Bed bugs lay their eggs in places that are dark, safe, but close enough to their human host for feeding after the eggs hatch. These places are the mattress and box spring, as well as the furniture that are within six feet of your bed.
Bed bugs do not lay their eggs on the body of their human hosts because we move around too much and are not safe places to keep their eggs.
How many eggs does a bed bug lay?
A female bed bug lays somewhere between one to five eggs every day. The number of eggs and viability of each egg depends on the recency of the bed bug’s last blood meal. The female will mate with a well-fed male and conserve his sperm. She will feed and use the nutrients from that blood meal to lay viable eggs every day for a month. As long as a female has a human host supplying blood regularly, she will continue laying eggs. One female can produce up to 500 eggs in their lifetime.
How often will a bed bug lay eggs?
Female bed bugs lay eggs every day as long as they have access to food and are away from any type of danger.
The limits for a bed bug’s egg-laying abilities are whether the female has regular access to food, whether the female bed bug is able to find a new harborage, and whether she has been recently mated by a male bed bug. A female is able to lay eggs, after mating once, for several months.
If these criteria are met, a female can lay continuously for two months and will not need to mate again for two months.
Bed bugs mate through a process called traumatic insemination, wherein the male will puncture the female’s body with his sexual organ to inject his sperm. The female’s body can only take so much damage that over time, she will be too impaired to mate, then she will eventually die. This is also why female bed bugs search for new harborages when the males in her nest want to mate with her too often. She is looking out for herself as well as for her eggs.
How do I spot bed bug eggs?
Bed bug eggs are trickier to spot than bed bugs themselves, but if you have seen multiple bed bugs in your home, it is safe to assume that there are eggs hidden all over.
Signs to look for in an infestation are adult bed bugs and baby bed bugs, or nymphs. Dead bed bugs and the old shells that nymphs molt are also a dead giveaway. Blood stains and bed bug fecal matter stains are also telling of an infestation.
Bed bug eggs are about 1mm long. They are tiny but can be visible to those with sharp eyes. Bed bugs lay them in hard-to-spot locations so they can be safe and thus have better chances at surviving to hatch.
Use a flashlight and a magnifying glass and search your mattress first. Search the seams and edges of the mattress. If you are able to flip it, inspect the bottom as well, as this is their favorite hiding spot. Bed bug eggs are usually in clusters. They are white or off-white in color. They stick to the material because they are laid with a glue-like substance that hardens to keep it in place. Next, check the box spring and the bed frame. Lastly, move to the furniture that are within six feet of your bed. Also check the walls for cracks and peeling wallpaper where bed bugs might have squeezed through to lay their eggs. Inspect your carpet near the bed too.
What do bed bug eggs feel like to the touch?
Bed bug eggs are not squishy, in fact, they are solid and firm to the touch. You cannot squash them with your fingers, but you can probably crush them with your fingernails.
It is difficult to pick a single bed bug egg up. As mentioned above, the eggs are secured in place with a glue-like substance so they do not roll away.
Where do bed bugs lay eggs?
Mattress and box springs
Your bed is one of the bed bug’s favorite places to hide and lay its eggs. This is because it is where their main source of food sleeps and where they are able to feed peacefully. The proximity is what attracts bed bugs to the area as well as the dark and safe underside of the mattress and box spring. The heat of the human body as well as the carbon dioxide we exhale are the beacons that bed bugs watch out for when searching out hosts.
Because bed bugs are so small, they can hide in the seams and edges of mattresses, as well as the joints and cracks of the bed frame and headboard. Wherever a female bed bug can squeeze through to hide, she can lay eggs in.
The larger the bed bug population, the wider the spread of the infestation. So, from the bed, they will ease into your pillows, carpets, and electrical outlets.
Living room and dining room furniture
Bed bugs have an affinity for fabric and upholstered furniture. Especially ones that people take naps or lounge on. Bed bugs are very perceptive about what areas of the house have the most people in their most vulnerable positions they can take advantage of to feed.
These furniture also have a lot of joints, gaps, nooks, and crannies that are good hiding places for bed bugs to hide in.
Walls and outlets
In a severe bed bug infestation, they can spread from the bed onto your walls. They hide in the cracks and behind peeling wallpaper. They can hide in your floorboards and carpet. They can even squeeze into electrical outlets. And anywhere bed bugs can squeeze into, they can lay their eggs in.
One of the most telling signs of a viable bed bug infestation is the presence of bed bug eggs, because it means that they have been in your home long enough to reproduce. Bed bugs lay their eggs in dark, secure, hard to reach places. These include your mattress, box spring, bed frame, and headboard. They can also lay their eggs in your living room furniture, especially if they are covered in fabric or upholstered. Another place they like to lay eggs in are electrical outlets, as well as wall cracks, and in between floorboards.
Image: istockphoto.com / Matteo Lanciano