Bed Bug Shells & Casings: Identification & What To Do Next

Are bed bug shells hard or soft?

This article will discuss the reasons for bed bug shells, identifying them, and other details vital to bed bug control.

Dead Bed Bug Shells: Shedding & Casings On Mattress

Sometimes you see bed bug shells on mattresses. Here is why.

During an infestation, bed bugs leave behind tell-tale signs that can be readily identified by looking closely around affected areas. These shells tend to be most commonly found on mattresses.

So, what do they look like? How can I tell bed bug casings apart from those of other pests?

Also called exoskeletons, these are often found around infested areas and signal the presence and activity of bed bugs.

What Brings about Bed Bug Casings?

Many people may have this question when they find these casings around their mattress or other areas.

Here, the answer is closely tied to the development processes that occur periodically with bed bugs. Molting is a common occurrence with a lot of creatures as they tend to outgrow their exoskeletons.

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Starting from the mating phase, which leads to the female bed bug laying anywhere from 1 to 5 eggs each day, these eggs later hatch into nymphs.

The period it takes for such eggs to hatch is about ten days. As the larva emerges from the egg, it leaves behind its first shell.

The nymph stages are also referred to as the larval stages.

After emerging from the eggs, bed bug larvae go through 5 larval stages before adulthood. Before proceeding or molting to the next larval stage, it must shed its shells because it has outgrown them.

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Now the size of a bed bug shell tells a story. It reveals the stage of the nymph.

To better grasp the concept of bed bugs outgrowing their exoskeletons, we’ll provide a more comprehensive breakdown of each development phase by looking at the life cycle.

What Do Bed Bug Casings Look Like?

Before getting into details about the shell size of bed bugs, it’s necessary to state that the lifecycle takes around 40 days to complete.

However, this is only so when they’re well fed (when there’s a steady blood supply to feed). The lifecycle may last longer than 40 days without a host for feeding.

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As bed bug larvae emerge from the eggs, they measure about 1.5mm long.

A good blood meal is required to develop and molt to the next stage. After outgrowing their shells, these larvae molt into the second stage. Here, they measure about 2mm long.

For better context, this is about the size of a pinhead. With a ready supply of blood meal, larvae molt into the third stage. Here, their size is about 2.5mm long.

With two more steps until adulthood, larvae take a blood meal and shed to the fourth stage, where they measure 3mm long.

They take blood and molt to the final stage of adulthood, where they’re 5.5mm long.

For males, this size remains constant. However, adult female bed bugs can grow more significantly to around 6.5mm long and lay about five eggs daily.

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Based on this reality, you only need to observe the shell sizes left behind to determine what larval stages these bed bugs were in before molting.

Identifying Bed Bug Casings

A lot of times, it’s challenging to differentiate between the casings of other insects and those of bed bugs.

This is especially true when you have little to no idea about what to look for. If you aren’t sure what it is, you’ll do well to look for further signs like live bed bugs or bed bug eggs.

Other supporting symptoms include reddish-brown or rusty spots on bed sheets due to crushed bed bugs and dark spots on bedding or mattress.

Where to Find Bed Bug Shells

Bed bug casings are mostly found around areas these bugs always hide.

In other words, their cases are never far off from where they’re hiding. Typical spots to locate such containers include book bindings, crevices, cracks in wood molding, and under loose wallpapers.

Other hiding areas include wall-ceiling junctions and behind mounted objects. Such objects include outlet covers, pictures, switches, and mirrors.

Bed bug shells can also be found around upholstered items like sofas, chairs, and recliners on furniture, clothes, and stored items below beds.

With Bed Bug Shells Confirmed, What Next?

So far, the focus has been on helping you identify bed bug exoskeletons.

Having identified these, what remains is to put strategies in motion to tackle the problem. Now it’s necessary to understand that bed bug infestations can be difficult to contain.

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That is so because these pests can stay without feeding for extended periods. So, your best way to eliminate them is to call for professional help.

Most home remedy treatments aren’t as effective as claimed. The reasons for that can be several, including improper application.

The longer a bed bug infestation remains unresolved, the worse it’s likely to get.

It’s estimated that a single pregnant female can cause an infestation of over 5,000 bed bugs within six months under favorable conditions.

That is scary because they need your blood to survive.

By acting fast, you limit the chances of the problem worsening. Pest control companies have a wide range of bed bug solutions that help contain the problem in record time. You’ll need to rely on their expertise by calling for professional treatment.

A thorough inspection of your home precedes treatment. Here, technicians look out for common symptoms, including bed bug casings.

They can also determine the extent of an infestation and the most appropriate treatment technique.

If you aren’t sure of the Shells, you See, Call a Professional

Sometimes it is difficult to identify or differentiate bed bug shells from other insects or pests.

Here, you can either look for other supporting symptoms, as discussed earlier, or you may have to call for a professional inspection. This is the most reliable approach.

Bed bug shells are a clear sign of bed bug presence and activity. We’ve discussed the different ways of identifying these exoskeletons and the actions to take when these are confirmed.

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