Bed bugs are ectoparasites, meaning they feed on the blood of a host animal. Unfortunately, these disturbing pests' choice of host is usually a human. In order to produce eggs, the female bed bug must first have a blood meal. After this meal, she is capable of laying large numbers of eggs. With continued access to blood, she can lay more than 100 eggs in her lifetime.
Typically, a female bed bug lays between 1 and 7 eggs per day. She can continue doing this for about 10 days after a blood meal, at which point she'll need to feed again to continue laying eggs. Generally speaking, the more blood meals a female gets, the more eggs she produces.
If you're concerned about bed bugs in your house, there are probably two questions you're asking yourself: “What do bed bug eggs look like?" and “Where are do bed bugs lay eggs found?" Let's examine the answers to each.
Can you see bed bug eggs?
While bed bug eggs are quite tiny – roughly one millimeter long or the size of a pinhead – they can still be seen with the naked eye and without the aid of a microscope.
What may make it easier to see bed bug eggs is that female bed bugs will often lay their eggs in clusters. Grouping these tiny eggs together can make it easier to detect their presence before they hatch – usually within seven to 10 days.
What do bed bug eggs look like?
Bed bug eggs are very small – roughly 1 millimeter long (about the size of a pinhead) and resemble tiny grains of rice. They have a hinged “cap" at one end. Bed bug eggs range in color from a creamy white or pale yellow color. If the eggs are more than five days old, they will have a conspicuous dark mark on them that resembles an eye.
Their size and color means they can easily be camouflaged in some of the insects' favorite hiding spaces, including mattresses, especially against light-colored fabrics.
When a female lays eggs, they are covered with a sticky substance that helps adhere them to almost any surface she places them on.
Bed bug eggs can be found in single eggs or a group of eggs, and nearly all of them will hatch successfully within 10 days. The time to hatch can depend on temperature. The cooler the temperature, the more time it might take to hatch.
There are usually around the same number of male and female eggs. And because females can produce a large number of eggs, a bed bug population can double every 16 days under optimum conditions.
Where are bed bug eggs found?
Once inside a structure, bed bugs do not travel far to feed or lay their eggs. Most eggs are laid in protected sites as close to a food source as possible. These pests can fit into a crack no thicker than a business card and still be able to lay eggs, which means they can lay them almost anywhere.
Because bed bugs usually feed on humans, the most common place to find their eggs is on or near the bed. They are usually laid on mattress seams and joints, but it's also common to find them on the box spring and behind the headboard, if it butts up to or is attached to the wall.
You may also see red or black specks near these sites. These markings are bed bug feces, which are made up of partially digested blood. Large concentrations of bed bugs may produce a pungent, sweetish or musty odor caused by pheromone secretions from their scent glands, which indicates an infestation is present.
How to find bed bug eggs
Because eggs are white and so small, they're particularly difficult to find. In fact, finding bed bug eggs often requires professional assistance. If you think these unwelcome pests have found their way into your home, don't let the problem get out of control. Learn more about how to find and identify bed bugs or schedule your free bed bug inspection with Terminix® today and let the professionals kick these bugs to the curb.