankful for.
They can, however, lay eggs on your clothes. Click the link to learn how to get rid of bed bugs in your clothes.
Again, there are many things that will kill some bed bug eggs, but nothing known to man will kill all of them. And you couldn’t be sure the treatment would even touch them all (hidden in crevices as they are) even if you could know it would kill every egg it touched.
That said, here are two ways, besides pesticides that list egg-death as one of their virtues, that you can kill a “whole lot of eggs:” diatomaceous earth (DE) and rubbing alcohol. Read more about these remedies just below.
Yes, if you douse bed bug eggs with DE (diatomaceous earth), they will die and not hatch, at least most of the time. And DE will kill off larvae, nymphs, juveniles, and adult bedbugs too, even if not always immediately.
Here are some of the virtues of DE in your fight against bed bugs and their grainy eggs:
- DE in a line creates a barrier that bed bugs will tend to avoid crossing, keeping them from laying eggs on the other side.
- DE is non-toxic and all-natural. It is the discarded shells of tiny sea creatures called diatoms (think the white cliffs of Dover here) and is not earth at all.
- DE will cut into delicate bedbug shells and either kill them right away or gradually dehydrate them over a period of up to one or two weeks at most. It will kill the eggs too.
- No bed bug or egg can develop a resistance to DE. It always works.
But don’t get pool-grade DE or DE mixed in with pesticides. Read the “ingredients.” It should say you are just buying plain old diatomaceous earth and that it is meant for use on pests. And wear a mask when applying DE to avoid breathing it in.
Yes, rubbing alcohol will kill at least most of your bed bug eggs, if it can contact them.
- Rub it on your legs and arms and the back of your neck before you sleep to deter bugs.
- Spray it on your mattress and box spring.
- Spray it under your bed on the carpet and along the baseboard of your bedroom.
This is a cheap, common product, and it can be a key player in your attempt to kill bed bug eggs and eradicate the population. But don’t use it alone. Make it a part of a bigger, broader bed bug action plan.
What Should I Do With Eggs on Clothing?
There may be bedbug eggs on your clothes. It’s possible, especially if you leave them lying on the carpet all day. But even in the laundry bin, they’re not immune.
Bed bug eggs can be killed by washing then drying your clothes. The dryer is what really gets them more than the washer, but who dries clothes without first washing them? You will need medium-high or more as the temperature setting to kill the eggs (at 118ºF), but that depends on your dryer.
What temperature can kill the eggs? Bedbugs die in heat. Eggs, nymphs, adults, all stages die, every last one of them. That’s why professionals with expensive high-powered equipment rely heavily on heat treatment to cure bed bug infestations.
Heat your home’s interior or a particular room to 118ºF for about 70 minutes, and all the bed bugs, both hatched and unhatched, will be destroyed.
That doesn’t mean they can’t come back, though, if your pet is bringing them in. So eliminate the source before doing a heat treatment.
Steam, if hot enough, can also kill bedbugs. Steam treatment can be used on mattress seams or anywhere bed bugs may be hiding. It can kill off their eggs as well.
You would need special equipment to kill bed bug eggs by steam-power, however, so this would likely be a job for professionals. But you can find out the best steam cleaner for bed bugs in this article.
In sum, note that what kills bedbugs generally also kills their eggs. DE and rubbing alcohol are two good tools, but insecticides or heat treatment can also be effective.
It’s not absolutely necessary to call in a pro to kill off bed bug eggs, but if you are going to do it by heat or steam treatment, that’s likely where you’re going with it.
Remember that killing bedbugs is only a temporary fix. Killing them and their eggs win the war permanently, barring a new “invasion.”
You can find further details of Bed Bugs Control here.
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The BedBug Life Cycle
Understanding the bedbug life cycle is vital if you want to get rid of bed bugs! Get quick facts about bed bug eggs, nymphs and adults; watch the video to see what they look like in real life; and learn what you need to know about all life stages to successfully identify and kill them.
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These links will take you directly to specific sections of this page:
There’s a link back up to this menu at the end of each section for easy navigation. Of course, you can just read the whole page!
BedBug Life Cycle Quick Facts
While you may not be all that interested in their biology and behavior, here are 8 quick facts about the bedbug life cycle you should know:
- You can see all stages of bed bugs (even eggs) with the naked eye
- An adult female can lay 200-500 bed bug eggs in her lifetime
- Bed bug eggs are harder to kill than nymphs (baby bed bugs) and adults
- Bedbugs can grow from a hatched egg to a full adult in about a month
- Baby bed bugs cast their вЂњskinsвЂќ (exoskeletons, technically) as they grow
- Bed bugs need a blood meal to live, to grow, and to reproduce
- Baby bed bugs may feed as much as one time per day
- Adult bed bugs can live up to 18 months without feeding!
For a look at live bed bugs in all stages of their life cycle, click on the video below. You can jump down to the full discussion of the key things you should know about the bedbug life cycle in order to get rid annoying little buggers successfully by clicking here.
Bed Bug Life Cycle Video
I love this video because it show all stages of bed bugs (including eggs) in real life so you can get a better idea of what they look like. It also shows what cast skins look like which is important because they are one of the 9 symptoms you should look for to figure out if you have a bed bug infestation. One note though, the nymphs (baby bed bugs) in this video still have remnants of a blood meal in them so they look darker that they would if they had not been fed. For more photos of baby bed bugs, check out our bed bug picture gallery.
The video does start out a little goofy and may not seem that serious at first, but entomologist Mark вЂњShepвЂќ Sheperdigian knows his stuff. Its actually jam packed with useful information about what bed bugs look like in all stages of their life cycle. Definitely worth the2 minutesit takes to watch!
This video is shared via the Bed Bug Answers Channel on YouTube. For more helpful videos, visit (and like!) us on YouTube 🙂
Keep reading for a more detailed look at each stage of the bedbug life cycle.
Bed Bug Eggs
What do bed bug eggs look like? Believe it or not, even bed bug eggs are visible to the human eye although they can be hard to see.
Personally, I think bed bug eggs look like little pieces of rice. But they can be compared in size to a large grain of salt as shown in the video above. They are tiny (about 1mm long) and are very light in color вЂ“ ranging from translucent (almost clear) to a milky sort of white color.
This is why a magnifying glass can be helpful when you are looking for signs of bed bugs. They have a sticky film which gives them a kind of shiny appearance and helps them stick to surfaces until they hatch. More photos of bed bug eggs.
It takes about 6-10 days for a bed bug egg to hatch. The hatched egg looks clearer in color and kind of like tiny deflated balloon. Once an egg has been hatched is not shiny any more and has a dried out appearance.
Its important to note that many of the treatments that will kill bed bugs will not kill their eggs. The only things that are known to effectively kill eggs are heat and gas fumigation. This is something to keep in mind when choosing bed bug pest control options.
Fear not. If you can kill the babies before they reach adulthood and reproduce. you can stop the bedbug life cycle in its tracks!
Baby Bed Bugs (Nymphs)
The first thing a newly hatched baby bed bug does is search for a blood meal. Baby bed bugs (technically called вЂњnymphsвЂќ) go through 5 stages of development instars. So a 1st instar nymph is a вЂњnewbornвЂќ and a 5th instar nymph is a вЂњbedbug teenвЂќ, so to speak.
What do baby bed bugs look like?Well, basically they look like mini versions of adult bed bugs, but they are very light in color вЂ“ almost clear.
Like the eggs, they start out very tiny (approx. 1mm), about the size and color of a sesame seed and grow to about 5mm (Вј inch) as adults.
The blood is clearly visible in a nymph that has just fed.They look like tiny swollen purple balloons!
As baby bed bugs develop toward adulthood, they do get darker in color.
They can feed as often as once every day and they have to have a blood meal to grow from one stage to the next. They can also survive months without feeding, but they basically get stuck at whatever developmental stage of the bedbug life cycle they’re in until they get their next meal.
They develop through a process called molting. Baby bed bugs literally вЂњcrawl out of their skinsвЂќ as they move from one stage to the next. Cast skins (some people call them bed bug shells) are one of the key symptoms of a bed bug infestation. You can also see more pictures of cast skins here in the bed bug picture gallery.
Adult Bed Bugs
Adult bed bugs are about Вј inch long, about the size and shape of an apple seed. They are extremely flat like a business card or a credit card, which allows them to hide in very surprising places.
They are brown to reddish-brown in color and become more shiny and purple-ish red after they’ve fed. As they feed, they swell up into a capsule like shape вЂ“ kind of like little blood balloons. (Okay, I know that’s gross вЂ“ but its an accurate description). See more adult bedbug photos here.
On average, they feed about every 3-10 days. Again the estimates vary, but it most experts agree that it takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes for an adult bed bug to fill up on blood at one feeding. They must have a blood meal to reproduce.
Female bed bugs can lay an average of 3-5 eggs per day. The jury seems to be out on exactly how many bed bug eggs an adult female can lay in her lifetime, but the estimates range from 200 вЂ“ 500!
Bedbug Life Cycle & Life Span Factors
The full growth cycle from egg to reproducing adult can range from 1 month to 4 months. Two factors that affect the time-table of the bedbug’s life cycle aretemperatureand theavailability of food(blood).
In warmer conditions bed bugs bed bugs mature more rapidly and are likely to feed more frequently if there is a source of blood. In cooler temperatures, bed bugs can go into semi-hibernation allowing them to live much longer – even without feeding.
In the absence of a host on which to feed, bed bug nymphs can still live for a few months. But they can’t develop from one stage to the next. Basically their growth is вЂњstuntedвЂќ until they can get another meal.
Adult bed bugs can be surprisingly hardy. Under the right conditions, they can survive up to 18 months without feeding. T hat’s right, a year-and-a-half!
This is why sleeping somewhere else, like a friend or relative’s house, will not solve your problem . When you return, they will still be there waiting. and hungry.
Hopefully, this overview has made you better prepared to identify and get rid of bed bugs.
Want to explore the bedbug life cycle further?This fact sheet from the Medical Entomology Department of the Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research has lots of useful info includinga greatphoto infographicof the the bed bug life cycle by Dr. Stephen Doggett.
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Bed Bugs Pest Control: You Must Plan for Success вЂ“ Here’s How
To get rid of bed bugs, pest control planning is a must. It’s not a one-shot deal. No worries, making a bed bug pest control action plan is easier than you think! Just follow simple these steps.
Bed Bug Symptoms вЂ“ 8 Signs of Bed Bugs You Need to Know
The first bed bug symptoms people often notice are bites, but they’re not proof thatвЂ™s what you have. Learn the tell-tale signs of bed bugs and how to check for them.
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Bed Bug Fogger Alert: Don’t Grab that Can Till You Read This!
A bed bug fogger (bug bomb) seems like a quick-fix for those nasty little suckers, right? WRONG! Here are 3 reasons they don’t work and 5 ways they make things worse and prolong your agony.
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The ins and outs of bed bug eggs and bed bug larvae
Here at Western, we get a lot of calls about bed bugs. Often when people think about these pests, they forget about the early stages of bed bugs eggs and bed bug larvae. We decided to answer a few questions on the topic.
What do bed bug eggs look like?
Bed bug eggs are approximately 1mm in length and are off-white in color. When the eggs are laid, they attach with an extremely strong material that makes them difficult to dislodge. Bed bug eggs take 6-10 days to hatch.
What is the lifecycle of a bed bug?
The bed bug life cycle includes bed bug eggs, five larvae, or nymph, stages. At each stage, the bed bug has one blood meal, which helps it to grow, shed its skin, and metamorphose into the next stage. After five molts, the bed bug is considered to have reached maturity. The amount of time that it takes a bed bug to progress through the life cycle will be dependent on temperature and availability of blood meals. It may take anywhere from 21 days at 86℉ to 120 days at 65℉. The temperature threshold for bed bug eggs to hatch is 55- 59℉.
Where do bed bugs lay eggs?
Adult female bed bugs lay single eggs, one to twelve times a day, often in the same sites that older bed bugs are found. These concentrations of bed bugs additionally may be accompanied by traces of their fecal matter, reddish-black in color. Preferred locations are crevices or other tight places. Check mattress buttons and edges, box springs, and bed frames, as bed bugs are partial to wood and fabrics over plastic and metal.
If the infestation is not immediately handled, adult female bed bugs tend to lay eggs in locations away from the primary egg-laying locations, making finding these bed bug egg deposits difficult.
Do I have bed bug eggs in my hair?
Bed bug eggs are rarely found in hair as the parent bugs do not spend much time there. Unlike fleas and ticks, bed bugs are not equipped with the body parts that would allow them to attach to hair or the scalp. Bugs found in these locations would more likely be fleas or lice.
How do I kill bed bug eggs?
Due to the difficulty of locating bed bug eggs and also their resistance to most chemicals, it is most advantageous and effective to rely on the professionals to eliminate them. The same factors also often render multiple treatments necessary. One missed bed bug egg can mean a resurgence of the infestation.
Vacuuming is rarely effective in removing bed bug eggs as they strongly adhere to the surface on which they are laid. That being said, if you do try vacuuming, make sure to empty the vacuum each time you use it and dispose of the the bag outdoors. A normal wash cycle in hot water will kill bed bugs on clothing, sheets, etc. Moreover, running non-washable items through a dryer at a minimum of 140℉ will kill the bugs at any life stage.
What do bed bug larvae look like?
After the bed bugs hatch, they are referred to as bed bug larvae. Although adult bed bugs are very small, the bed bug larvae are even smaller. They appear like tiny grains of pepper and you can only see the eggs or other parts of their body by looking at them under a microscope.
Bed bug larvae actually go through five stages of development. In each case, they are very small and look like tinier version of their adult selves. They also change color, growing darker, when they have a blood meal and are required to have a blood meal to grow and reach the next level of development. Bed bug larvae do bite and they do feed, so if you find bed bug bites, but cannot find the adult bed bugs, you might have bed bug larvae developing into adults and becoming a full on infestation.
How can Western Exterminator help with bed bug eggs or bed bug larvae?
Western uses a unique tactic to help locate hidden bed bugs, bed bug eggs and bed bug larvae. With Canine Bed Bug Detection, bed bugs in any part of the lifecycle can be detected more quickly and efficiently. Our Bed Bug Detection dogs detect the bugs by their scent, finding hiding places that could easily be missed in a visual inspection. Once found, our pest specialists take the utmost care implementing a treatment that will remove the pests from your property in the safest way possible, including beg bugs, bed bug eggs and bed bug larvae.
Remember, bed bugs are extremely difficult to find and eliminate without the help of trained professionals. Trust the experts in pest control to solve your problem. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call (888) 727-0454 or contact us here.
Below I’ve listed 99+ images/pictures of bed bugs, including baby bed bugs, nymphs, fertilized females, eggs, and adults.
When you consider controlling bed bugs (Cimex lectularious), knowing what to look for (pictures of bed bugs) is your best defense.
By definition: Bed bugs are flat- to oval-shaped reddish-brown insects that are 4-5 mm long. They suck blood while you’re sleeping or resting – mainly at night. We all feel itching when we hear or read about these bugs – psychosomatic effects.
So, what do bed bugs look like? What’s their size, color, and body shape in comparison to objects such as liberty coins, Petri dish, Suitcase, etc. Let’s get started!
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like? 99+ Pictures of Bed Bugs, Treatment, & Prevention
1.Actual Size of AdultBed Bugs (See Pictures)
Size: Adult Bed bugs are rusty-brown insects that measure 4-5 mm long – about ¼ inch or the size of an apple seed. You’ll notice reddish orRustystains on your mattresses or bed sheets that are caused by the bugs.
Image Credits: Redbedbugs
The size of bed bugs tends to change as it feeds and grows from one life stage to the next. Their eggs measure about 1/32 inches long, while adults will measure 3/16 inches in length. Once the bugs suck blood – it’ll engorge to roughly 1/5 inches to 1/4 inches.
Adult Bed Bug on a Bed
Color: The color of Adult bed bugs will vary depending on when lately they fed on a meal of blood from their host. They’ll belight brownand have an oval-shaped/ flat body when they’ve not recently fed on blood.
Color of bed bugs
Shape: Adult bed bugs are small, flattened, and oval-shaped insects that have considerably reduced wings. They’re visible to the human eye. Other names of these bugs are mahogany flats, chinches, or red coats.
Adults are about one-sixth of the whole bed bug population. The hemelytra (fore wings) are broad and short with a rectangular shape. Also, the bed bug’s sides are covered by stiff and short hair.
Bed Bug Legs: Bed bugs have two antennae plus six legs. The bugs’ body looks stripped due to their short body hair that’s golden looking in color.
Bed Bug Legs + Antennae
Media coverage on bed bugs recommends searching behind walls, examine bed and mattress, look behind picture frames/ pictures, and in walls.
Real bed bug waste: Bed bug poop will look like tiny clustered spots on the bed frames. The poop is mainly made of digested blood that turns black, rust-colored, and darker after drying.
Bed bug waste/ Poop
2. Bed Bugs on Tape Measure
This must have been a notorious one – well, it was dead when taking these pictures. I found it on the bathroom floor. For this, I used Diatomaceous Earth – and it’s evident that it worked.
Definition: Adult bed bugs will measure about a quarter-inch (4 – 5mm) in length and are reddish-brown. They are flat to oval-shaped, depending on the amount of blood they’ve sucked. However, adult bed bugs and that makes just one-sixth of these bug’s population.
Baby bed bugs: But, baby bed bugs will mainly be pale white and about a millimeter in millimeter at birth and will readily blend with the background. So, let’s get into the details.
3. Massive Bed Bug Infestation on Sofa
Bed bugs will hide in most types of furniture – particularly in their undersides, seams, and corners. The rule of thumb is that bed bugs will fit in any crack that can also take a credit card.Check the bugs below hanging on sofas!
Rarely will bed bugs hide in vinyl, suede, or leather sofa or couch materials. So, if you sit on an infested chair or couch – it’s highly likely that you’ll carry the bed bugs to your home.
Further, you can use Tea tree oil, Lavender oil, Pepper powder, and Diatomaceous earth. Check these bed bugs on sofa massive bed bug infestation…
So, you’re wondering, would keeping your very clean prevent a bed bug infestation?Well, not really, bed bugs will attack whether the place is dirty of clean. However, with a clean house, you’ll find it easy to spot any bed bugs lucking around.
Exterminators recommend that you wash the bed sheets using hot water, avoid buying second-hand furniture, use a mattress cover, reduce room clutter, and inspect hotel rooms for bed bugs.
4. Dead Bed Bugs, their Eggs, and Nymphs
You’ll find most dead bed bugs to be shriveled and lying on their back. If you inspect your mattresses and box spring, you might notice signs of bed bugs.
Some may include dead bed bugs or specks of blood. Have you found some dead bed bugs in your house? – Check the one below.
Bed bugs don’t play or pretend to be dead – according tobehavioral sociology. Therefore, any of them that remains fully still after some disturbance is most likely dying or dead. Any of the bugs that are still alive will run away with slight lighting (afraid of light) or disturbance.
Image Credits: AFPMB
You might also want to inspect hidden areas like wall joins, ceiling and cracks, bedroom furniture, and carpet and your beds. Below is a video of some dead bugs. Disclaimer, some live ones were filmed.
2. Pictures ofbabybed bugs
Baby bed bugs will hatch from eggs (they’re pinhead-sized) and consequently grow to be adults in only one month. But these insects will require a dry and warm environment.
Bed bug eggs (nymphs) are visible using your naked eye – they’re colored translucent (when freshly hatching) to whitish-yellow/ brownish as they continue feeding.
After hatching from the eggs, baby Cimex lectularius quickly hunt for a good blood meal. Without a blood meal, the bugs won’t develop to their next stage. Despite that they can endure days even up to 1 month devoid of feeding, the bugs can feed even once daily while also casting their skin.
Bed bug larvae measure about a millimeter when they are born, and they tend to be pale white, which makes them blend readily with the background.
You can see blood inside a nymph babies’ body after it has had its generous blood meal. You’ll notice that these bugs look anything like a small swollen balloon. To treat these bed bugs infestations, check here.
Well, for a small bed bug infestation, could be just one female who’s mated and she’s in a package or your home – and that’s all they’ll require. The bed bug needs to feed on blood to nourish the eggs she’d produce.
3. Pictures of Bed bug Eggs (They’re Oval & White)
Females will lay about 250 eggs over their lifetime, which is about 2-4 months. The oval and white eggs are 1/16 inches in length – something like the grain of rice – and you’ll mainly find them in crevices and cracks.
Bed Bug Eggs (Oval and White)
The eggs have round ends with an elongated and oval-shaped body. The eggs are attached to a glue-type substance that’ll render them challenging to remove or move.
But the eggs have a “wet spot” look – you can use a flashlight plus a magnifying lens to search for them. They’ll hatch into babies in about 6-10 days. Further, its nymphs tend to mold about five times before attaining adulthood. Need a video instead? Check this right below…
3. Males vs. Female Bed Bugs
The main difference between females vs. male bed bugs is that the females have a rounded abdomen while the males have a pointed abdomen.
Also, males won’t lay eggs like their female counterparts. They all have six legs, are brown, and are about an apple seed in size. None of them will take care of the young nymphs or eggs.
Females: Female bed bugs will only lay eggs if they mate with their male counterparts – they need the male’s sperm. Females have a hemocoel – an empty abdominal space to store their eggs.
After mating, the females will store sperm from the males and could even draw from it to create mature eggs multiple times. Besides sperms, female bed bugs require a blood meal before creating and laying their eggs.
Males: Male don’t produce eggs, and they lack ovaries. Males will break through the female’s shell, aim at the abdomen (its tiny dark spot) to deposit their sperms in the hemocoel.
The sperms spread via the blood of the female bed bugs until it reaches the ovaries – in what we term as traumatic insemination.
Bed Bug Patterns– Female and male bed bugs have stripes patterns that move right to the left. They use this system to allow abdominal expansion when feeding on blood.
However, the females will show a small ridge at the back near its tail – the exact hemocoel location. Therefore, you’ll notice that the stripes will look somehow curved as they cross this ridge on their back.
Bed Bug Skin Color– Definitely, its possible to see through the bed bugs skin despite that its brown. So, we’ve noted that females and males hold (based on their functions) internal organs that are different.
Bed Bug Skin – See Through it?
Therefore, you can see the hemocoel and ovaries in the female bed bugs. Further, you can see a dark area on the female’s abdomen (at its back) – which we noted is its hemocoel.
4. Bed Bugs Engorged with Blood
Bed bugs will mainly feed on blood meals during the night – this is the time when sleeping humans release carbon dioxide that tends to attract these bugs. Within 5 to 10 minutes, the Cimex lectularius will be fully engorged with your blood.
The bugs will also suck blood from different warm-blooded hosts despite that they prefer feasting on human blood. But for heavily-infested places, bed bugs will also feed take their blood meal at day time.
One hollow tube will inject anesthetics (saliva looking liquid) into the human skin that makes the area numb. The other hollow tube will draw the host’s blood. The bugs will hide for about 5 to 10 days during the time which they’ll digest the blood, mate, and in addition, lay eggs.
Bed Bugs Engorged (Image A) Vs. Not Engorged (Image B)
Image Credit: Bed-bugs-handbook
4. Bed bugs on Curtains
The bugs may hide and live in drape fabrics. The fabric provides the bed bugs with hiding areas and dark folds. They easily get to your curtain buy climbing on adjacent walls or other drapes.
The bugs will lay eggs on the curtain that’ll stick more due to their glue. Here’s a couple of adult bed bugs, their eggs, nymph, and flea dirt on the top inside of the curtains – this is so scary being in a kid’s room!
Some bed bugs may attack drapes in packing, shipping, or on the production floor. The curtain may also pick bugs at the dry cleaner. This may also come from bed-bug infested luggage rugs or mattresses to your drapes.
5. Pictures of Bed Bugs on Mattress
Female Cimex lectularius will lay their eggs in crevices and cracks, particularly on the edges of your bed frames, box springs, and mattresses.
Bed Bugs on Mattress
Besides, the pest will also occupy crevices and cracks – hiding in bed rails, headboards, empty bed stands, mattresses tufts or folds, and spring soils. You’ll see cast skins, fecal stains, and even eggs.
Bed Bugs On Pillow
To control these bugs, first, stay off the home, change your bedding, and clean up. Check reddish or rusty stains on mattresses and bedsheets from the pests that may have been crushed.
Check for nymphs and their skins (colored pale-yellow) or the dark spots mainly caused by Cimex lectularius poop. Further, examine the clothing and under crevices.
5. Bed bugs on a Petri Dish
These are the bed bugs that my neighbor collected in her daughter’s room. Sadly her kids had a meltdown – particularly with her son, who has autism, and thus they had to sleep at my house.