Dealing with a bed bug infestation is not easy and can be a huge pain. They can reproduce discreetly and in great numbers, only to end up increasing exponentially.
Bed bugs descended from cave-dwelling bugs that fed on the blood of bats. However, when humans started living in caves and moved to agricultural civilizations, the parasitic bugs moved with them.
The bed bugs that originally hailed from Europe were almost eradicated by DDT during the 1950s and largely disappeared in the US in recent decades. However, they returned like a storm during the late 1990s, ever since the insecticide was banned in the US in 1972.
Table of Contents
- How Bed Bugs Reproduce
- How Many Eggs Do They Lay?
- Bed Bug Egg Production
- 1. Where Do Bed Bugs Lay Eggs?
- 2. Primary Bed Bug Harborage
- 3. Secondary and “Other” Bed Bug Harborage
- What Do Bed Bug Eggs Look Like?
- Bed Bugs In Hair
- How to Kill Bed Bug Eggs Instantly?
How Bed Bugs Reproduce
Female bed bugs lay eggs after a blood feeding has taken place. Female bed bugs actually take quite a toll during the mating process, due to the unconventional method of reproduction that bed bugs use.
They mate by “traumatic insemination,” where a male bug pierces into the female’s abdomen and ejaculates into it. Hence, scarring can occur as a result of frequent mating.
This is a likely reason why females that have mated several times over a short period of time will end up laying less eggs than a female who has had time to recuperate. Studies have shown that the healing process is important so that the female can successfully produce more eggs.
In fact, females that only mate once will produce 25% more eggs than the ones that have mated repeatedly. That is why the female bed bug often chooses to travel away to a new location with a guaranteed food source and a lack of mates.
This is so that she can focus on laying many eggs without any interruptions. Furthermore, since female bed bugs can keep sperm for up to 6 weeks, this gives her enough time to travel.
However, the females’ travels are problematic for humans, since it allows her to cause infestations of more than 5,000 bed bugs in new locations within a 6-month period.
How Many Eggs Do They Lay?
After female bed bugs mate, they lay about 1 to 7 eggs per day and will end up laying from about 200 to 250 eggs during her lifetime of up to 1 year. These eggs take approximately 6 to 17 days to hatch into nymphs.
These nymphs emerge translucent and are able to feed on blood as soon as they hatch. However, they are unable to reproduce until they fully mature.
As soon as the nymphs hatch, they search for a blood meal before molting 5 times and gradually turning into a reddish-brown color. These blood meals are also equally important later in life, since the adult bed bugs need it to reproduce.
The maturation of a nymph depends on the temperature. The length of time varies from as quickly as 21 days in warmer temperatures, to more than 4 months in cooler temperatures. A female bed bug may mate with her offspring as long as they have fully matured.
Bed Bug Egg Production
If a female has reliable access to a food source, she will be able to produce more egg batches. A female can produce between 5 to 20 eggs from a single blood meal. Hence, she can make more eggs the more meals she can take.
The female may also lay her eggs singly or in groups. As a result, the female may lay an egg anywhere in a room or area.
1. Where Do Bed Bugs Lay Eggs?
Nearly 70% of any bed bug infestation is linked to the bed and any furniture or items that are close to it. Since bed bug eggs are sticky, they can easily cling onto your mattresses, bed sheets and even curtains.
In addition, since they are small, they are well-hidden in hard-to-reach places such as dark corners and crevices. Since bed bugs commonly nest in clusters, the eggs can be found together with the bed bugs, bed bug shells and the droppings as well.
In general, bed bugs choose to lay their eggs in locations where they will be undisturbed. For example, if you were to generally sleep on one side of the bed and not the other, bed bugs would be more likely to lay eggs under the pillow of the other side that has been left untouched.
2. Primary Bed Bug Harborage
Bed bugs have no inhibitions about laying their eggs close to the host, as long as they know that they would be undisturbed. In fact, these bugs often choose to be closer to the host so that blood feeding is more accessible.
Bed bugs are attracted to carbon dioxide and body heat but can only detect these signs over short distances. In other words, it would be advantageous for the bugs to stay relatively close to the host.
Hence, the primary bed bug harborage cover the main area that bed bugs reside in. It includes the mattress, bed sheets and bed frames.
3. Secondary and “Other” Bed Bug Harborage
When an infestation gets more severe and there are more bugs, overcrowding occurs and some bed bugs choose to seek refuge further away from the host. The secondary bed bug harborage include more areas within 5 feet of the bed.
These could include the neighboring walls, carpet and even drawer joints. In even more severe overcrowding situations, bed bugs may reside outside the 5-feet zone and can be found in drawer joints, electrical receptacles, appliances and many others.
Since bed bugs are only the width of a credit card, they can squeeze into various narrow hiding spots with ease. Conditions-wise, bed bugs can live almost anywhere their host can live in.
A Note About Traveling
It is also important to note that if you have travelled and been to an infested area, such as a hotel room, you could end up bringing home clothes, bedding, luggage, or other personal items that may have come into contact with bed bug eggs.
As a result, you could end up bringing them back home with you.
What Do Bed Bug Eggs Look Like?
Bed bug eggs are approximately 1-millimeter long. They are shiny and can range in shade from transparent to white. Bed bug eggs can be found more often on wood or fabric surfaces than on plastic or metallic ones.
Fresh bed bug eggs are sticky on the outside. This stickiness gives them their shiny appearance and acts similar to glue to adhere them to surfaces. Empty egg shells look like live eggs, but they appear dried out, more flattened and not as shiny.
Though empty eggs can be most easily seen with a magnifying glass, they can also be seen by the naked eye. If you notice empty egg shells in your home, that indicates that the infestation is growing.
Bed Bugs In Hair
Bed bugs can make their homes pretty much anywhere, which means that they can get in your hair as well. However, they are not built to navigate human hair and would rather live in cooler areas around you.
Often, they will live in the cooler cracks and crevices of your bed, couch, or other furniture and will only come out to eat. After that, they go back into hiding when they are full. Because of the way bed bugs’ bodies are built, they cannot maneuver human hair very well.
They are not like lice, whose claw-like limbs help them cling to and navigate hairy situations. For these reasons, they may hide in your hair, but they will most likely not stay there. However, this does not mean that it cannot happen.
Can They Lay Eggs in Your Hair?
These tiny pests are capable of laying eggs in your hair. However, they will most likely not do this because their bodies are not built for living in hair, as previously mentioned.
If you suspect that bed bugs are living in your hair, you may notice a bad odor coming from your hair (if the infestation is large), or blood stains on your pillows and other beddings.
Bites on your scalp may be identified as a small bump or itchy welt and will most likely be in a straight row. On top of that, you might feel some burning when you shampoo in the shower due to the open and healing wounds on your scalp.
Sometimes, you may get the feeling that something is crawling on your scalp. If you think you may have bed bugs living in your hair, begin treating them right away. Check your scalp regularly and comb through your hair and shampoo thoroughly many times over.
It is important to repeat this process multiple times, because as small as bed bug eggs are, there is a high possibility that some may be left behind.
If you feel like the shampoo isn’t doing the job, try some home remedies in conjunction with the shampoo, such as using rubbing alcohol or almond oil with it.
If you are bearded, you should either shave or trim it, or comb through it thoroughly, following the same steps as you would with your hair. Soaking your hair in water as hot as you can handle will help drive the bed bugs away.
Not only that, the heat will likely destroy them as well as their eggs. Without a doubt, removing bed bugs from your hair may be easier because they cannot attach themselves to your hair follicles.
However, if you treat your hair but leave the rest of the infestation untreated, or do not completely wipe out the rest of the infestation, they will keep returning. That is why it is important to take care of the entire bed bug infestation immediately.
How to Kill Bed Bug Eggs Instantly?
Many products on the market aid you in ridding your home of a bed bug infestation. While you can purchase any pest-killer that claims to be effective against bed bugs, you can try some other options as well.
1. Extreme Temperatures
As you may have deduced, heat will kill bed bugs and their eggs. While you are most likely focusing on the live bed bugs, you need to be diligent and thorough about destroying the eggs as well.
One way to get to all the cracks and crevices in your furniture and in your home is to get a dry steamer – a heavy-duty one that can heat up high enough to kill the eggs.
With the hose and attachments of the dry steamer, you will be able to reach into crevices in your furniture, into light fixtures and along walls – areas you can’t simply toss into the washing machine.
Another method of using high temperatures is to wash and dry your clothes and beddings in hot water or on the highest setting.
However, since you won’t be able to wash things like your couch, carpet, or bed in a washing machine, finding a transportable method of heat such as a steamer is an important part of the extermination process.
Using extremely cold water – which means at least below freezing (-32OF) – can also be effective in destroying bed bugs and their eggs. Clothing, beddings and other removable items can be kept in a freezing environment for 30 days.
2. Products Aimed at Killing Bed Bugs
While not manufactured specifically for eradicating a bed bug infestation, diatomaceous earth is an option for after you have handled the biggest part of the problem.
This white powder is more effective than sprays because you can lay it down around and in your home and it will stay there, killing any bed bugs that may walk across it by drying them out.
You can sprinkle the powder in corners, cracks and crevices around your home and the powder will remain there until you clean it up. Sprays might kill on contact and linger in the air or on the surface for a short time.
However, once the spray dissipates in the air, the effects will disappear as well. Diatomaceous earth, on the other hand, lasts much longer and is typically a more inexpensive option.
An added bonus of using diatomaceous earth is that it is not harmful to humans or pets but is harmful to any bugs that come across its path. Undoubtedly, many products are available to destroy bed bugs and their eggs, so you won’t have a hard time looking.
Be sure to check ratings and reviews to find the most effective products. However, also take into consideration whether the product you have chosen is safe to use around pets and/or children.
One chemical you can try that you probably already have on your shelf at home is rubbing alcohol. Keeping a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol around the house can be a simple, effective and safe way to kill bed bugs and make sure an area is clear of eggs and infestation.
3. Egg Removal
Removing bed bug eggs can sometimes be a greater challenge than destroying the live bed bugs. However, killing the eggs is more important because you want to make sure you stop the spread.
Killing the eggs can be trickier because the egg acts as a protective layer. That is why if you are killing the bed bugs with a chemical spray, be sure to find one that specifically states that it is effective against bed bug eggs.
Fortunately, the removal of bed bug eggs can be done similarly to that of the removal of live bed bugs, such as the use of a steamer to apply extreme heat, or the use of freezing temperatures.
You really should consider using a steamer to apply extreme heat, since this device will give you the capability to use attachments to reach all the cracks and crevices in your furniture and around your home.
Freezing temperatures are effective in destroying bed bug eggs. However, you can only freeze objects that can be gathered up and stored in a freezer, so this option is a little less practical.
If you are at your wit’s end and you have the financial ability to do so, calling an exterminator is another option. An exterminator will be able to tackle live bed bugs as well as their eggs, but the cost is typically very high.
Another negative aspect of using an exterminator is that more than one attempt at extermination may be necessary, which equates to paying an exterminator more than once.
If you still choose to hire an exterminator, make sure to read reviews and find the best one you can find in your area. That is because for a job like this, you’re going to want to make sure it’s done right.
If you are currently facing a bed bug infestation, you need to act as quickly as possible. You have to get thoroughly clean out your bed and furniture, or other possible areas. On top of that, you must also remember to exterminate the eggs as well.
As mentioned, bed bugs won’t be able to live comfortably in your hair, so you don’t have to worry about that. However, it is still possible for them to somehow end up there. If you do find that you have bed bugs on your hair, be sure to thoroughly wash and clean your scalp.