What Do Bed Bug Eggs Look Like?

by | Mar 7, 2024

Waking up to find yourself covered in bed bug bites is an experience nobody wants. It’s even more worrying to think that there might be bed bug eggs hidden in your mattress or somewhere around your home. Bed bugs can sneak into the most unexpected places and lay their eggs anywhere that is secluded and safe from disturbance. They can be found in the seams of your mattress, inside box springs, in the carpets and upholstered surfaces of furniture, and even behind picture frames. The thought of these tiny blood sucking pests multiplying around where you sleep can easily turn into a nightmare, especially when their activity leads to a full-blown infestation that’s tough to get rid of.

Getting familiar with what bed bug eggs look like is a crucial step in stopping an infestation. If you know where to look and what to look for, you might be able to catch the problem early and save yourself a lot of hassle and potentially money. This guide covers the details about bed bug eggs from their appearance, where they’re likely to be found, to effective strategies for getting rid of them.

Table of Contents

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Can You See Bed Bug Eggs?

While it may seem difficult to spot bed bug eggs because of their size, it is possible to see them with the naked eye. However, they are only one millimeter in length [1], which is about the size of a pinhead. Even though they are visible without the need for specialized equipment like a microscope, having a magnifying glass during an inspection can help identify bed bug eggs. The task of spotting these eggs is made somewhat easier because female bed bugs tend to lay their eggs in clusters. These clusters of eggs make their appearance stand out and easier to spot.

The visibility of bed bug eggs does not guarantee easy detection in every scenario. Bed bugs exhibit a preference for concealing their eggs by strategically placing them in secluded spots that might escape a casual glance. Common hiding places include beneath bed frames, inside the joints of box springs, and behind headboards. This means that while you can see bed bug eggs, finding them requires a thorough and deliberate search of these out-of-the-way areas within your home. Awareness of these habits is crucial for anyone hoping to catch an infestation in its early stages.

How to Identify Bed Bug Eggs

Identifying bed bug eggs is a crucial step in tackling bed bug infestations. These eggs are tiny and look like grains of salt. Their color ranges from white to pearl-white and they possess a distinctive barrel-like shape. Their color and size give the eggs the ability to blend into lighter-colored fabrics which make them especially tricky to detect on surfaces like mattresses where bed bugs often hide. They are also covered in a sticky coating that helps the eggs adhere firmly to virtually any surface [2]. This increases the likelihood of the eggs remaining hidden within your home until they are ready to hatch. Bed bug eggs that are older than five days may show a dark mark which typically indicates that the egg is ready to hatch or has already hatched.

adult bed bugs with bed bug eggs and nymphs in the seams of a mattress

Bed bugs are parasites that are known for their nocturnal feeding habits. What is not typically known is that female bed bugs need to feed on a blood meal to produce her next batch of eggs [3]. After feeding on a host’s blood, female bed bugs gain the nutrients they need to lay an impressive number of eggs. Throughout their lifespan the number of eggs laid can exceed a hundred if the female maintains access to regular blood meals.

It’s common to find bed bug eggs on mattresses and around sleeping areas like in box springs, bed frames, and wooden furniture surrounding the bed area. The strategic placement of eggs by female bed bugs is a testament to their survival strategy. Eggs are laid in clusters in protected sites that are as close as possible to potential hosts which allows for a short journey from hatching to feeding. Bed bugs can exploit cracks that are no thicker than a business card to deposit their eggs. This egg placement makes bed bug management challenging and typically necessitates thorough inspections and treatments of common and uncommon egg-laying sites to effectively control an infestation.

How to Check for Bed Bug Eggs in Your Home

Knowing how and where to check for bed bug eggs in your home is a crucial step in identifying and managing a bed bug infestation. Given their tiny size and the bed bugs’ preference for hidden locations, this can be a challenging task. Here are some strategies to help you in your search:

  • Inspect travel items: The best way to prevent eggs is to prevent bed bugs altogether. Since luggage and suitcases are common vehicles for bed bugs to enter your home, always check these items carefully for adult bed bugs after traveling.
  • Examine your mattress closely: Once bed bugs have infiltrated a home, they will start feeding to multiply. Once reproductive females feed, they will deposit their eggs on or near their host’s beds. Strip your bed and inspect all seams, joints, and crevices of your mattress.
  • Look behind and around the bed: Pay special attention to the box spring, headboard, bed frame, and nearby furniture. Bed bugs can hide in the smallest of spaces, including screw holes and between pieces of wood.
  • Check upholstered furnishings and linens: This includes sofas, chairs, curtains, and carpets. Focus on seams, folds, and hidden areas.
  • Utilize tools: A flashlight and a magnifying glass can aid in spotting the translucent and tiny eggs.
  • Consider professional help: Detecting bed bug eggs often requires expertise. A professional pest control service or a certified bed bug sniffing dog can provide a thorough inspection and accurately identify both eggs and live bugs.

Can Bed Bug Eggs Spread?

While bed bug eggs themselves are designed to stay put due to a sticky substance that secures them to surfaces, they can inadvertently be spread from one location to another through human activity. This stickiness means they don’t naturally detach and migrate on their own but if an adult female bed bug is accidentally transported via clothing or other personal items, she may lay eggs in new locations which can lead to an unintended spread of an infestation. For instance, an encounter with a bed bug in a public space like a theater could result in an adult female bed bug hitching a ride on your clothes, only to later deposit eggs in your home once you’ve unknowingly brought her inside. Similarly, acquiring second-hand furniture that holds bed bug eggs can also introduce bed bug eggs to your living space.

How Many Eggs Does a Bed Bug Lay?

The reproductive capacity of a single bed bug is concerning, particularly when considering the potential for a full blown bed bug infestation. The number of eggs a bed bug lays throughout her lifetime is closely tied to her access to regular blood meals. A female bed bug can typically lay between 5 and 20 eggs following each feeding session [4]. After laying 1 to 7 eggs daily for several days, the bed bug pauses to seek another blood meal before she can resume her reproductive duties. This cycle of feeding and laying eggs continues throughout the bed bug’s life and allows her to produce hundreds of eggs during her lifetime.

This rapid reproductive rate can lead to extensive infestations if not detected and managed early. The knowledge of how many eggs a bed bug can lay highlights the importance of thorough inspections and immediate intervention upon the first sign of bed bugs to prevent an overwhelming infestation.

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How Long Does It Take for Bed Bug Eggs to Hatch?

The hatching time of bed bug eggs is remarkably quick, especially under the right conditions. Typically, a bed bug egg is capable of hatching within just 6 to 17 days after being laid [5] depending on the conditions it is laid in. The rapid hatching process contributes to the next generation of bed bugs that can reach sexual maturity after 5 to 7 weeks. This means that in ideal conditions, bed bug populations can double every 13 days [6].

Will Bed Bugs Eggs in My Mattress Hatch?

live bed bugs and their eggs and nymphs

Bed bug eggs nestled within the seams and crevices of your mattress will indeed hatch which leads to a new generation of bed bugs that will seek out blood meals and continue the cycle of infestation. These newly hatched bed bugs, known as nymphs, undergo a process of gradual metamorphosis through five distinct stages before reaching maturity. Bed bug nymphs are miniature versions of adult bed bugs but are lighter in color and smaller in size. As they progress through each growth stage, they shed their exoskeletons to accommodate their increasing size. These discarded exoskeleton husks are found in the vicinity of where the bed bugs live and breed. They are another clear indicator of an active bed bug presence. Spotting these molted skins in your bedroom is a sign that bed bug eggs have hatched and that there is an ongoing infestation that requires prompt attention to prevent the further spread of an active bed bug population.

How Common Are Bed Bug Eggs in Clothing?

The possibility of finding bed bug eggs in clothing is more common than one might expect. While bed bugs prefer to lay their eggs in protected areas close to a sleeping host like in the seams of mattresses and cracks of bed frames, their ability to deposit eggs on various surfaces includes clothing. This scenario becomes more likely in environments where clothes are left in close proximity to infested areas. A good example of this would be a pile of dirty laundry on or near a bed that bed bugs can take shelter in. An adult female bed bug navigating through these clothes may lay eggs and attach them to the fabric with a sticky substance that makes them less likely to be dislodged during movement.

This stickiness of bed bug eggs means they can be transported from one location to another on clothing without easily falling off which increases the risk of spreading the infestation. The risk extends beyond merely transporting these eggs because if an egg were to hatch while the host is wearing the article of clothing, the emerging nymph could feed immediately and seek out hiding places within a new setting.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bug Eggs

Effectively eradicating bed bug eggs is a crucial step in fully eliminating a bed bug infestation from your home or apartment. Several methods can be employed to tackle this problem, each with its own level of effectiveness:

  • Vacuuming: While not foolproof, vacuuming can remove bed bugs and their eggs from some surfaces and carpets. For best results, use the vacuum without an attachment to ensure that the rotating bristles dislodge any bed bug eggs that may be attached to the surface being cleaned. Be sure to dispose of the vacuum contents securely outside your home.
  • Heat Treatment: Exposing infested items to high temperatures is one of the most effective ways to kill bed bugs and their eggs. Home dryers set to high heat can treat clothing, bed linens, and small items that can be laundered. This ensures that all parts of the items reach at least 120°F. For larger items like mattresses and box springs, steam cleaning can blast surfaces with temperatures that exceed a bed bug egg’s thermal threshold. For all other items, professional heat treatment may be necessary.
  • Chemical Pesticides: While certain pesticides do kill bed bug eggs, chemical options are not generally the best option to exterminate bed bug eggs because they need to be applied directly to the egg to be effective. Care must be taken with pesticides due to potential harm they can have if someone is exposed to unsafe amounts of certain chemical treatments. It’s recommended to consult professionals who can apply the treatments in an effective and safe manner.
  • Professional Pest Control Services: Seeking professional help, especially for severe infestations can be the best route of action. Professionals use methods like thermal treatment to reach the thermal death point of bed bugs and their eggs. DIY attempts may inadvertently allow or help a bed bug infestation to spread.

It’s important to consider that the success of these treatments can vary based on the extent of the infestation and the specific conditions of your home. Combining multiple methods can increase the chances of completely eradicating bed bugs and their eggs. Always follow safety guidelines and consider professional advice when dealing with pesticides or specialized equipment.

Why is Heat Treatment So Effective Against Bed Bug Eggs?

Heat treatment stands out as one of the most effective strategies against bed bug eggs due to its ability to penetrate and eliminate these pests at all stages of their life cycle including their eggs. The critical factor in the success of heat treatment lies in its ability to elevate the temperature to a point where bed bug eggs cannot survive. Exposing bed bug eggs to a temperature of 54.8°C (130.64°F) [7] can result in instant termination. However, it’s important to ensure that this temperature level is reached quickly and maintained uniformly throughout the treatment area to be effective. If the temperature rises slowly, maintaining a consistent heat of at least 48°C (118.5°F) for more than 90 [8] minutes is necessary to ensure the eradication of bed bug eggs.

The resilience of bed bug eggs to heat is slightly higher than that of live bed bugs which highlights the importance of using specialized equipment capable of achieving and monitoring these precise temperature conditions. Improperly executed heat treatments can fail to penetrate into the cracks and crevices where bed bugs and their eggs hide which can result in bed bug populations rebounding. However, heat treatments offer a thorough and chemical-free solution to bed bug infestations when implemented properly and left long enough to allow optimal temperatures to permeate infested objects. This method’s effectiveness hinges on the precise application of heat which makes it essential to use equipment with accurate temperature sensors to ensure that no eggs survive the treatment.

Can You Kill Bed Bugs Eggs in a Dryer?

person using a dryer to kill bed bugs that are infesting bedding

Another way to leverage heat to effectively kill bed bug eggs is using a dryer for bedding and linens that may hold bed bug eggs. Most dryers reach a sufficiently high temperature level when turned to the highest temperature setting. To ensure the complete eradication of bed bug eggs, the interior temperature of the dryer needs to reach at least 118.5°F (48°C), and the infested items must be kept inside for a duration exceeding 90 minutes. This extended exposure is necessary to compensate for any potential temperature fluctuations and to guarantee that the heat permeates the clothing thoroughly to reach all the eggs.

For more immediate results, setting the dryer to reach temperatures of around 130.64°F (54.8°C) will get rid of bed bugs and their eggs instantly which will minimize the need for prolonged exposure. Given the resilience of bed bug eggs to moderate temperatures, erring on the side of caution by extending drying times is advisable.

Contact Absolute Pest Management if You Are Dealing with Bed Bugs.

If you’re dealing with bed bugs and their eggs in your home, remember that you don’t have to tackle this problem alone. Absolute Pest Management is here to provide you with professional, efficient, and effective solutions tailored to eliminate bed bugs at every stage of their life cycle. Our team of bed bug exterminators uses the latest techniques and technologies to ensure your living spaces become bed bug-free. Whether it’s leveraging heat treatment methods or employing other proven strategies, we are committed to restoring your peace of mind. We are located out of Austin and Buda, Texas and provide bed bug control services to all our surrounding communities. Don’t let bed bugs disrupt your life any longer. Contact Absolute Pest Management today and let us help you reclaim your home from these unwelcome guests.

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Bed Bug Eggs FAQs

  • Can you see bed bug eggs?
    • You can see bed bug eggs with the naked eye, but they are tiny. Eggs are about 1 millimeter long which is roughly the size of a grain of salt. They are typically white or pearl-white in color, which can make them more challenging to spot against light-colored backgrounds.
  • Do bed bugs lay eggs on sheets?
    • Bed bugs prefer to lay their eggs in protected, hidden spots close to where humans sleep like in mattress seams, bed frames, and furniture crevices. While it’s less common for bed bugs to lay eggs directly on sheets due to their preference for more concealed locations, it is still possible, especially if the infestation is severe and hiding spots are limited.
  • How can I find bed bug eggs?
    • To find bed bug eggs, closely inspect the seams, crevices, and folds of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and nearby furniture using a flashlight and magnifying glass. Bed bug eggs are tiny, white, and oval-shaped and are often found in clusters in hidden areas close to where humans sleep. Regularly checking these common hiding spots increases the chance of early detection.
  • What temperature kills bed bugs instantly?
    • Bed bugs can be killed instantly at extremely high temperatures that exceed 130°F. This falls within the range of typical heat treatments which raise the temperature between 120°F to 140°F for a sustained period. If this temperature is maintained for an appropriate time, this range will kill bed bugs at all life stages, including their eggs.
  • Can you get rid of bed bug eggs?
    • You can get rid of bed bug eggs through methods such as heat treatment, which involves exposing infested items to temperatures above 118°F for over 90 minutes. This can be achieved using a dryer set to high heat or a steam cleaner. Professional pest control services also offer effective solutions for eliminating bed bug eggs, employing various strategies tailored to the specific infestation.


[1] https://agsci.colostate.edu/agbio/ipm-pests/44655-2/

[2] https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/bedbugs-biology-and-control

[3] https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/content/uploads/sites/119/2018/02/Bed-Bug-Biology.pdf

[4] https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/bedbugs/pdf/bb-millerbasics.pdf

[5] https://www.ndsu.edu/agriculture/extension/publications/taking-bite-out-bed-bugs

[6] https://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/pub/pnw-757-integrated-pest-management-bed-bugs-schools

[7] [8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4553552/

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