Baby bed bug Overview
A bed bug infestation is troublesome and unsettling. The sight of even a single bed bug can leave you wondering how many more are lurking in the shadows waiting to suck your blood when you are out cold.
But what’s even more unsettling is finding baby bed bugs? Why? Well, because their presence means that there is a mum and a dad busy reproducing and growing the colony in your home. Picture this; a female bed bug lays between 1 and 5 eggs every day. In its lifetime, it can lay a maximum of 250 eggs. So seeing a one-bed bug means that a couple hundred more baby bed bugs are waiting to pounce.
First, calm yourself down enough to read through this guide. Remember, information is power. To defeat an enemy (in this case, baby bed bugs), you need to have a firm understanding of its weaknesses and use it to your strengths. We shall take you through how to identify a bed bug, their life cycle, how, and what they feed on, and everything in between to help you handle the situation like a pro.
Let’s get started
Baby bed bug size
Baby bed bugs are small but become more visible as they feed and grow into adult bed bugs. By now, you know an adult bed bug is brown and has a red hue after feeding. An adult bed bug measures about 4.5mm and is therefore fairly easy to spot in comparison to baby bed bugs. Moreover, adult bed bugs have an unpleasant musty smell that is impossible to miss.
If you find a bed bug in your home (one that you are not struggling to see), it only means it is an adult bed bug.
Baby bed bugs have a more transparent color and are tiny and thus harder to see. Actually, it’s easier to see signs of baby bed bugs than seeing the actual nymphs. Some of these marks include molting and fecal matter.
When a baby bed bug hatches, they are called nymphs. And despite their small size, they have six legs, three body parts, and a pair of antennae (they are true insects). They have a flat oval body, and when they feed, the body balloons and fills with blood. In this stage, baby bed bugs are pale yellow or transparent. Therefore, the blood in their system is visible, making them look like they are red. However, as they digest the blood, the red color darkens and slowly fades away.
The actual length of baby bed bugs depends on the stage of their life cycle that they are in (more on this later on). But generally, they measure from 1mm to 4.5mm (adult bed bugs). And because of their small size, they play hide and seek better than adult bed bugs.
Baby bed bug life cycle
A baby bed bug goes through several stages in its life. Like most insects, they start as eggs. According to entomologists, the eggs measure about 1mm in length. This is the size of a mustard seed. If the conditions are right (meaning they get to feed frequently and the temperature is perfect), the baby bed bug can go through the stages in about 37 days.
When it gets warmer, bed bugs reproduce and develop faster. There are five baby bed bug development stages. Each time a bed bug moves to the next stage, it sheds its skin (molting). Below is a quick breakdown of the baby bed bug sizes while in different stages of the life cycle:
- Egg – 1mm
- 1st instar – 1.5 mm
- 2nd instar – 2 mm
- 3rd instar – 2.5 mm
- 4th instar – 3 mm
- 5th instar – 4.5 mm
- Unfed male
- Unfed female
Bed bug eggs are milky white and are laid in clusters or singly. You can find them in crevices and cracks. They usually hatch within 14 days and then go through the five nymph stages before they are adults.
As they go through the nymph stages, they change in color and size. To move from one nymph stage to the next, the baby bed bug needs to feed heavily.
According to entomologists, most bed bug bites are from baby bed bugs and not adults. Also, baby bed bugs are sexually immature. Once they transition into adulthood, they fed weekly or fewer times.
With such spaced out feedings, do they have long lifespans? In comparison to the lifespan of other insects, they live too long. For instance, a housefly lives an average of 28 days while a bed bug lives for an average of 10 months. In the right conditions, bed bugs can live for more than a year. Their long life span is what makes them difficult to kill. You need to have a formidable plan to rid your home of these pesky little blood suckers.
Baby bed bug eggs
Once bed bug eggs are laid, they last between six and ten days. And when they hatch, the nymphs are bloodthirsty. Eggs are laid where the bed bugs hide, including bedside tables, loose paneling or wallpaper, headboards, furniture or crevices in the walls. They are pearly white and one of the easiest stages to kill them in.
If you do nothing to bed bug eggs, you’ll soon have an infestation in your home. And just in case you saw the eggs and didn’t recognize them, they are white and 1mm long. They resemble rice grains, only that they are sticky.
Baby bed bug bites
We’ve already ascertained that baby bed bugs are bloodthirsty. They need blood meals to survive and develop into an adult. With this fact, we can conclude that they do bite – a lot more than the adult bed bugs.
But in all fairness, there are many insects that ‘seek refuge’ in homes. How do you know they aren’t responsible for your bite? Fleas and mosquitoes have similar bites. But there are differences in the bites that can point you in the right direction.
First, baby bed bugs can bite anywhere on the skin, unlike fleas and mosquitoes. Mosquitoes have flight, but are fragile. As such, they only bite body parts that are exposed when you are asleep. Also, when you toss and turn, they fly off to another part. On the other hand, fleas are grounded even though they are tiny hulks in that they can jump very high when you consider their body size. A flea can jump up to 18 cm. Because of this, their bites are often on the legs.
In the case of bed bugs, they bite the face, neck, hands, shoulders, arms, and legs. Another unique feature of these bites is that they are either linear or clustered. When baby bed bugs bite, they inject saliva containing an anesthetic and an anti-clotting agent. The anti-clotting agent prevents the blood from clotting and allows free blood flow.
The bite marks manifest after a while and appear as small inflammations with annoying irritations. These bites are usually not serious, but if you are careless with them, they can get infected and spiral out of control. But under normal conditions, the bites disappear after a week.
If you have a severe allergic reaction, you can also develop serious symptoms that require immediate medical attention. These symptoms may include;
- Swollen tongue
- Irregular heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
How do you handle a baby bed bug bite?
There are several options you can explore with serious baby bed bug bites. At the top of the list includes cleaning the wound with water and soap. For the itchy bites, you can do the following to relieve the symptoms:
- Apply anti-itch cream
- Take antihistamine
- Take over-the-counter hydrocortisone
With these options, the bite symptoms should clear soon. However, if they persist, you should seek medical attention.
A drastic immune response to a baby bed bug bite is a clear sign of a serious allergic reaction. In this case, you should take;
- Epinephrine medication
- Inject corticosteroid
If there is an infection, antibiotics will do the trick. Alternatively, if you are a firm believer in homemade treatments, below is an array of options that will relieve symptoms and help you save money in the process:
Ice is usually used to numb nerve endings. You can use this property to your advantage and numb the itchiness of a baby bed bug bite and reduce inflammation. If you don’t have an ice pack, you can make one by placing a couple of ice cubes in a towel and wrapping them.
Place the ice pack on the itchy spot for about 15 minutes and then remove it. You can repeat this process for every bite throughout the day for constant relief.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is often used as an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, antifungal, and antibacterial product. It helps to soothe the skin courtesy of acetic acid and relieves burning and itching on the skin. The perfect apple cider vinegar is raw or the kind that has sediment settled at the bottom of its bottle. The sediment is an indication that ‘mother’ is present. Mother, in this case, refers to the raw enzymes and good bacteria in the vinegar, which helps to accelerate the healing process.
To use apple cider vinegar, take a cotton ball, and soak up the fluid. Then dab the vinegar directly onto the bites. When the vinegar dries, use cool water to rinse it off and then reapply the apple cider vinegar. If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, white vinegar will work as well.
This is a common ingredient in most kitchens. It’s also common in science labs where it is used to neutralize some acids. Because of this, neutralizing property baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is ideal for neutralizing the acid injected by the baby bed bug and which causes itchiness. Moreover, baking soda has anti-inflammatory properties which help to reduce swelling and redness.
To use baking soda on your bites, you should turn it into a paste. The process is simple.
Pour the baking soda into a bowl and add some water until you have a thick, smooth paste. If you are a sucker for measurements, mix baking soda and water in the ratio 1:3.
When the paste is ready, apply it on the bite and let it sit for around ten minutes before you rinse it off with cool water. If the bites are still itchy, repeat the process after 45 minutes.
If the bite causes a rash, the best homemade solution is lemon juice. Lemon juice has anti-inflammatory antibacterial and astringent properties. This means that it will dry the rash, reduce redness and swelling, and prevent infection.
How do you use a lemon? Simple, slice it and rub the juice onto the bites. Alternatively, if you don’t want the juice sacs left on your skin, squeeze the fresh lemon juice into a bowl and use a cotton ball to apply the juice to the bites.
When the juice dries up, rinse it with cool water and repeat the process until the rash disappears. Don’t use the juice more than four times a day. Also, when the lemon juice is on your skin, avoid direct sunlight as it can cause sunburns.
Oatmeal has skin-soothing properties. It is popularly used to relieve symptoms of skin conditions like psoriasis, ivy, poison oak rashes, and eczema. Moreover, oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties courtesy of the avenanthramides it contains.
These are several ways you can use oatmeal for your bed bug bites. The first option is making a paste from ground oats and applying it to the bites – leave the paste on the skin for 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can draw a bath, add the oatmeal into the warm bath, and then soak yourself for 30 minutes. Oatmeal is gentle and you can draw the relaxing bath as many times as you please.
Tea Bags are known to contain tannins, which give them astringent properties. They also contain Polyphenols, which contain anti-inflammatory properties. Because of these, they are ideal for relieving swelling and itchiness caused by baby bed bug bites.
Even though different types of tea bags work great, chamomile is the most popular. Its ability to treat rashes and skin irritations is uncanny. How do you use a tea bag to calm bed bug bite irritations? Simple. Place a moist tea bag in a fridge for 30 minutes. Place the cool tea bag on your bites for 15 minutes throughout the day. When the tea bag gets warm, place it in a bag in the fridge to cool again and repeat the process.
And while we are still on tea, you should know that drinking herbal tea can help in reducing inflammation in the body and help in healing baby bed bug bites from the inside out. Try and have two or three cups of herbal tea daily for several days for great results. And just like the tea bags, chamomile tea is perfect for healing.
Honey and cinnamon
These two are great individually, but are even more potent when used together. They help in reducing redness, pain, and inflammation. You can easily create a thick paste for application.
The first step of creating this healing paste is to combine honey and cinnamon in the ratio 1:1. Next, wash the baby bed bug bite with some antibacterial soap and then pat your skin dry. Rubbing the skin dry will cause micro-tears, which leave the skin even more vulnerable to infections.
Apply the paste generously on the skin and massage it until the skin dries. Leave the dry moisture on the ski for five minutes and then wash it off. In case you don’t have honey, you can make the paste with water.
This is yet another common ingredient in most kitchens in the US. Mint leaves are packed with menthol, which helps to reduce inflammation and itchiness caused by baby bed bug bites. Moreover, it has antibacterial properties that aid in protecting the bites from infections.
To use the mint leaves to your advantage, brew a cup of mint tea as you would. But instead of drinking the tea, apply the liquid on your bites with a cotton ball. Alternatively, you can make a paste with mint leaves by blending or crushing them. Apply the paste directly onto the bites, allow them to dry, and then rinse them off.
If you don’t have mint tea or fresh mint, you can use peppermint essential oil. However, you should be careful to dilute it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the mixture until the itching is relieved.
When you eat a banana, you throw them out as trash. But now, the trash can save the day. Banana peels have a reputation for cooling and soothing the skin. This makes them perfect for use against baby bed bug bites.
Rub the inside of the banana peel on your bites and allow the thin layer left behind to sit for about 20 minutes. Rinse off the bed bug bite with a hand sanitizer or water.
If you don’t like bananas or don’t have them at the moment, you can use a watermelon rind – it has the same effect.
Garlic has loads of health benefits for your insides and skin as well. Because of the antibacterial and antifungal properties, you can use them to reduce the chances of infection. Here is a simple guide on how to use garlic to protect yourself from infections.
Crush the garlic onto the bites directly and let it sit for about 10 minutes before washing it off. Since garlic tends to burn the skin when left on it for too long or too often, you should not repeat the procedure many times. A few times should be enough protection.
Also, when you consume garlic, it will help to heal the baby bed bug bites from the inside. You can have the garlic raw or cooked.
Sugar is the main ingredient for cakes and shockingly, beauty treatments. But you can also use it to relieve the itchiness of your bed bug bites.
Take a clean and damp cloth and add a tablespoon of sugar. Wrap the cloth around the sugar nicely so that it doesn’t spill and rest the damp cloth on the bed bug bites. Repeat this process as many times to reduce redness and relieve itchiness.
Fried and mashed potatoes are sumptuous. Your mouth is probably watering at the thought of the delicious recipes. But aside from being an ingredient of great meals, potatoes can be used to remove pain and itchiness from baby bed bug bites.
You are probably wondering how? They have a soothing and cooling effect on the skin because of the glucose and starch they contain. Potatoes also have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. The simplest way of using a potato to treat a bed bug bite is to get a raw potato, slice it and rub the juice on the bits. If you want (and if it’s possible), you can tie the slice on the bite for a couple of hours for great results.
Alternatively, you can grind the potato and strain the chunks from the juice. Then use a ball of cotton wool to apply the juice to the bites like we have seen with other methods. For the best results, you should reapply the potato juice after the current layer dries.
This is probably the last thing you would want on your skin right? Well, be it as it may, onions are rich in quercetin and sulfur, which help in reducing the amount of pain associated with baby bed bug bites. They also help in removing toxins from the bite. Because of this, onions are a great pain reliever.
As you probably have already guessed, the easiest way of using an onion is by cutting it and rubbing the juice onto the bites. To keep the area moist for long, cover the bites with bandages. This way, the juice has enough time to seep under the skin and work its magic.
Alternatively, you can blend the onion and apply the paste on the bites. And because onions lose their medicinal properties, the longer they are exposed to air, you will need to apply the paste every so often.
Lastly, if it doesn’t gross you out, you can chew crunchy onions and have them work their magic from the inside. Shallots are the best types of onions for this.
Baby bed bug images
The images below show how tiny baby bed bugs are and how they compare to adult bed bugs
A baby bed bug after a blood meal
How baby bed bugs compare with adult bed bugs
Transparent baby bed bugs
1. Do baby bed bugs grow when it is cold?
Baby bed bugs are surprisingly great survivors. Yes, it is true that they need blood meals to survive and grow to adults. However, they can go without blood meals for prolonged periods, especially if the temperatures are low at about 550F. Adult bed bugs can last for about a year without food at these temperatures.
But does this mean that cold is their friend? Not quite. Baby bed bugs will die if you expose them to temperatures below 00F for prolonged periods. If you have the room temperatures to about 1130F, the baby bed bugs will die in 90 minutes. However, if you reduce the temperatures to 1180F, they will die in just 20 minutes. But for bed bug eggs, you will have to leave them exposed to 1180F for 90 minutes for them to achieve 100% mortality.
2. What is the difference between a baby cockroach and baby bed bugs?
There is no mistaking an adult cockroach with any other insect. They are large and easy to spot. However, like bed bugs, they are quite resilient. And depending on the species, they can live for months or years.
Entomologists argue that they can survive for a month without food, and a week without water. The fact that they can survive on food scraps in your home makes them harder to kill.
With that said, most people tend to confuse baby cockroaches with adult and baby bed bugs. And understandably so because these are quite similar depending on the species you are dealing with. However, if you are keen enough, you’ll notice the difference in their color and shape.
A baby cockroach is grayish or white. And for most species, it is larger than an adult bed bug. On the other hand, bed bugs are reddish-brown and have a flatter and oval shape.
Bed bugs have eyes sticking out of their head, and shorter antennae. You can use these two features to differentiate between the two.
3. Will baby powder kill bed bugs?
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of baby powder? It can be a baby or the unique scents the powders have. But among the numerous thoughts that you might have, bed bugs are the last thing you might think of. However, in the recent past, there have been some claims that baby powder can be used to kill bed bugs. With bed bug resilience, is this fact true? Will sprinkling baby powder on your mattress, flooring and furniture work? And will the baby powder cause the bed bugs to dry out?
Here is a quick overview of what you should expect when working with baby powder against bed bugs.
First, most people think baby powder works like the renowned diatomaceous earth. But there is no evidence to support these claims. Baby powder is made for babies and as such, doesn’t contain any harmful products. You see, kids are fragile and you require a product that is on the opposite side of the harmful spectrum to work against bed bugs effectively.
In terms of drying out the exoskeleton, Diatomaceous earth works wonders, but with baby powder, bed bugs simply walk around the powder sprinkled on the carpet or mattress. But baby powder is not completely useless. Some have found it useful in trapping bed bugs, irritating them and covering up the musty smell they are associated with.
Using baby powder as the ultimate weapon against baby powder will disappoint you and make the situation even worse with time.
4. Can bed bug bites make babies sick?
Bed bug bites are painless, but the symptoms manifest as red and itchy bumps. Though these may clear in a couple of days, and they are usually harmless, the itchiness may cause a baby to scratch, resulting in secondary infections.
When you notice some clustered or linear bites on your children, ensure that their nails are short and take immediate action to relieve the itchiness. You can use any of the above homemade treatments to reduce inflammation and itchiness.
5. Why are baby bed bugs difficult to kill?
The number one reason for this is that baby bed bugs are elusive. These tiny creatures can fit in small spaces and crevices in a home. And even worse, they spread and multiply very fast.
The other reason why they are difficult to get rid of is that they can survive for many months without eating and can withstand relatively high and low temperatures. And even when you hit the sweet spot for these temperatures, you need to maintain them for a number of minutes for the bed bugs to die.
And last but not least is that they reproduce easily. The male stabs the female bed bug with its version of a penis and impregnates her. The female then wanders off to a secluded space (usually to avoid being stabbed to death) to lay her eggs. A female bed bug lays many eggs and the baby bed bugs take about 37 days to become adults and start reproducing. This means that you start with one male and female bed bug, in 90 days, you will have thousands of bed bugs.
6. How do you know you have baby bed bugs in your home?
The most accurate way of knowing you have baby bed bugs in your home is to spot one. If you see one baby bed bug, rest assured you have many more in hiding. But what if you haven’t spotted a baby bed bug, but still wake up with bite marks? In this case, you can be on the lookout for the following signs:
- Reddish or rusty stains on the mattresses and bed sheets. These are caused by bed bugs being crushed while you sleep.
- Dark spots on the bed. These are fecal matter. It’s important to note that like rats, bed bugs excrete where they feed.
- Presence of eggshells or eggs. These may be 1mm long and pale yellow. They may be difficult to spot, but when you do, take it as a sign of an infestation.
- Exoskeletons – when you find a bed bug exoskeleton, take it as a sign of a baby bed bug.
You can look for the above signs in these areas;
- Drawer joints
- Electrical appliances
- Under loose wallpaper and wall hangings
- At the junction of the ceiling and the wall
- In the seams of your chair, couches, cushions and curtain folds
7. How do I get rid of baby bed bugs?
Hiring a professional pest control company is your best bet of getting rid of bed bugs. However, the process is costly. Luckily, there are alternative DIY treatments. You can try these as you save up for professional treatment.
Let’s start with treatment preparation
- Wash your bags and beddings and hang them out to dry for 30 minutes.
- Clean and declutter your room. Baby bed bugs love hiding in piles of clothes, so be sure to get rid of these before you start cleaning. You should not leave a haven for your bed bugs to hide in.
- Use a high power vacuum to clean around the bed. Pick up on the eggs and stray bugs. Be sure to use a vacuum that has a filter. This is crucial because you don’t want the bed bugs to escape after trapping them.
- Use a non-toxic bed bug spray on your bed-frame, the headboard, and the surrounding furniture. Before using the product, read the instructions carefully and adhere to them.
- Pull the bed away from the walls and place the bed bug interceptor cup under each bed leg. This will isolate your bed and prevent the bed bugs from spreading.
- Buy a mattress protector and encase the mattress. This will save it if it hasn’t been infested yet. If it has, it will trap the bed bugs in until they starve to death. The mattress protector should be thick and strong.
8. How many baby bed bugs survive after hatching?
According to entomologists, newly hatched bed bugs are fragile. However, they do have hardy genetics working for them. But even then, after hatching, the bed bugs are really small and cannot travel for long distances to find a blood meal. As such, if the female bed bug wandered too far away from the source of food, then most nymphs will die of dehydration before they get their first blood meal.
9. Is blood the only source of food for baby bed bugs?
Blood is the only source of food for bed bugs and not just any blood – human blood. Humans are easier for bed bugs to get to in comparison to birds or pets in the house. A baby bed bug needs to have enough blood to survive, let alone grow into an adult. However, when push comes to shove, a bed bug will feed on your dog or cat.
10. Does alcohol kill baby bed bugs?
Alcohol works when it is applied directly to areas where the bed bugs hide. You see, bed bugs have sensitive skin and a low threshold for poisons and irritants. According to entomologists, baby bed bugs hate alcohol so much that they avoid sucking blood with high alcohol content.
Alcohol affects their body organs and causes organ failure and, ultimately death. It achieves this by affecting the pH balance. Aside from rubbing the alcohol directly on the bed bugs, and their hiding spots, you can use it to kill bed bug eggs and prevent the birth of a new generation that will cause you sleepless nights. Apply alcohol directly in several ways;
Dilute highly concentrated alcohol with water and spray it on affected areas, including dressers, cupboards, skirting, mattresses and headboards, and other places you suspect they might be hiding.
Now that we’ve determined alcohol works, which type is ideal? Isopropyl alcohol is the best alcohol to use against bed bugs. For best results, you should use 91% rubbing alcohol and 70% isopropyl in your hand spray. Using lower concentrations means the solution will be less potent and will take longer to kill bed bugs. In the end, the bed bugs will continue to breed and disturb your peace at night. If you don’t know how to handle high concentrations of alcohol, you should speak to a professional in the industry for some guidance.
When you are done spraying, store the alcohol well. Ingesting the alcohol will result in life-threatening injuries.
Last but not least, how long will the alcohol take to kill the bed bugs? Well, the length of time it takes will depend on three factors; the size of the infestation, the strength of the alcohol solution you use, and other environmental factors. In the first few minutes of spraying the alcohol solution, many bed bugs will be killed on contact. However, it’s naive to think that it will destroy all bed bugs at once. Because of this, you need to apply alcohol constantly for four weeks to completely wipe out the infestation. If you don’t sustain the alcohol treatment, you risk a resurgence.
Professional ways of killing baby bed bugs
When you call a professional, there are several treatment methods they will apply to get rid of the bed bugs. These include;
- Heat treatment – professionals have equipment that can increase the heat in a room to levels that bed bugs can’t withstand. These portable heat chambers are effective and safe. You should not try a bed bug heat treatment alone since you run the risk of setting the house on fire or not dealing with the bed bugs effectively. During heat treatment, you will have to look for another place to stay before the professionals are done with their work.
- Cold treatment – bed bugs are not big fans of extreme temperatures either, but they show great resilience. Though you can use your freezer to cool the room, it will cost you a lot of money in energy bills to get the temperature low enough to kill bed bugs. Professionals have tools that reduce the temperatures instantly and sustain these low temperatures for a while.
- Steam cleaners – they use either wet or dry steam cleaners. These easily penetrate fabrics and cracks and reach into spaces that bed bugs hide and those other treatment methods cannot get to. The steam has to be over 1300F for the treatment to be effective.
11. How do baby bed bugs find me at night?
First, we would like to point out that bed bugs are not nocturnal insects. This myth has been fueled by the fact that they usually bite at night. But the reason they only come out at night is that that’s when you are asleep. If your sleeping pattern has you blacked out on the sofa in the middle of the day and active throughout the night, they will come out to ‘play’ during the day.
With bed bugs, it’s all about when you are available and less mobile. So how do they even know you are around and ready to be fed on?
Well, they sense the carbon dioxide concentrations in a room and also wait until you are least immobile. A bed bug can travel for a long distance to get to you. Therefore, changing rooms will not solve the bed bug problem. It may take a while before they realize you changed your sleeping spots, but they will figure it out and eventually travel to where you are.
Baby bed bugs are simply small-sized adult bed bugs. Every fact that is true for adult bed bugs is true for baby bed bugs too. Well, aside from the fact that baby bed bugs cannot reproduce. If a treatment method works for adult bed bugs, it will work for baby bed bugs as well. The hiding spots are the same, anatomy and behavior.
And though you can employ DIY methods to get rid of them, the treatments are never as effective as professional treatment methods are. Actually, most DIY methods deter bed bugs for a while, but eventually, when they get hungry enough, they overlook the ‘treatments’ like essential oils and get to you.