Bed bug shells, skins, eggs and carcasses
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Bed Bug Shells, Skins and Casings: What You Need To Know

Bed bugs are tiny insects that can cause significant discomfort and distress when they invade our homes. To survive and grow, bed bugs undergo a molting process where they shed their exoskeletons, leaving behind casings or shells. 

These casings can indicate a bed bug infestation, and understanding their appearance and location can help identify the growth stage of the bed bugs. 

This article will provide essential information about dead bed bug shells, skins, and casings, including where to find them, what they look like, and what to do if you identify them. 

Key Pest Points:

•  Bed bugs shed their exoskeletons or skins to grow, leaving behind casings that can indicate a bed bug infestation.

•  The characteristics of bed bug shedding depend on the nymph’s growth stage when it is molted and can vary in size and color.

•  Bed bug casings can be found in various locations where bed bugs hide during the day and are active at night, indicating a bed bug infestation.

What Do Bed Bug Skins Look Like? 

Bed bug shells and casings are the empty exoskeletons left behind by these growing insects. They look like small, thin, translucent, or white shells, similar to an empty eggshell, but much smaller, about 1mm to 5mm long.

They are typically found in areas where bed bugs have been hiding, such as along the seams of mattresses, behind headboards, and in cracks and crevices of furniture.

They can also be found where bed bugs shed skin, such as near their hiding places or on the floor. The shells and casings may also have a slightly curved shape, as they are formed to fit the shape of the bed bug’s body.

Understanding Bed Bug Life Cycle

Understanding the bed bug life cycle can help us identify these pesky creatures’ growth stage. After mating, female bed bugs lay their eggs in tiny crevices, and within 6-10 days, they hatch into nymphs or baby bed bugs. They pass three different stages of growth, which are the following: 

  • Eggs: Bed bug eggs are tiny, about the size of a pinhead, and white. They are often laid in clusters of eggs and can be found in cracks and crevices near the bed bug’s hiding places.
  • Nymphs: Nymphs or baby bed bugs look different from adults and are translucent or pale yellow. They grow larger with each stage and molt their skin as they do so.
  • Adults: Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed and are reddish-brown. They have a flat, oval-shaped body and six legs. Adults can live for up to a year and can survive for long periods without feeding.

Each stage has unique characteristics that can help identify the presence of bed bugs. So, as the nymphs molt their exoskeletons, they leave behind casings that provide clues about the growth stage of the bed bugs. 

many bed bug shells on the floor

Bed Bug Characteristics

Bed bugs are unique insects and require specific conditions to survive. Here are some key characteristics that make bed bugs unique:

  • NocturnalBed bugs are active at night and prefer to feed on human and animal blood while their hosts sleep.
  • Flat, oval-shaped body: Bed bugs have a distinctive flat, oval-shaped body that allows them to hide in tight spaces, such as in mattresses, furniture, and baseboards.
  • Reddish-brown color: Bed bugs are typically reddish-brown, although they can appear lighter or darker depending on when they last fed.
  • Blood feeders: Bed bugs require blood to survive and reproduce. They are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale and the warmth of our bodies.
  • Ability to reproduce quickly: Female bed bugs can lay up to 500 eggs in their lifetime, allowing populations to grow rapidly.
  • Resilient: Bed bugs can survive long periods without feeding and withstand a wide range of temperatures.
  • Difficult to eliminate: Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to stop once they infest a home or other space.

Knowing what to look for and where to find dead bed bug shells, skins, and casings can be a powerful tool for controlling these pests.

Why Do Bed Bugs Shed Their Skin?

Bed bugs shed their skin, or molt, as part of their natural growth process. As bed bugs grow and develop, their exoskeletons become too small and tight, and they must shed their skin to accommodate their larger bodies. Here’s a closer look at the process:

  • Before molting, the bed bug’s exoskeleton separates from its body.
  • The bed bug then wriggles out of its old exoskeleton, leaving behind an empty shell or casing.
  • The newly emerged bed bug is soft and vulnerable and must wait for its exoskeleton to harden and darken.
  • Bed bugs typically molt five times before reaching adulthood, with each stage lasting about a week or longer.

These empty shells and casings can indicate the presence of bed bugs and can help us understand their life cycles.

Bedbugs colony on the mattress cloth macro.

What Should I Do if I Found Bed Bug Casings?

If you have found bed bug casings, address the infestation and prevent it from spreading further. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Inspect the area: Check your bedding, furniture, and other nearby areas for signs of live bed bugs, fecal spots, or bloodstains.
  • Contain the infestation: Isolate infested items by placing them in sealed plastic bags to prevent bed bugs from spreading to other areas of your home.
  • Vacuum: Use a vacuum cleaner to thoroughly clean the area where you found the casings, paying special attention to cracks and crevices where bed bugs may be hiding. After vacuuming, dispose of the vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag outside your home.
  • Launder fabrics: Wash any clothing, bedding, and other fabrics in hot water and dry them on high heat to kill bed bugs and their eggs.
  • Use bed bug treatment products: There are a variety of bed bug treatment products available, such as sprays, powders, and bed bug traps. Follow the instructions carefully and use as directed.
  • Consider professional help: If you’re dealing with a severe infestation or struggling to eliminate bed bugs, contact a pest control company for professional help.

Remember, dealing with a bed bug infestation can be challenging, and getting rid of all the bed bugs and their eggs may take time and persistence. Be patient and thorough in your efforts to eliminate the infestation.

FAQs

Where Do You Find Bed Bug Casings?

Bed bug casings can be found in various locations, including on and around the bed, particularly on the mattress seams and corners, headboard, and box spring. They can also be found in other areas where people sleep or spend time, such as in cracks and crevices in furniture, baseboards, carpet edges, and electrical outlets. 

What Does It Mean If You Find Bed Bug Casings?

Finding bed bug casings or shells usually indicates an infestation of bed bugs. Bed bugs shed their exoskeletons, leaving behind these casings as they grow and develop.

What kills bed bug eggs instantly?

Heat is the most effective way to kill bed bug eggs instantly. Heating items like clothes, furniture, and bedding to a temperature of about 119°F for at least 90 minutes will eliminate any bed bugs or eggs. Additionally, vacuuming can remove visible eggs and adults from carpets and furniture.

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