Baby Bed Bugs: Everything You Need To Know

What Do Baby Bed Bugs Look Like?

Bed Bug Life Cycle

Baby bed bugs, or nymphs, go into five stages before becoming a full adult.

When bed bugs first hatch, they are only about 1.5 mm long. They have white, oval, and flat bodies.

The nymphs also have two antennas and six legs.

As they mature, they gradually turn from white to dark brown.

Nymphs shed their skins to grow in a process called molting. Everytime they molt they become slightly darker and bigger.

Baby bed bugs need to feed on blood to grow. If they can find enough food, they can become full adults in about six weeks.

They can grow up to 4.5mm long before shedding their exoskeleton one last time.

Adult bed bugs can grow up to 5mm long.

What Color Are Baby Bed Bugs

Baby bed bugs, known as nymphs, are white when they first hatch.

They will keep this color until they begin to feed.

Once they feed, they will have a noticeable red spot in their abdomens.

After feeding, nymphs will shed their exoskeleton. Their color will then turn from white to brown.

Baby bed bugs go into five stages of growth before reaching adulthood.

At each stage, their color gradually becomes darker.

Can You See Bed Bugs With the Naked Eye?

bed bug life cycle

Yes. Although challenging, you can see baby bugs with your naked eye.

These bugs start at around 1.5mm long and grow to 4.5mm once they reach their final stage.

To see baby bed bugs, you have to pay close attention. If you want to see the details of its body clearly, I recommend using a magnifying glass.

What Do Baby Bed Bugs Eat?

Nymphs feed on blood to survive and develop. They will bite people and pets to get the blood they need.

Sucking blood allows nymphs to molt into an adult. They cannot progress into becoming an adult without at least one blood meal.

Nymphs go through five stages of development before reaching adulthood.

They need to feed at least once in each of the five stages of their development.

Once they become adults, they will take repeated blood meals until they die of old age.

Do Baby Bed Bugs Have Wings?

No. Neither juvenile nor adult bed bugs grow wings. But adult bed bugs have wing pads but they don’t develop function wings.

However, they are often confused with other small insects with wings such as German cockroach and Carpet bugs.

What Bug Looks Like Bed Bugs?

German Cockroach

Similar to baby bed bugs, baby german roaches appear white when they first hatch.

German roaches will then develop into reddish-brown and will look eerily similar to bed bugs.

As bed bugs grow, they will develop a reddish-brown color and a flat, oval shape. They are usually the size of poppy seeds throughout their life cycle.

Compared to roaches, bed bugs are also more oval. German cockroaches also have wings, and bed bugs do not.

One of the easiest ways to distinguish between bed bugs and baby roaches are the length of antennas.

German roaches have long antennae. If you see antennas that are as long as the insect’s body, you’re most likely looking at a cockroach.

Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetles’ are often confused with bed bugs

Their larvae’s shed skin that’s frequently confused with bed bugs’ exoskeleton.

But, unlike baby bed bugs exoskeletons, the carpet beetle larva’s skin is covered with hairs.

Carpet beetles, like bed bugs, are small, round, and brown.

However they are distinct from bed bugs in that they don’t have wings.

Spider Beetle

Spider beetles, like bed bugs, are tiny, oval, and reddish-brown.

Unlike bed bugs, these beetles do not feed on blood.

Spider beetles include a wide variety of food in their diet, such as wheat, cereals, animal skin and waste, beans, etc.

Bat Bugs

Bat bugs look very similar to bed bugs. They have flat, oval, and reddish-brown bodies.

Like bed bugs, they also feed on blood, with their preferred hosts being bats.

These bugs will instead not feed on human blood but will suck on it if food is scarce.

As such, unlike bed bugs, you won’t find bat bugs on mattresses and furniture.

Instead, they generally aggregate in attics.

Bat bugs are unique to bed bugs because they have fringe hairs located just below their head.

Also, bat bugs cannot reproduce without bats’ blood.

Booklice

Booklice are often confused with baby bed bugs.

Like bed bug nymphs, these insects are white or brown.

Unlike bed bugs, however, they do not feed on blood and are not often found in mattresses.

Instead, you’ll find them under wallpaper and along the sides of windows and window sills.

Their primary food source is not blood, but fungi, mold, and parts of dead insects.

Do Baby Bed Bugs Crawl?

All bed bugs crawl, but none are fast crawlers.

Adult bed bugs can crawl faster than baby bugs, but not by much.

That’s because they have no reason to run away.

Bed bugs survive by being sneaky.

They hide undisturbed into deep holes and crevices.

Bed bugs also administer an anesthetic, so you won’t feel them sucking your blood.

They also release anticoagulants so they can feed on your blood as efficiently as possible.

As such, nature has no reason to give bed bugs the ability to fly or crawl fast.

Where Can You Find Bed Bug Eggs?

Females bed bugs lay their eggs in secluded places such as cracks, crevices, and foldings. These eggs are typically found in clusters.

One female generally lays one to five eggs per day and can produce five hundred eggs in her lifetime.

The egg is about 1 mm in length. That is about the size of two grains of salt.

They take about two weeks to hatch into a white baby bed bug with six legs and two antennae.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R26-3bKJUEA

What Do Bed Bug Eggs Look Like?

Bed bug eggs are white.

They are about 1 mm in length, similar to the size of two grains of salt.

They are sticky and are typically in clusters inside cracks and crevices.

Bed bug eggs take about two weeks to hatch into a white baby bed bug.

Once hatched, the juvenile bed bug will leave behind its eggshell, which generally looks like white debris.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KalTmCT36-s

Can You Squish a Baby Bed Bug?

Yes. Bed bugs have soft skeletons.

You can squish them pretty easily with your shoes.

That said, if you do squeeze them, chances are they will leave a dark stain.

This stain comes from the blood that they sucked from their last meal.

So while it’s possible, it may not be a very good idea, as they could leave a stain.

Also, squishing these pests isn’t a treatment. It will not eliminate the infestation.

Where Do Baby Bed Bugs Live?

Baby bed bugs spend most of their time in harborage areas with adults.

These harboring areas are typically located close to the host.

Some common places you can find are cracks, crevices, fabric seams, or folds on mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards.

You may also find them in closets, baseboards, upholstery, and furniture.

Baby bed bugs would leave these areas when prompted by hunger to find a food source.

Once finished feeding, they’ll return to their harbored area.

Bed bugs generally stay in harborage locations with little airflow. When their population gets large, some bed bugs may be pushed out in the open.

How Do Bed Bugs Make Babies?

Male bed bugs engage in traumatic insemination with a female bed bug.

Traumatic insemination is where the male pierces the female’s stomach to inject his sperm.

A female can lay eggs up to five times a day.

The eggs will then hatch in six to ten days, and a baby bed bug, known as a nymph, will emerge.

Are Baby Bed Bugs Dangerous?

Bed bugs do not carry any diseases and are relatively harmless compared to other pests such as mosquitoes and cockroaches.

Having a bed bug infestation can be disruptive to the well being of their human host.

Most people that have infestation suffer from anxiety and lack of sleep.

Baby bed bugs also shed skin that can trigger allergies to some.

Finally, bed bug bites can cause discomfort, itchiness, swelling, and in rare cases, anaphylaxis.

How To Get Rid Of Baby Bed Bugs?

Getting rid of baby bed bugs requires the same methods as getting rid of adult bed bugs.

There are several techniques you can use to go about this.

Each one has its advantages and disadvantages.

Here are some of the most popular bed bug treatments today:

  • Vacuum treatments
  • Steam treatments
  • Mattress Encasements
  • Cold Freeze Treatments
  • Fumigation Treatment
  • Insecticide treatment
  • Diatomaceous Earth or CimeXa

Before we dive into these treatments, let’s go over the first and most crucial step to these treatments: comprehensive inspection.

1. Comprehensive Inspection

Inspection is the process of finding evidence of bed bugs.

It allows you to determine if treatment is necessary.

Also, it allows you to choose the best method of control, given all the factors involved.

While bed bug bites can be evidence of an infestation, they are not very reliable.

That’s because different people react to the bites differently.

While some people can show severe swelling, others may show none at all.

Also, bites from other insects such as mosquito and ants can look very similar. They can also look identical to some skin infections and allergies.

The best way to be sure you have an infestation is to find and identify live bed bugs and eggs.

Using a flashlight, inspect possible locations of infestation.

Possible harborage locations are anywhere that people rest for extended periods:

  • Mattresses
  • Box springs
  • Sheets, pillowcases, and other bed linens
  • Bed frames
  • Headboards
  • Couch

 

You can also find them on anything made of fabric, leather, wood, drywall, paper, cardboard.

You also want to check other less likely, but possible harborage areas such as closets, upholstery, electrical outlets, and light switches.

Bed bugs have a hard time crawling on smooth surfaces such as metal, glass, plastic, or porcelain. As such, you won’t likely find them there.

Once you found the harborage area, take a picture or get a magnifying glass.

You can also collect the bug specimens by placing them in containers or vials.

Study the bug carefully to confirm that the pest you are looking at is the bed bug and not any similar-looking bugs.

If you can’t find live bed bugs and eggs, look for other evidence of infestation.

Other clues for infestation are bed bug skin and droppings.

Bed bug droppings look like tiny drops of bloodstain clustered together.

2. Treatment

Vacuum Treatments

While you wouldn’t be able to target all bed bugs using vacuum treatments, this method is excellent at removing a large number of bed bugs, eggs, and shells skin quickly.

Removing these is vital in the treatment process because it gives you a clear picture of progress.

If you remove bed bug cast skin and eggs, you can do a follow-up and know if you’ve eliminated the infestation.

Eliminating cast skin is also important as it has been linked to asthma and other allergic reactions to some.

For this method, I recommend using crevice tools designed to help your reach bed bugs hiding in folds and crevices.

Vacuum any location where there is bed bug evidence such as bed boards, furniture, mattresses and around your bed.

I highly recommend a vacuum with a HEPA filter. These filters are preferred by professional pest control companies because the filter will ensure that particles don’t become airborne once you start vacuuming.

This is important because bed bug skins and remains have lots of allergens that should are unhealthy and should not be inhaled.

Pros

✅ Can eliminate large numbers of bed bugs and eggs. 

✅ Will remove bed bugs cast skins.

✅ Safe for humans and pets. 

✅ Non-Invasive, fast, and no toxic chemicals. 

Cons

🚫 May not be able to access bed bugs hidden deep in crevices.

🚫 Labor intensive. 

🚫 Not very effective with sticky bed bug eggs.

🚫 No residual effects. 

 

Fumigation Treatments

Fumigation treatments release fumigant gas into bed bug-infested areas to control bed bugs in all life stages.

The great thing about fumigation is its ability to penetrate areas that are difficult to access, such as tiny folds, seams, and intricate fabric.

That said, fumigation requires extensive preparation.

You’ll need to vacate all living things in your home until all traces of the fumigant have dissipated.

Fumigation also requires professional assistance, which can be costly.

Pros

✅ Highly Effective. 

✅ Can Kill 100% of Infestation. 

✅ No cleaning or decluttering. required. 

✅ Home is safe afterward. 

Cons

🚫 Requires you to hire professionals. 

🚫 Expensive.

🚫 Invasive, often requires you to leave for several days. 

🚫 No residual effects. 

 

Steam Treatments

Bed bugs and their eggs cannot survive temperatures that exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

As such, steam can be highly effective when employed against bed bugs properly.

This means that every area with bed bugs must be treated with localized steam and ensure it reaches above 120 degrees. 

Steam is also great because it kills bed bugs without the need to use toxic chemicals from the insecticide.

That said, steam does not provide residual control.

As such, all bed bugs must be eliminated during treatment to avoid repopulation.

Pros

✅ Chemical and toxic-free.

✅ Great for fabrics with complex substrates. 

✅ Can be done at home. 

✅ Equipment is easy to access. 

 

Cons

🚫 Steam may damage some surfaces. 

🚫 Labor intensive. 

🚫 No residual effects. 

🚫 If not done properly bed bugs will survive. 

🚫 Need to find everywhere bed bugs are hiding to eliminate the infestation. 

Mattress Encasements

Mattress and box spring encasements can be a great way to control bed bugs.

Encasements create a barrier between you and the bed bugs living in your mattress.

They are great if you are looking for an inexpensive and quick solution for your bed bugs.

Encasements are also great to use if you do not want to dispose of heavily infested mattresses.

There are many different mattress encaseent options depending on your preference.

Plastic covering are typically cheaper but tend to be more uncomfortable.

On the other hand, fabric mattress encasements are more comfortable but also expensive.

I always recommend investing in a quality mattress encasement from the start.

If you go for a budget option and it rips then you will have to wait longer for the bed bugs to die and you will most likely be exposed to bed bugs again.

Pros

✅ Easy and quick solution. 

✅ Great for controlling small infestations. 

✅ Seals bugs and eggs to prevent them from feeding. 

Cons

🚫 Not effective if ripped or damage. 

🚫 Can’t wash encasement once its installed. 

🚫 No residual effects. 

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Cold Freeze Treatments

Extremely low temp can kill bed bugs on contact.

Cold freeze treatments use a dry carbon dioxide at -109 degrees Fahrenheit to kill bed bugs on contact.

This method is only effective as if applied directly on bed bugs; it leaves no residual behind.

Freeze treatments are great for eliminating bed bugs on items that are hard to treat, such as books, plastics, and toys.

If you’re considering placing small items inside your freezer to kill bugs, note that this method is not reliable in killing their eggs.

Bed bug eggs have hard cases. As such, items need to be frozen at 32 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 days to kill all eggs.

Pros

✅  No moisture residue. 

✅ Can be used to treat complex items and fabrics. 

✅ Toxic and chemical-free. 

Cons

🚫May not be able to target all bed bugs.

🚫 Some bed bugs may be blown away during treatment.

🚫 No residual control.

🚫 May need to hire a professional and can be costly. 

🚫 Can be dangerous and costly if you DIY. 

 

Heat treatment

Extreme heat is fatal to bed bugs.

And heat treatments take advantage of this.

Heat treatments increase the heat in structures, rooms, and items to a temperature lethal to bed bugs and eggs.

Heat treatment for large areas requires specialized equipment designed and tested for bed bug control.

As such, treating entire structures or rooms need professional assistance.

While hiring a pest control company to do heat treatments around your house is highly effective, they can be costly.

On average, heat treatments can cost anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

To remove bed bugs from smaller items such as books, laundry, bags, etc., you can generally get away with a portable heater.

You can also use a bed bug heat chamber. Heat chambers allow you to place small items and seal them inside while the heat is on.

The particular temperature lethal to bed bugs varies per life stage.

Because eggs have hard casings, they can withstand higher temperatures longer than adult bed bugs.

To ensure that you target all bed bugs in all life stages, make sure you raise the temperature to 122 F.

For targeting difficult insulated areas such as in between cushions, use a fan.

Using a fan will help increase airflow to provide faster heat exchange.

Pros

✅ Highly effective.

✅ Chemical and toxic-free.

✅ Effective for complex items and fabrics.

✅ DIY possible for smaller items. 

Cons

🚫 Specialized equipment needed

🚫 Full house or room treatments require professionals. 

🚫 Expensive.

🚫The heat may damage some surfaces.

🚫 No residual effects. 

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Insecticide Treatment

When using insecticides, make sure to read and follow all label instructions.

Pay special attention to what type of furniture, surfaces, and materials is the insecticide safe to use

You’ll also want to pay attention to how long it takes before re-application and follow accordingly.

Pros

✅ Highly Effective. 

✅ Many products a are available on the market. 

✅ DIY is possible. 

Cons

🚫 Some bed bug populations may be resistant to active ingredients

🚫 Labor intensive treatments. 

🚫 Contains chemicals. 

🚫 May require professionals that are expensive. 

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Dust Treatment

The two most popular dust treatments for bed bugs is Diatomaceous Earth and CimeXa.

When bed bugs walk through these dust, the dust will destroy their exoskeleton and then dehydrate them by absorbing water.

These are natural chemicals with very low toxicity to mammals.

This is one of the reasons it is often used to treat bed bugs.

Unfortunately, dust treatments should not be used as a stand-alone treatment.

Dust should be used wit other treatments such as liquid insecticide or heat treatments.

The problem with dust treatments is that they require contact with the bed bug and slow acting.

Dust treatments are applied as a layer over beds, boxsprings, floors, and furniture.

Dust should be applied as a thing layer slightly visible.

Thick layers can force bed bugs to scatter and avoid the dust altogether.

Pros

✅ All Natural. 

✅Easy to apply and long-lasting if not wet. 

✅ DIY is possible. 

✅ Affordable. 

Cons

🚫 Not a stand-alone treatment. 

🚫 Thick applications can cause bed bugs to spread around your house. 

🚫 Inhaling dust can have negative health effects. 

🚫 Requires direct contact with bed bgs and is slow acting. 

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How to Prevent Baby Bed Bugs?

Keep Your House Clean and Tidy

Bed bugs love clutter. It provides them with the perfect shelter to hide and reproduce

Bed bugs can hide anywhere from dirty laundry, backpacks, lamps, books, electronics, etc.

The cleaner your house, the fewer places bed bugs can hide.

Being clean and organized makes it spot bed bugs as well as to get rid of them.

Change Your Linens

Changing your linens will help you identify bed bug infestation in its early stages

Examine Used Furniture

If you like to buy used or antique furniture, inspect them before taking them home.

Inspect the zippers, folds, and seams for signs of bed bugs such as casings, droppings, eggs, and live bugs.

Seal Voids On Your Wall

Bed bugs typically spread from room to room through crevices and voids.

This type of transfer is especially common in multi-unit building.

To prevent these bugs from entering your home, make sure to seal up all the holes and crevices on your walls, floors, doors, and windows.

Bed bugs are tiny and can get into the smallest cracks and crevices, so don’t skip any holes because they seem innocuous.

Smooth Storage Bins

Get storage bins that’s made of smooth plastic or metal. This way bed bugs wont be able to crawl and infest anything in it. 

Mattress covers

Keep your mattresses and couch covered. If the covers get damaged or ripped, tape them shut or replace them immediately. 

Traveling

When traveling, keep your luggage off the floor to prevent it from becoming infected.

Place all your clothes inside a sealed plastic bag.

Once home, make sure to wash your clothes on hot water.

Any clothes that need to be dry cleaned should be sent for service. You can also put them in the dryer and run it on high heat for 30 minutes.

Monitoring

Inspect your home every three months once every season.

Regular inspections will help ensure that you catch any bed bug infestation at its earliest stages.

To make monitoring bed bugs more efficient you can purchase a monitoring device.

These devices include passive, active, or pitfall style traps.

Passive Monitoring

Passive monitoring involves using any trap that captures insects that come across it, such as sticky traps.

Unfortunately, sticky traps are not very good at catching bed bugs. As such, it’s not a very good way to detect an infestation.

Active Monitoring

Active monitoring involves using heat, CO2, and other chemical attractants to draw bed bugs in.

Bed bugs find their host by the carbon dioxide (CO2) we breathe out.

Once the bugs detect the CO2 coming from the device, they will climb inside, but they won’t be able to climb back up.

You can also use pitfall traps to capture and monitor bed bugs.

Pitfall traps are typically made of a plastic dish and work based on the fact that bed bugs cannot climb slippery surfaces.

They are usually placed under bed legs and furniture to capture bed bugs crawling on the legs.

They can be useful in preventing bugs from reaching their host as well as detecting bugs early.

While they work, pitfall traps are not very reliable at bed bug detection.

Because these devices can only detect bugs that travel in a specific location, it can easily miss other bed bugs infesting a room.

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