Baby bed bugs can be as disturbing as the adult ones, not quite like human babies, (oh thank god). Even worse, they are not as easily detectable as their adult versions.
I have been working on pests for quite some time and I can tell you this: where there’s one, there may be many others. So what does it mean when you see baby bed bugs? It means you have an infestation.
In this article, you will learn more about the bed bug life cycle, how to identify bed bug eggs, how to detect baby bed bugs (also known as nymphs), and finally how to remove them.
Let’s set the stage first: bed bugs are small, flat, brownish-red insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. They have eight legs, two pairs of antennae (one pair longer than the other), a body about 1/16th inch.
They have 5 stages in their life cycle, from egg to adult. And we can categorize the nymphs in all those 5 stages as baby bed bugs since they are not yet, well, adults. Check the picture below to see bed bugs’ life cycle.
Did you know that bed bugs also have gender; male and female (who would guess), and they are different in how they look?
Image Credit: Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech
What is the difference between baby bed bugs and adult bed bugs?
Do baby bed bugs look different compared to the adult ones, the short answer is yes.
Can you see baby bed bugs? When baby bed bugs are born, their size is almost white, and they are 0.06 inch/1.5 mm in size, so that’s why they are very difficult to spot. Nymphs also bite and when they do, they suck the blood and their color becomes more red or brownish.
What Do Baby Bed Bugs Look Like
The first step in identifying and controlling bed bugs is knowing what they look like. There are plenty of lookalikes that mislead bug identification, so it’s vital to know how to distinguish them from bed bugs.
The types of bugs that mimic bed bugs can be different depending on where you are in the country, but here are some photos of common look-alikes. So let me help you identify those little guys.
Photo Credit: University of Minnesota
What Color Are Baby Bed Bugs?
Nymphs or immature baby bed bugs are almost transparent when unfed. They have light red / brown color after feeding. Baby bed bugs, at later stages of their life cycle, can look like adult ones.
How Big Are Baby Bed Bugs?
As mentioned before there are 5 stages before eggs become adults, you can find below baby bed bugs’ actual sizes at different stages (approximately) so that you can identify at which stage the infestation is looking at how big they are.
Just born baby bed bugs can be quite difficult to spot as they are very small and almost translucent when they are unfed.
- Eggs size (0.04 inch / 1mm)
- 1st stage nymph bed bugs size (0.06 inch / 1.5 mm)
- 2nd stage nymph bed bugs size (0.08 inch / 2 mm)
- 3rd stage nymph bed bugs size (0.1 inch / 2.5 mm)
- 4th stage nymph bed bugs size (0.12 inch / 3 mm)
- 5th stage nymph bed bugs size (0.2 inch / 4.5 mm, about the size of an apple seed)
- Unfed adult female
- Unfed adult male
Image Credit: US Environmental Protection Agency
Pictures of Baby Bed Bugs
There is not much difference between how nymph or adult bed bug bites. The pictures below may help you identify them. I should want you at this point that the egg form of those bugs is very difficult to detect with the naked eye due to their very small size and whitish color.
Where Do Baby Bed Bugs Hide?
Bed bugs are inactive when they are not feeding. They will hide in any dark, enclosed space when it is time to feed again. This includes inside the piping or seams on mattresses and box springs, behind furniture, in cracks on the bed frame and headboard.
Sometimes when you have a severe infestation, you can find bed bugs in :
- Hidden in the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, through curtains
- Inside electrical receptacles and appliances
- At the point where the wall meets the ceiling
- In drawer joints
- Upholstered furtiture joints
- Under loose wallpapers and similar
- Bed bugs often can be also found in close proximity to food sources such as clothing items, boxes, and shoes, hiding in places like baseboards, in cracks, crevices, and even between mattresses, under furniture, or box springs
Baby Bed Bug Bites
Both adult and baby bed bugs bite using their two straw-like antennae. When they bite, they inject saliva which contains an anesthetic that numbs the pain, so you don’t notice the bite.
They suck your blood (when I say this way, I felt like writing a horror movie script): for immature ones, the process usually only lasts about 5-10 minutes, but for adults, it can take upwards of 10 minutes.
You can see below real-life baby bed bugs bite pictures.
As soon as the skin detects an unfamiliar substance, it swells and becomes red due to more blood coming in contact with it. And the body’s histamine response causes the skin to become itchy. Bed bugs don’t carry any diseases, so their bites can’t cause serious health problems.
However you might have an allergic reaction and need medical help, If you don’t need medical assistance, bite marks should disappear within 2 weeks for most people. Keep in mind, if you don’t immediately start eliminating the bugs (nymph or adult), they’ll keep biting you.
Bed Bug Bites on Baby
Sometimes babies can be too vulnerable to bed bugs because babies move less when they sleep and they have less hair on their skin which prevents bed bugs to move on the human body.
If you think your child has bed bug bites, you must seek treatment. You can apply the following measures as a first response.
- Applying antiseptic creams to the area restores its first layer of defense against bacterial infection
- If the bitten area is not washed with soap and water, tenderness, redness, heat, and swelling may occur
- If the bites look like they’re infected, apply an icepack
When should you see a doctor?
Scratching bedbug bites could lead to liquid-filled scars that will need medical attention. So it’s important to consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. Consult a doctor in the following conditions:
- The size of the bites increases
- If the baby develops a high fever
- If the baby is struggling to breathe
- Or in case of any other symptoms, you observe
How To Get Rid Of Baby Bed Bugs
How to Eliminate Baby Bed Bugs?
If you find bed bugs at any stage of their lifecycle in your home, you should take one of the following measures:
- You can use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter as it has been certified to kill bugs such as bedbugs which you can see on the floor and on furniture
- Dry them at the highest temperature after washing your clothes
- Diatomaceous Earth is a popular bed bug killer and is safe to use in most of your home, but you should be careful not to use it in your bedroom
If the infestation in your house is small and you just have an occurrence of one or two bites, then the above options can be effective. But, if you’re experiencing daily bites, then professional treatments may be necessary.
Professional heat treatment: This can be one of the most effective treatments to get rid of bed bugs. This process includes heating all spaces in your home above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It will kill baby bed bugs and is capable of stopping future infestations.
Conventional treatment: EPA-approved pesticides are on the market that a pest control professional can use to get rid of a bed bug infestation. You may want to seek out professionals with training or experience when it comes time for treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Baby Bed Bugs
How long can baby bed bugs live without feeding?
When bed bugs mature, they shed their old skin. They go through five molts-or “shedding cycles”—until they reach maturity and can reproduce.
For that reason, nymphs must feed more often. Despite their age, newly hatched bed bugs can still survive for at least a few weeks without eating.
What do dead baby bed bugs look like?
Baby bed bugs will usually stay on their backs when they die. Once they die, the bugs will no longer move or try to escape and dry out.
An interesting bug-related fact: live bugs would carry their dead and pile on top of them. So even if this mess looks like a mountain of dead, don’t assume it’s new and that all the bugs are gone.
If they are killed by pesticides, remains may curl up, they will look like dark spots, that are blood traces or their feces.
Does baby powder kill bed bugs?
Baby powder is a common ingredient in bed bug traps. One way it might be helpful is if it helps keep the bed bugs inside instead of allowing them to escape. It’s non-toxic and does not affect the surface of the trap.
Though using bed bug traps may help kill a few bed bugs, this is not a long-lasting, sustainable solution against an infestation.
What are baby red bed bugs?
Unfed baby bed bugs are in white, even almost transparent. And they turn red after they fed themselves with human blood.
Do baby bed bugs bite?
Yes, they do.
Can baby bed bugs lay eggs?
Baby bed bugs are incapable of reproducing because they are not capable of laying eggs. It is only after female bed bugs mature that they can reproduce.
Hopefully, it’s clear what are baby bed bugs, their difference from adults, how do they and their bites look like, and how toı get rid of them.
Now that you have all this information you can spot them and distinguish them from other pests.
Next, you may want to read the following articles to learn more about bed bugs and some actionable, useful information.
Or you can find more detailed, academic-level information on baby bed bugs here.
Thanks for reading.