Bed bug eggs – What they look like and more

Bed bug eggs range from almost transparent to pearl-whitish in color and an eyespot is seen if the age of the eggs is five days or more.

The female bed bug lays eggs in very sheltered places. Typically, the female lays one to two eggs a day amounting to around 200-500 eggs through her total lifespan.

It takes about a week to hatch a new generation of bed bugs. While growing, each bed bug sheds its skin up to five times and then finally turns into an adult.

The eggs are very small, approximately 1mm long, not more than the size of the head of a pin.

All the phases of bed bug’s life cycle, including egg stage, can be seen with the naked eye. The eggs are extremely resistant and are comparatively more difficult to be killed than the nymph and adult. The eggs can be destroyed only by gas fumigation and heating. Bed bugs take about a month to grow into the adult after hatching. The nymph (eggs hatch into nymph stage) molts their exoskeleton five times before it is converted into an adult.

The eggs are extremely resistant and are comparatively more difficult to be killed than the nymph and adult. The eggs can be destroyed only by gas fumigation and heating. Bed bugs take about a month to grow into the adult after hatching. The nymph (eggs hatch into nymph stage) molts their exoskeleton five times before it is converted into an adult.

The eggs secrete a sticky secretion and hence, are shiny in appearance. This sticky film helps the bed bug to attach to surfaces until it hatches. The shiny appearance fades away and its color becomes clearer after hatching. Once hatched, the egg looks like a small deflated balloon.


How to kill bed bug eggs

The eggs of any parasite are typically extremely resistant and thus very difficult to kill. Not only that, the thick sticky film around these eggs also acts as a protector. The most effective methods to kill bed bugs eggs include; gas fumigation and heating. Many insecticides are available in the market to kill bugs that are effective, but they should be used carefully and ideally applied by a professional exterminator.

These bugs have developed a great resistance against many insecticides. In addition, pesticides often provide more harm than good. You may, for the time being, get rid of the insects but the pesticides can put you in trouble in the longer run. 

Gas Fumigation

Fumigation is believed to be very effective in killing of bed bugs. A sharp and penetrating gas, such as sulfuryl fluoride, is introduced in this method. The eggs of bed bugs get perished in the fumigation process. Although it is, an efficient method to kill bugs but on the other hand, the operation of fumigation is hard to apply. This procedure involves vacating of the house for some days. The house needs to be sealed by covering the house with some tent. It becomes costly and problematic for the family to leave their house and go to some other place. When the building gets sealed, a lethal gas is injected that kills all the eggs and adults.

Besides all the difficulties in executing fumigation, this procedure still is being practiced in many parts of the world as wood termites are also killed by this method. Many companies are there which offer gas fumigation treatment.

Heating

Heating is believed to kill all the stages of bed bugs life cycle including eggs. The bugs can survive without oxygen and food for months but they cannot survive the excessive heat. Heating is one of the paramount methods to kill bed bug eggs. They are unable to escape heating. In infestation, you should apply heating method right away. You do not have to waste your time any further in search of some better method to kill bug eggs because you already have found it.

A professional is required to monitor and make sure that the house is enough hot to kill eggs and for enough time period. He/she will set the things up to make the process safe and fast for you. Heating equipment includes; a hot dryer, a portable heating chamber, or a specialized heating system, used by the pest management firms. Many types of equipment are available depending on different sites from where the eggs are going to be removed.

The most important advantage of this heating method is that heat is non-toxic and poses no dangerous effects as the chemicals pose to the environment and living organisms. The disadvantages of this method include; absence of residual activity i.e., long lasting effect and expenses that are high except for hot dryer method. Still, when the killing of bugs is concerned, heating is considered as one of the efficient tools.

The temperature at which the egg or adult dies is called the ‘thermal death point’. Thermal death point depends on the amount of temperature and the exposure time. If the temperature is higher, lesser will be the exposure time required and vice versa.

For 90 minutes of exposure time, the temperature requirement will be 40 °C to kill the bug’s eggs. For 20 minutes of exposure time, 48 °C temperature will be required. Interestingly, it is best to expose the eggs to 48°C for 90 minutes to ensure 100% mortality. Following are some of the heating techniques with all the pros and cons along with the estimated costs for each technique.

1.    Clothes Dryer Technique

Pesticides can’t be applied to every household item like toys, utensils, or bedding. Hence, a heating method goes someway to overcome this problem. If the clothes dryer is loosely filled and is set on ‘high’, it will take 30 minutes at maximum to kill all the stages of bed bugs life cycle. A professional monitor will easily tell you whether the thermal death point of the bugs is reached.

2.    Portable Heating appliances

The only electric device to kill the bugs available in the market is the portable heating device. It is actually a collapsible bag and holds the supportive rack for placing the infested items. It is 36 inches long, 24 inches high, and 19 inches wide. It is specially designed to kill the bugs and their eggs. Items such as clothing, books, shoes, backpacks, tools, and pillows are placed on the rack. The bag consists of an internal heater and an external heat monitor. It is heated up to 50°C to kill all the eggs.

3.    Steamer

Pest management firms use a specialized steamer with a large head to kill bugs on the furniture and mattresses, behind baseboards and in the areas where the use of pesticides may not be desirable. Steaming is a slow process and takes patience. The professional does it slowly so that the temperature-concentration is managed over the infested surface uniformly. The temperature range should be in between 70 °C to 82 °C. The steamer head should be large enough so it may not blow the bugs and eggs across the house. The price of specialized steamer ranges in between $300-$1200. This method is efficient and quick but the steam alone cannot eradicate the infestation.

4.    Whole Room Super-Heating Systems

The whole room super-heating systems have been developed to kill the bugs along with their eggs recently. The two super-heating systems to kill bugs are, ‘Temp-Air Heat Remediation System’ and ‘Therma-Pure-Heat’. Both systems work on the same principle.

Either propane created heat or electric heater is used to elevate the temperature of inside air up to 57°C in the house. Temperature above than that may damage the equipment. The heat is maintained in the house for a few hours. The temperature in crevices and cracks is monitored distantly from the sensors positioned throughout the house. The heating procedure is persistent for 60 minutes after the thermal death point of the bugs is achieved. It will kill all the bugs together with their eggs.

The benefits of this procedure are that the inhabitants do not have to bag or remove their belongings and most of the infestations are alleviated in one treatment only.  The shortcoming of this heating system is that as the technology is latest so it is not easy to find a company who has acquired this system. Moreover, the procedure is also time taking and hence, expensive.

Heating is the method which alone can kill bed bugs and their eggs efficiently. On the other hand, some older buildings have structure features that can form heat sinks. In this case, it is desirable to complement this heat treatment with conventional pesticide application.


Are bed bug eggs hard?

Yes, the eggs are reasonably hard on account of the sticky whitish material secreted by the female to protect the eggs and to adhere to the substrate effectively. The eggs are more cylindrical than round in structure. It requires some pressure to pull those eggs out of the surface of the substrate.


Killing bed bug eggs

There are many methods to kill bed bug eggs. The most effective of all are the two methods which are gas fumigation and heating. Gas fumigation involves some penetrating gas, for example, sulfuryl fluoride. Many pest management companies offer this service at your place. But this method has some operational difficulties as evacuation and covering of the house are necessary to prevent the ambient environment and living organisms from the unpleasant effects. Besides all the operational hurdles, this method is still in practice around the world.

Another efficient method to kill bed bug eggs is heating. The eggs are highly susceptible to high temperature and cannot survive it. The heating appliances used can include; a portable heating chamber, clothes dryer, or specialized heating systems offered by the pest control companies.

The most important point to take into consideration while applying heating treatment is to know about the ‘thermal death point’ of the bed bug eggs. The thermal death point is the temperature at which the specimen dies. Heating exposure should be 90 minutes at 40 °C to kill bed bug eggs, and 20 minutes at 48 °C. For best results and 100% mortality, the temperature should be 48 °C and the exposure should be 90 minutes.

Does rubbing alcohol kill bed bug eggs?

Rubbing alcohol is either an ethanol or isopropyl alcohol based liquid. It is antiseptic in nature and has a variety of industrial and domestic uses.

It acts as a solvent and dissolves the eggs and cells of insects and hence can kill them. It also performs as drying agent or desiccant and demolishes bed bug eggs by dehydrating them. It has gained popularity as an efficient tactic in fighting against bed bugs. It repels bed bugs and discourages them from laying eggs or crawling on the surfaces to which it is applied.

Use of rubbing alcohol against bed bug eggs does not seem to be that effective as an overall control strategy. In 2013, research was conducted by the university students to see whether this is one of the most efficient methods to kill bed bugs and their eggs. The results revealed that half of the bugs were still surviving, following four days of the rubbing alcohol spray. So, it is found to be one of the less efficient control methods against bed bugs.


About the Author BedBugGuy

I'm a bed bug specialist based in Los Angeles and love writing about Cimex Lecturalius. Whilst a notorious pest they still fascinate me and remain one of the most resilient pest insect species.

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