A female bed bug usually lay between 1 to 7 baby bed bug eggs a day for up to 10 days after just one blood meal. These eggs will hatch in about six to ten days, after which the nymphs or baby bed bugs will set out to find their first meal to help them molt to the next development stage.
If the nymph finds a live host to regularly feed on, then each stage of its lifecycle will last about 7 days. The life span of an adult bed bug normally lasts between 6 to 12 months.
Generally, bed bugs have a pretty simple lifecycle involving going from eggs to nymphs and then adults.
Identifying Baby Bed Bugs
How do you identify baby bed bugs? Adult bed bugs are comparatively easy to identify. But baby bed bugs can be extremely hard to find since they are small and almost translucent in appearance.
Physical characteristics of Baby Bed Bugs
Although they are tiny, baby bed bugs are visible to the naked eye. When the eggs are hatched, the tiny bed bugs are known as nymphs.
Bed bugs have six legs, two antennae, and three body parts. Their shape is a bit flat and oval-shaped when they have not recently fed. When a bed bug or baby bed bug has fed they increase in size and become balloon-like.
Nymphs are usually pale yellow or transparent in color, so you can easily tell when they have eaten. But as the food is digested, their dark red will slowly fade in their body.
Comparison to Adult Bed Bugs
Both baby bed bugs and adult bed bugs have six legs, three body parts, a beak-like structure used for feeding, and a flat, and oval-shaped body.
However, baby bed bugs are usually smaller (simply a smaller version of their adult counterparts). Baby bed bugs grow in size every time they molt, so their size can range from 1.5mm to 4 mm long while adult bed bugs are usually 4.5mm to 7mm long.
Another difference between baby bed bugs and adult bed bugs is that nymphs don’t usually have wing pads. Note that only adult bed bugs lay eggs.
While adult bed bugs are generally reddish-brown in color, nymphs, particularly when unfed, are usually clear/whitish/straw-colored. But the shade may depend on your eyesight as well as other factors, such as the surrounding light.
Note that just the bed bug nymphs are usually super aggressive when it comes to feeding. It is like it is coded into their DNA to feed and therefore it will feed on the first blood it finds.
Common Hiding Spots for Baby Bed Bugs
You will find baby bed bugs where the adult bed bugs like to congregate. Just like adult bed bugs, nymphs also don’t like the light, and therefore it can be hard to find them during the day. If the home is infested, you may discover baby bed bugs hiding in areas such as:
- In mattress seams
- In wooden joints of the bed
- On the headboard
- Inside a box spring
- In the seams of couches, chairs, and even between cushions
- In curtains
- Beneath hardwood floors
- Artwork/pictures on the walls
- Electrical outlets
- Brick walls
- Light fixtures
- Underneath loose wallpaper
Life Cycle of Baby Bugs
Understanding the life cycle of baby bed bugs can help you manage the situation before it escalates and spread throughout the house. If you start seeing the signs of bed bug infestation in your home, you should immediately begin the process of exterminating them.
As part of their development stage, baby bed bugs will shed their outer skeletons, leaving behind signs that they are in your home.
Egg Development and Hatching
Female bed bugs lay around 10 eggs a week. Under normal conditions, bed bug egg mortality is often quite low, with about 97% of bed bugs hatching successfully.
Additionally, at room temperature, about 60% of bed bug eggs will hatch when they are around six days old, while more than 90% will hatch when they are nine days old.
As parasites and hitchhikers, bed bugs have over time evolved to be rapid breeders, which is why they have survived for thousands of years. They also have a very short generation period, thus they need a pretty short time to grow from egg to nymph to adult.
If optimal conditions are met – protection, temperature (70-80°F), and food, bed bug eggs may take just 6 days to hatch. Since it is hard to catch them early, the bed bug population can explode in just a few months.
Within this period, you may have a colony of more than 150 breeding adults, 1500-2000 eggs, and 1000s baby bed bugs.
Nymph Stages and Molting
Once the eggs are hatched, they are now nymphs or baby bed bugs. The nymphs usually pass through up to five molts before hitting adulthood. Baby bed bugs will bite just as their mature counterparts do.
Nymphs require a single blood meal to molt to the next stage, thus becoming bigger with each developmental stage.
Timeframe for Development into Adult Bed Bugs
The full life cycle of a bed bug can take just 5 weeks, although it can take longer when a meal of blood is hard to come by.
Thankfully for you, even under optimal conditions, not all baby bed bugs reach adulthood. They are usually extremely vulnerable during the early stage of their life cycle.
Newly born bed bugs are normally tiny and unable to travel long distances to find a blood meal. So if the eggs are laid too far away from a blood meal, the nymphs may die from dehydration before their first meal.
Prevention and Control of Baby Bed Bugs
The best way to prevent and control baby bed bugs is the same as you would do with adult bed bugs. Regular inspection and monitoring for signs of infestation can help you catch them early so you can start the extermination process.
Keep in mind that there are usually more baby bed bugs than adult bed bugs, so getting rid of nymphs can help slow down the spread.
Use bed bug-proof encasements on mattresses and box springs to prevent the existing bed bugs in your mattress from escaping whilst stopping new ones from entering.
These encasements are normally made with touch cotton with a strong sealing mechanism that forms an impervious barrier.
Calling an exterminator is a great way to get rid of bed bugs permanently. Call quickly to start treatment right away. If you do not have the money, then below are some DIY options that are much cheaper.
You can use pesticides and insecticides specifically labeled for bed bug control to eliminate these young blood-sucking machines.
IGR (Insect growth regulator) is made to limit the reproduction of bed bugs by halting the molting process. We use IGR when our rental property has bed bugs to stop the breeding.
Baby bed bugs can be just as problematic as adult bed bugs, so it’s important to take steps to prevent and control infestations.
Regular inspections, proper use of bed bug-proof encasements and pesticides, and hiring a professional pest control service can help to eliminate and prevent infestations of baby bed bugs.