Waking up with bed bug bites is horrible, and what’s even worse is wondering if there are bed bug eggs hiding in your mattress!
We’ve all heard horror stories from someone we know about bed bug bites and infestations from second-hand furniture and coming back from after staying in hotel rooms. These small pests easily hide unseen in our mattresses, bed frames or box spring, luggage, and even in picture frames!
And before you know it, you have a bed bug infestation that’s hard to control. Knowing what bed bug eggs look like, where and how to spot them in your home and apartments can not only save you from these blood-sucking pests but also lead to savings down the line!
Locating bed bug eggs is one of the easiest ways to figure out the source of an infestation. In this article, you’ll learn exactly what bed bug eggs look like, what to expect from the ones hiding in your mattress, where you can locate these eggs, and methods you can use to get rid of them effectively.
What Do Bed Bug Eggs Look Like?
First things first, what do bed bug eggs look like anyway? Bed bug eggs are very small in size (about 1 mm in length) and white to pearl-white in color.
They resemble a pinhead or a grain of salt and are shaped like a barrel. This makes them difficult to spot on mattresses, one of the insects’ preferred hiding places, because they blend in so well with the fabric, especially against lighter colors.
The eggs a female lays are coated in a sticky coating that allows them to stick to practically any surface. Eggs older than five days will have a dark mark that looks like an eye.
Bed bug eggs can be found as single eggs or in clusters, and virtually all of them hatch within 10 days. Temperature can influence when eggs hatch. The lower the temperature, the longer it may take for an egg to hatch.
There are almost equal numbers of male and female eggs. In ideal conditions, a bed bug population can double every 16 days because females can produce a significant number of eggs.
How and Where Do Bed Bugs Lay Eggs?
As ectoparasites, bed bugs feed on the blood of their hosts. They’re nocturnal and reddish-brown in color. Most of the time, these annoying pests choose humans as their hosts.
The female bed bug must first consume a blood meal in order to lay eggs, which will allow it to lay a large number of eggs. She can produce more than a hundred eggs in her lifetime, provided she has a steady supply of blood.
Unfortunately, for such a steady supply, bed bugs lay eggs on or near beds to get able to feed on human blood while we sleep.
A single female bed bug can lay anywhere from one to seven eggs every day, which adds up to hundreds of eggs over the course of its lifetime. Typically, it takes 7 to 10 days for bed bug eggs to hatch, and then another 5 to 7 weeks for the newly hatched bed bugs to reach maturity and begin reproducing.
When you find bed bug eggs, you can figure out where the bed bugs are coming from and how bad the infestation is. When getting rid of bed bugs, you need to kill not only nymphs and adults but also any eggs that can hatch.
How to Check for Bed Bug Eggs in Your Home
Your first step should be to determine how the bed bugs got into your house. Luggage and suitcases are some of the most common causes of bed bug infestations. Bed bugs get into them when people stay in hotel rooms while traveling.
There are a few ways that bugs can enter a home, but once inside, they will likely make a beeline for your mattress. Their diet and behavior are to blame for this phenomenon.
Bed bugs emerge at night and feast on the blood of whoever is sleeping in the bed. They inject an anticoagulant that causes rashes and other non-life-threatening side effects and reactions. In most cases, the resulting scars look and feel like mosquito or flea bites: swollen, red, itchy lumps.
Bed bugs don’t travel far once they are inside a house or apartment in order to feed or lay eggs. The majority of eggs are laid in safe areas that are conveniently accessible to a food source. These pests may lay eggs in cracks as thin as a business card, giving them a wide range of potential nesting sites.
The eggs of bed bugs are almost always found on or close to beds, which makes sense given that bed bugs feed almost exclusively on humans. It is typical to locate them on mattress seams and joints, as well as on the box spring and behind the headboard if it is next to or attached to the wall.
Spots of red or black color may also be visible in these areas. These spots are actually bed bug feces, which consist of digested blood. Due to the pheromone secretions from their scent glands, a bed bug infestation may give off a strong, sweet, or musty odor.
Take off the sheets and pillows and look at every seam and crack. Bed bug eggs are notoriously difficult to come across due to their translucent appearance and small size. To find them, you might need a flashlight and a magnifying glass.
Inside your home, other places they’re commonly found include behind wallpaper and picture frames, cracks and crevices around the properties, and even under carpets. What’s worse is that they may even choose to lay eggs in walls, baseboards, or floorboards.
Identifying and eliminating bed bugs is a difficult task. In fact, it frequently calls for professional pest control assistance.
Will the Bed Bug Eggs in My Mattress Hatch?
If you’ve ever had bed bug eggs in your bed, you’ve probably wondered if they will ever hatch into actual bed bugs. Unfortunately, yes.
Nymphs are the term used to describe immature bed bugs. This is because their metamorphosis is rather straightforward, consisting of just three stages, namely egg, nymph, and adult stage. This is different from insects like butterflies, which go through a full metamorphosis in four stages, namely egg, larva, pupa, and adult stage.
Bed bug nymphs, like those of other insects that undergo simple metamorphosis, look a lot like their adult counterparts. They are, however, transparent or straw-like in color and much smaller in size.
Before they become adults, bed bug nymphs go through five stages in which they get darker and bigger as they grow. At the end of each stage, they molt or get rid of their outer shell, so they can grow. Exoskeletons like this, which have been shed by the bugs, are a telltale sign of a bed bug infestation.
These shells can be found anywhere bed bugs and bed bug eggs are found. Again, this is most likely in the seams of your mattress or box spring, as well as other areas in and around your bed.
The exoskeletons are similar in appearance to the actual bed bugs. However, they are made of a translucent shell and their size can range from very little to rather large depending on the stage of development of the insects that shed them.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bug Eggs
Fortunately, there are methods for getting rid of these pests from your home or apartment. Here are the methods you can use to get rid of bed bugs and bed bug eggs effectively:
Vacuuming works to a certain extent but it doesn’t get rid of the eggs perfectly every time. So, attempting to kill bed bug eggs with a vacuum cleaner will only be partially effective.
To boost the vacuum’s suction power, try using it without the attachment. This is useful for removing bed bugs and their eggs that have become embedded or stuck on surfaces.
In order to prevent bed bugs from being dispersed around the room, you should not use the bristle attachment. If they land on random items throughout the property, it will be nearly impossible to find them on your own.
The vacuum container should not be discarded within the house. Go outside and put everything in a plastic bag, then make sure the bag is sealed well before disposing of carefully.
Heat Infected Items Yourself
If you’ve found bed bugs or their eggs on your clothes, chairs, or bedding, you can try to get rid of them by using heat treatments at home.
One way is to use your dryer at home. They’re unable to tolerate temperatures higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. So consider putting everything that can be dried in the dryer, including your bed sheets, curtains, clothes, and anything else that may be infested.
However, it is important that the heat reaches every part of the infested items, so doing this with larger items like big blankets can be trickier. For such big items, you’ll need to dry them twice and flip them over the second time.
Another even more efficient and effective way to use heat treatment at home is by using a heater for bed bugs such as a Thermal Strike or Zapp Bug.
Get Professional Heat Treatment
Alternatively, you can get professional services for heat treatment.
The term ‘thermal death point’ refers to the temperature at which bed bugs die. Bed bugs in all life stages begin to dehydrate at a specific temperature. Depending on how hot it is, the bugs will die in a matter of hours.
For bed bug eggs, nymphs, and adults, the thermal death point is 113 F (45°C). This temperature will kill all stages of the insects in about an hour and a half.
Technicians will use specialized gear when heat treatment is the only option. It’s used to get the space up to the ideal temperature to kill bed bugs at every stage.
Pest control professionals operate in highly regulated conditions making this a safe procedure for homes and apartments. And although it’s typically more expensive than standard spraying with insecticides, it’s much for effective for severe infestations.
Using Chemical Pesticides
Most of the time, the easiest way to get rid of insects is to use a pesticide. But many of the options you can buy aren’t strong enough to make a difference when you have a severe bed bug infestation.
While using the incorrect brand or product, you run the risk of getting sick due to the mild toxicity of some over-the-counter solutions. A fogging solution could get rid of bed bugs that you can see, but it might not get rid of bed bugs that are hiding and could irritate your lungs in the process as well.
The Environmental Protection Agency warns that it is dangerous to use fogging bug treatments because the products are flammable. Instead of attempting to deal with the problem yourself with chemicals, the EPA suggests getting in touch with a pest control service.
You can save yourself the trouble of trying different solutions if you hire a professional pest control service to take care of the problem for you.
Other Bed Bug Guides from Planet Natural:
Where Do Bed Bugs Come From? And What Attracts Them?
8 Most Common Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs (Complete Guide)
6 Early Signs of Bed Bugs (Top Indicators of an Infestation)
Melissa Askari is a biologist and master gardener who is known for her contributions to the field of sustainable living. She is a regular contributor to Planet Natural, a website that provides information and resources for gardening, composting and pest control. Melissa's work focuses on promoting environmentally-friendly practices and helping people create beautiful, healthy gardens using natural methods. With her expertise in both biology and gardening, Melissa is able to provide valuable insights and advice to gardeners of all levels. Her passion for the natural world is evident in her writing and her dedication to promoting sustainable practices that benefit both people and the planet.