Bed bug eggs are white, oval shaped and measure around 1 mm because of this they are often described as looking like grains of rice. A fertilized adult female can lay anything between 3 and 4 eggs per day – provided the conditions are favorable i.e. the temperature is right and she has adequate access to food etc. This means that in a normal life span of around 9 months one female can lay up to 500 eggs!
She will usually lay her eggs in places where they are least likely to be found or disturbed. Newly laid bed bug eggs are also coated with a sticky substance which in effect “glues” them to the surface onto which they have been laid preventing them from becoming dislodged. All of this ensures that the eggs are given the best possible chance to hatch and mature into adult bugs and begin the cycle again. Eggs will hatch within about 7 days at regular room temperature.
Where can you find bed bug eggs?
The most likely places you will come across bed bug eggs is in and around cracks and crevices in walls and floors, behind peeling wall coverings, along the bottom edge or behind headboards even in the folds and seams of your mattress.
If you can eliminate bed bug eggs BEFORE the hatch you have a much better chance of getting any infestation under control. However, due to their size these eggs are not particularly easy to see with the human eye – but it is possible. If they have been layed on a light colored surface the task is made even more difficult. Arming yourself with a good flash light and magnifying glass probably gives you the best chance of uncovering bed bug eggs.
How do you kill bed bug eggs?
Well, you could spray them with chemicals however none of these treatments will kill all bed bug eggs. Many products are designed to kill adult or nymph bugs on contact and they cannot penetrate the outer membrane of the eggs successfully. Be aware – one treatment of this kind will NOT get rid of an infestation. You will have to apply chemical treatment at regular intervals over a period of days even weeks.
The good news is that temperatures in excess of 120 oC will kill bed bugs at every stage of development even eggs. With this in mind always make the first step in any treatment of bed bugs to launder and tumble dry all bed linen, clothing etc. Whilst laundering will freshen and clean the items the heat from the tumble dryer will kill bed bugs – eggs and all!
Using heat treatment for furniture etc. can be done in a couple of different ways.
You could hire a professional pest control company who will seal up the affected room in your home and using large heaters will increase the temperature above that which is known to kill bed bugs at all stages of growth for several hours. This method is clean, non toxic and you can leave everything in the room but it is EXPENSIVE.
Alternatively, you could purchase a heat treatment device such as the “box” from PackTite. Simply place items inside and allow the equipment to heat to around 120 oC and over a period of time and it will indeed kill bed bugs, eggs and all!
A cheaper, more time consuming version of killing bed bugs and bed bug eggs with heat is to use steam from a steam cleaner. You will have to ensure that the model you purchase can reach temperatures in excess of 120 oC and which produces “dry” steam to prevent mattresses etc. becoming really wet and perhaps developing problems with mold and mildew.