Bed bugs are tiny insects that come out at night to feed on human blood, a reality that seems scarier than fiction. They leave bite marks on your body and reproduce in your home, quickly leading to an infestation. So, how do you identify the eggs of these little monsters and remove them from your home?
Identification, prevention, and eradication are important parts of dealing with bed bugs. The first step is identifying whether you’re dealing with bed bugs or some other pest. Knowing what their eggs look like will give you a great start on your path to eliminating these pests from your home.
Read on to discover seven ways to identify bed bug eggs and how to remove them through credible DIY and professional treatment options.
- Bed bug eggs are a sure sign that there is an infestation in the home and that it’s time to take action to eliminate this pest.
- Differentiating between bed bug eggs and the eggs of other pests can help determine the best repellent plan.
- A multi-pronged approach is necessary to completely eliminate bed bugs at all life stages.
7 Ways To Identify Bed Bug Eggs
Bed bug eggs can be identified based on a few different factors, such as size, shape, and color. Bed bugs are confused with other pests like cockroaches, fleas, and beetles, so it’s important to identify whether or not you’re dealing with bed bugs.
Knowing which pest you’re dealing with will help you better determine which preventative measures to take to keep these annoying critters away. Our article on telling the difference between fleas, ticks, and bed bugs can help differentiate between these three similar pests.
So, how can you identify bed bug eggs? Let’s look at seven different ways!
1. Egg Size
Bed bug eggs are typically 1/20th of an inch (1mm). Flea eggs are smaller, around 0.5mm (0.2 inches) and cockroach eggs are larger, around 1/4 of an inch.
Because of their small size, bed bug eggs can be incredibly difficult to spot. They’re so small that they could be mistaken for a speck of dirt or dust.
2. Egg Color
When eggs are first laid, they are more transparent and sticky, which is why they adhere to surfaces so well. As the eggs age, they become more white to tan and develop eye spots where the embryos are developing. Eggs are hard to see without aid, as they resemble nothing more than a speck of dust.
After the eggs hatch, the shells will remain in place, making it a little easier to identify them during an infestation. You can sometimes differentiate bed bug eggs from similar pests by color. For example, cockroach eggs are usually brown.
However, flea and beetle eggs are also white, so try to use other clues to determine if the eggs are, in fact, bed bugs.
3. Identify Bed Bug Eggs By Their Location
When bed bugs hatch, they go through five stages of molting. Between each molting, the nymphs must feed on blood to start a new molt. Because of this, adult bed bugs try to lay their eggs near human resting spots.
As the name suggests, this can mean near our bed. It can also mean near our couches and chairs or anywhere else you spend a lot of time. Here are some common places where bed bugs lay their eggs and the location of other pests:
|Likely Place to Find Eggs
|Mattress seams, furniture crevices, and cracks in the wall
|Pet bedding, carpets, and upholstered furniture
|Dark, warm, and moist areas such as kitchens and bathrooms
|Stored food products, grains, and fabric upholstery
|Near food sources, in soil, or inside walls and under flooring
The location in the house may give you a clue to the egg’s identity. Also, take a look at the surface where the egg was laid. Bed bugs prefer laying eggs on hard surfaces like wood or paper.
4. Bed Bugs Lay Single Eggs
Another way to identify bed bug eggs is by the number that is laid in a single location. Female bed bugs usually lay a single egg at a time and up to 5 eggs per day. If you find one that looks like a single spec of dust, it could be a bed bug egg.
Over her lifetime, a female bed bug will lay many eggs as long as she has access to a blood source.
Fleas, on the other hand, lay up to 50 eggs at a time on a host, which then falls into carpets and pet bedding. Cockroaches typically lay anywhere from 15 to 30 eggs at a time.
5. The Presence Of Reddish-Black Spots
Female bed bugs lay their eggs in the same vicinity where they themselves live. After a while, this area gets covered in bed bug feces, which appear as yellow or reddish-black spots. Yuck.
Flea egg areas may also contain reddish-brown spots which are remnants of blood from feeding. However, beetle and cockroach eggs will not share this characteristic.
6. A Foul Odor Near The Egg
If you think you’ve found a bed bug egg, trust your nose to figure it out. If you sense a foul, rotting meat sort of scent, you may have found a bed bug egg. This smell is due to the presence of blood in their feces, which is often secreted near the eggs.
A large infestation can make this smell even more potent. This smell may also be present with fleas and cockroaches.
7. Molted Skins Near Eggs
If you find transparent, shed skins near a suspected bed bug egg, it may be from when a newly hatched bed bug molted. Look for light brown, transparent skin near the eggs. The skins may be different sizes, depending on the stage of molting.
The shed skin casings will look exactly like an adult bed bug but will obviously be empty.
How Often Do Bed Bugs Actually Lay Eggs?
After feeding on a host, a female bed bug lays around one to seven eggs per day for the next ten days. To lay more eggs, she needs another meal. A female bed bug lays hundreds of eggs during her life span.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture And Consumer Services states that bed bugs can double their population every 16 days under ideal conditions. This means the temperature must be between 70° F and 90° F, and the pests are in the presence of a host.
If a female bed bug successfully attaches herself to your luggage, clothes, or body while you’re traveling, it’s nearly effortless to create a thriving bed bug population at home soon after your return.
Know Where Bed Bugs Lay Eggs
Any crack the width of a credit card or larger can house bed bugs. This means bed bugs can disappear to many places in your home.
They hide in or along wall cracks, baseboards, outlet edges, and within the seams of mattresses and cushioned furniture. Female bed bugs hide, lay their eggs, and feed in a small area, which is why you will typically find bed bug eggs in bedrooms.
Bed bug eggs do not hatch at the same time, so it is normal to find eggshells in the bed bug nursery. Distinguishing between an unhatched egg and an eggshell is a little tricky. The major difference you can look for is the eggshell is less shiny and flatter.
How To Remove Bed Bug Eggs
Now that you know how to identify bed bug eggs, it’s time to remove these pests from the home. Permanently! A multi-pronged approach is recommended to get rid of bed bugs at every life cycle.
Leaving the home for a week or more for vacation will not get rid of bed bugs. These pests can survive up to a year without feeding!
Apply Essential Oils
Essential oils such as thyme, lemongrass, and clove can be effective at repelling and even eliminating bed bugs. Applying the oils directly on the bed bugs is effective in eliminating bed bugs and their eggs.
SVA Thyme Essential Oil is easy to use and effective against bed bugs. Apart from applying the essential oil directly to bed bugs and eggs, there are a few other ways to use essential oils to repel bed bugs:
- Cotton balls: Soak cotton balls in essential oil and place them around your room.
- DIY Spray: Mix 10-15 drops of essential oil with water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution near resting areas.
Use a Mattress Encasement
A mattress encasement is a cost-effective solution for keeping bed bugs and their eggs out of your bed. It’s simple: a fabric casing snugly covers your entire mattress and closes with a zipper. This is most applicable when you have eliminated bed bugs from your home and want to protect the mattress from future infestations.
You can also consider using the encasement to capture the bed bugs and their eggs that are already on the mattress. (If you want to keep using the mattress, just make sure that the encasement is not damaged.)
The HOSPITOLOGY PRODUCTS Mattress Encasement is one viable option for you to consider. It’s a lab-tested casing that’s waterproof, allergen-proof, and, of course, bed-bug-proof.
Clear Away Clutter and Run The Vacuum
Clearing away clutter and vacuuming are effective when paired with other treatments. Clearing away clutter not only uncovers areas where bed bugs and their eggs may hide but also stamps out these areas as future hiding spots.
Vacuuming is also critical because it helps you trap clusters of bed bugs and their eggs at one time. There are guidelines to follow when vacuuming to trap bed bugs so that you don’t inadvertently spread the insects and worsen the infestation:
- Use maximum suction and the vacuum’s crevice apparatus
- Refrain from pushing too firmly on the fabric because this might shoot bed bugs and their eggs away from the area.
- Collect the vacuum’s contents into a bag and tape it closed.
- Throw away the bag in the trash
- Continue vacuuming in the areas where you found bed bugs and their eggs.
Use a Bed Bug Interceptor
A bed bug interceptor is a plastic dish that traps bed bugs while they’re moving between their host and hiding spots. It’s placed under the leg of a furniture piece, most typically a bed.
The outer ring traps bed bugs who are on the floor and intend to climb up the furniture. The inner ring traps bed bugs who are already on the furniture and intend to climb down. You can read about if glue traps work for bed bugs here for a more detailed look.
By trapping the bed bugs, the bed bug interceptor minimizes the possibility of female bed bugs returning to their hiding spot to lay eggs. (They only lay eggs if they are feeding on a host regularly.) Used alone, the interceptor will not completely eliminate bed bugs and their eggs from your home, so you should pair it with other treatments.
You can consider the Climbup Insect Interceptor Bed Bug Trap as one way to monitor and reduce the number of bed bugs and their eggs in your home.
Toss Washable Items in Washer and Dryer
If bed bugs lay eggs on your clothes, you can toss all of them in your washer and dryer. Clothes washed in hot water or dried above 122 degrees Fahrenheit will effectively eliminate bed bugs and their eggs. You should do so for at least 20 minutes to guarantee the removal.
For most washers and dryers, this outcome is usually reached at a medium to high setting. If you own other washable items with bed bug eggs on them (such as additional fabrics and shoes), you can also toss them in the washer and dryer for at least 30 minutes.
Use A Freezer Or Freezing Temperatures
You can store items with bed bug eggs on them in a freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for at least four days. The freezer’s cold temperature prevents the eggs from hatching.
If you live in an area prone to cold weather, you can also put infested items outdoors. However, this will not guarantee the complete elimination of bed bugs and their eggs.
Just make sure you don’t put anything in the freezer that can be damaged, such as electronics.
Steam Clean To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs
Steam cleaning is a proven treatment option that eliminates bed bugs and their eggs from your home. Although purchasing a steam cleaner is usually expensive, you may be able to rent one in your area. You can also consider talking with your friends or family about jointly purchasing and sharing one.
Steam cleaners raise the heat to intolerable temperatures so that bed bugs and their eggs cannot survive. (Keep in mind carpet cleaners are not effective because their temperatures do not reach high enough.)
Here are some tips for using a steam cleaner to get rid of bed bugs:
- Connect a nozzle to the steam apparatus (do not use the pin-point nozzle)
- Ensure the temperature is between 160 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit
- Use an infrared thermometer to assess the temperature
- Steam clean in the areas where you found bed bugs and their eggs
- Turn on a fan afterward to speed up the drying process
- Continue steam cleaning as needed.
Apply Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is effective against bed bugs because its tiny, sharp edges cut into their exoskeleton, causing them to dry out. You add the dust to wall cracks, baseboards, outlet edges, and other areas where bed bugs are hiding and laying their eggs.
This treatment option takes at least two weeks to eliminate the bed bugs and their eggs. Harris Diatomaceous Earth comes in a 4-pound bag and includes a powder dust applicator to make things easy.
Check out our list of the best diatomaceous earth for bed bugs for our favorite recommendations.
What Should I Do If I’m Still Finding Bed Bug Eggs?
If you end up trying several DIY treatments to remove bed bug eggs and are still finding them around your home, then it’s time to speak to a professional. There are typically two professional treatment options for you to consider: insecticide treatment and heat treatment.
This treatment option involves a professional inspecting your home and spraying insecticides in the areas of infestation.
A professional can use three different insecticides for your home: one is an insecticide used in areas you regularly come into contact with (like furniture); another is used in cracks and underneath surfaces you regularly come into contact with, and the other is used in baseboards and outlets.
This is a lengthy process that requires more than one treatment. However, it is proven effective for completely removing bed bugs and their eggs from your home.
This treatment option involves a professional bringing special equipment into your home to raise the temperature significantly for up to eight hours. The temperature will reach between 135 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit. The professional puts thermometers in your home to ensure it reaches the correct temperatures.
Similar to insecticide treatment, heat treatment is an effective option for removing bed bugs and their eggs from your home. Although it is more expensive than insecticide and DIY treatments, this option usually requires only one treatment to get rid of bed bugs and their eggs completely.
If you’d like to head down this road, our nationwide pest control finder can help. It will get you connected with a professional in your local area.
That’s a Wrap!
Although bed bugs are not life-threatening, the tiny insects and their eggs can quickly spread throughout your home and become very difficult to remove. Early detection is critical in preventing or curbing a possible infestation. You can detect bed bug eggs by putting this knowledge into action:
- Know what bed bug eggs look like
- Know how often bed bugs lay eggs
- Know where bed bugs lay eggs.
There are many DIY treatments and two professional treatments for eliminating bed bugs and their eggs from your home. Ideally, you’ll want to use more than one treatment at a time to target every life cycle stage.
If you stay vigilant, you and your home can remain free from these pesky bed bugs and their eggs for good.
González-Morales, M. A., Terán, M., & Romero, A. (2021). Behavioral responses of the common bed bug to essential oil constituents. Insects, 12(2), 184.
Miller, D. M., Polanco, A. M., & Rogers, J. (2019). Bed bug biology and behavior.
Romero, A., Potter, M. F., & Haynes, K. F. (2009). Behavioral responses of the bed bug to insecticide residues. Journal of medical entomology, 46(1), 51-57.
Suchy, J. T., & Lewis, V. R. (2011). Host-seeking behavior in the bed bug, Cimex lectularius. Insects, 2(1), 22-35.
Download My Free E-Book!
Take a look at my guide on Pest Proofing Your Home In Under a Day! I get into the nitty-gritty on the most common types of pests you’ll see on your property including BOTH insects and wildlife, along with the specific signs to look for regarding any pest you have questions about.