Bed Bug Eggs 101: 5 Things You Must Know to Kill Bed Bug Eggs

Nobody reads about bed bug eggs for fun. In fact, it’s fair to say that if you’re reading this article, you’re one of the unfortunate folk with a bed bug infestation on your hands.

But the good news is that you’re also one of the clever few who have figured out that in order to successfully get rid of bed bugs, bed bug eggs hold the key.

Although it can sometimes seem otherwise, bed bugs are not creatures from some other horrific dimension.

As gross and downright terrifying as they can sometimes be, bed bugs are animals like any other. They have moms and dads that love them very much – okay, that last part isn’t true.

Bed bug parents don’t care about the kids at all. Their involvement more or less stops the minute they lay the egg that will hatch a junior bed bug.

But it’s inside an egg that a bed bug’s life begins. And if you’re trying to deal with a bed bug infestation, one of the trickiest things to do is to deal with these eggs. And if you don’t, you’re never going to solve the problem.

So let’s take a close look at everything you need to know about bed bug eggs. Most importantly, their unique characteristics you need to know so you can kill them.

And be warned – like most facts about bed bugs, this is going to get kind of gross. Probably best not to read this while you’re eating.

You’ve been duly warned. Let’s get started.

Can you see bed bug eggs?

Bed bugs are small, but they’re not that small. Adult bed bugs are most definitely visible to the naked eye. For that matter, so are the eggs.

However, they are quite small, so if your eyesight isn’t the best, you may struggle to see them without a magnifying glass.

Image via Harry Tonn

Bed bug eggs are around 0.09 inches in size, or 2.5 mm if you’re from a country that hates freedom. They are white and vaguely oval-shaped, looking almost like miniature grains of rice.

Due to their small size and light color, they are easiest to see against a dark background.

Where do bed bugs lay eggs?

Bed bugs don’t build nests in which to lay their eggs. Like careless Easter bunnies, bed bugs will drop eggs in many different places.

However, with that said, bed bugs do have certain preferences. They like their eggs to stay hidden, and they like them to stay where they put them. To this end, a mother bed bug secretes a glue-like substance which she uses to stick the eggs in place.

For this reason, bed bugs prefer to lay their eggs on rough surfaces such as wood and fabric. The corner of the sofa or the seam of a mattress is therefore ideal.

Smooth surfaces such as plastic or metal are less attractive as bed bug nurseries. Sometimes, bed bugs will lay eggs on a metal bed frame where a mattress or boxspring has been resting on the steel. But in general, they will look for fabric or wood instead.

So if you’re looking for bed bug proof furniture for your new pad, opt for plastic and metal – these materials are a lot less likely to harbor a bed bug infestation.

Lastly, here’s a rare bit of good news concerning bed bugs: bed bugs don’t lay eggs on people. Bed bugs don’t want their eggs to be found, and they don’t want them to be moved around before they hatch.

So people and pets would be a terrible place for them to try and lay eggs. At least we’re safe from their eggs.

How long does it take for bed bugs to hatch?

Part of what makes bed bugs so difficult to control is the speed with which they reproduce. These little buggers really grow up too fast. In fact, a bed bug egg can hatch in as little as six days.

The speed with which an egg hatches depends on the temperature, with warmer temperatures leading to quicker development of bed bug embryos. 80°F is the optimal temperature for bed bug development. That’s only a few degrees warmer than the temperature most of us keep our homes at.

In cooler areas, bed bug eggs will develop more slowly, but slowly in this case only means around two and a half weeks. And as soon as the eggs hatch, the young bed bugs, or nymphs, will go looking for a blood meal.

That, unfortunately, means you.

How many eggs can a bed bug lay?

Unlike some other bugs, female bed bugs lay their eggs one at a time. However, once they find a good place to lay eggs, they will often lay multiple eggs in the same area.

Female bed bugs will lay multiple eggs each day, and can lay up to 500 eggs in a lifetime – a lifetime that may only be four months long, depending on how well the lady bed bug takes care of herself.

So if you’re from a big family, you’ll know how a bed bug feels.

How to kill bed bug eggs?

By this point, any reasonable person is asking the million dollar question – how do you kill bed bug eggs?

Well, because bed bugs reproduce so fast, eliminating infestation is exceptionally tricky. In a healthy bed bug colony, there will be many times more eggs than there are adults.

That makes it so that killing bed bug eggs is the most important part in your battle against bed bugs. Because if you can’t find a way to kill bed bug eggs, you’re never going to get rid of the bed bug problem.

Unfortunately, bed bug eggs are tough to kill. There are many brands of pesticide available on the market that will kill adult bed bugs on contact. But very few of them will kill eggs.

To kill a bed bug egg, any pesticide needs to penetrate the shell and reach the embryo inside. While there are a few pesticides on the market that claim to be able to do this, they are rare and generally expensive.

But don’t abandon all hope just yet. Bed bug eggs are tough to kill, but they are not invincible. You just have to know what works and what doesn’t. So if you’re ready for the action part of this article, roll up your sleeves and prepare to kill some bed bug eggs!

What kills bed bug eggs?

Bed bug eggs can be tricky to find and even more difficult to kill. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Here are the best ways to kill bed bug eggs!

Does alcohol kill bed bug eggs?

It seems like such a simple solution but yes, indeed, alcohol does kill bed bug eggs. It’s not any old alcohol, though – put down your wine spritzer – you want to look for the highest percentage of rubbing alcohol you can find.

A spray of 91% isopropyl alcohol, for example, used on bed bug eggs will kill the embryos inside.

Not only will alcohol destroy bed bug eggs but it will also kill any adult bed bugs on contact. However, be aware that alcohol at this concentration is highly flammable.

Knowing that you killed all the bugs in your home won’t be much consolation if you had to burn the place down to do it.

Does heat kill bed bug eggs?

If bed bugs have a weakness, it’s heat. While these bugs like it warm, they can’t take serious heat. How hot is serious heat? 120°F or higher is hot enough to instantly kill not only adult bedbugs but also eggs.

The best way to kill bed bug eggs, it turns out, is to fry them.

When it comes to clothes, blankets, sheets, and pillows, the best way to reach the required temperature is to run them through the dryer. If you have access to a large commercial dryer, even better.

A good tip is to only half fill the dryer to make sure it gets extra hot. Run the dryer for at least an hour to ensure that all the eggs are cooked. Once you’re done, it’s a good idea to seal your newly bed bug free clothes in a plastic bag or tote to make sure that the bugs don’t re-infest them.

Does steam kill bed bug eggs?

Of course, it’s not so simple to throw your mattress into the dryer. A better way to use heat on furniture such as beds, bed frames, sofas, and chairs is to use a steamer.

This isn’t the time to cheap out; we’re not buying sneakers for growing kids here. Low-quality steamers won’t produce the high heat you need to penetrate soft furnishings, and they may also produce more water than you want to deal with.

Buy or rent a high-quality commercial steamer that will generate a dry steam far in excess of the 120°F you need to kill bed bug eggs. This way, the heat will penetrate deep into the fabric or wood and kill eggs that you can’t even see.

steamer for bed bugs

Our recommendation is the McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner. It’s a very affordable option for most households and it heats water to over 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is more than enough to wipe out generations of bed bugs.

As an added bonus, steam is a great way to clean fabrics, so as well as killing bed bug eggs, you’ll be freshening up your living room set.

Heat treatments for bed bug eggs

Steaming is a highly effective way to kill both adult bed bugs and their eggs. The only downside is that it can be quite a lot of work.

The key to getting rid of the bed bug infestation is to track down and kill every single bed bug and egg. Otherwise, the whole cycle will just start again.

But if steaming sounds like too much work for you, you could consider heating your possessions instead. ZappBug makes heat chambers that you can set up in your home and use to heat your furniture to temperatures above the magic number of 120°F.

huge bed bug heater

The chambers come in a variety of sizes, with some of them big enough to hold beds, sofas, and other large furniture. You just load up the chamber, turn on the heater and leave it for a few hours to do its job.

Once the coldest part of the chamber has become hotter than 120°, you can be confident that all bed bugs, including the eggs, have been killed.

Heat chambers are a great weapon to have in the fight against bed bugs. The downside, though, is that they won’t do anything for bugs that could be living outside of your furniture.

For instance, bed bugs often like to hide and lay eggs in the baseboards of your home. A heat chamber won’t reach them there. For that reason, heat chambers are best used as part of a treatment in conjunction with other methods, such as steam or pesticide treatment.

If all of this sounds daunting, you can always contract a pest control professional. They can use giant heaters and fans to heat your entire home above the bed bug killing temperature.

Unfortunately, this treatment can be very expensive. But you know what they say; you can’t get rid of bed bugs without killing a few eggs. Or maybe it’s just me who says that.

Getting rid of bed bugs requires destroying every stage of their lifecycle. But because of their resistance to pesticide and the fact that the bed bugs actively hide them, eggs present a particular challenge to those trying to clear their home of these bloodsuckers.

But don’t worry; you’ve got this. Using the methods above, you’ll be able to scramble those eggs in no time. Just don’t go serving them up for breakfast unless you want your family to leave you. I may or may not be talking from experience there.

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