Killing Bed Bug Eggs and Larvae Is Just as Important as Killing Adult Bed Bugs

Edited by
Inga Cryton
Reading Time: 32 minutes.
Updated: .

If you were dealing with just one bed bug, your battle would be easy and short-lived. Unless, of course, that bed bug were the size of your cat, or even of a tarantula.

But the real horror of bed bugs is that an infestation means you are fighting an entire, constantly reproducing, population.

You must learn how to kill bed bug eggs, or else, even when every unhatched bed bug has been eradicated, your efforts will be in vain. And if even a single impregnated female bed bug escapes, the infestation continues.

Read on to learn to identify bed bug eggs, bed bug larvae, and likely bed bug egg “hatch houses.” Find out how to kill the eggs before they hatch and become a mob of bloodthirsty little nymphs crawling atop your mattress at night.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bug Eggs and Larvae

Bed bug larvae will often be killed by the same insecticides or bed bug home remedies that kill adult bedbugs. However, the eggs will typically survive and will need treatment with a separate chemical or the same chemical, but about two weeks later when you can be sure all the eggs have hatched.

A one-two punch, two weeks apart, can eradicate bed bugs.

Thus, you really need to read all bug bomb or spray chemical claims very closely. Each chemical or natural insecticide is different, some killing off eggs and some not.

But, in reality, even though there are some anti bed bug treatments that kill some eggs, there really is no sure-fire chemical you can just buy and use to kill 100% of bed bug eggs for sure.

Thus, you have to use heat or apply anti bed bug measures two (or more times) at proper intervals. There really is no other way. That could mean calling in a professional exterminator, but not necessarily.

What Do Eggs Look Like?

Perhaps, you may be thinking, “How can I fight bed bug eggs? I wouldn’t know a bed bug egg from a grain of rice.” Well, in fact, they look very much like rice, only smaller.

Here are some features of bedbug eggs to help you identify them:

  • Grain-like shape.
  • Milky-white coloration.
  • About one millimeter long.
  • You’ll find one or a small cluster at a time.

Bed Bug Eggs and 1st Instar Nymph

Bed Bug Eggs and 1st Instar Nymph

But where will you find the eggs? Typically, there are hidden away (smart bugs) in inaccessible cracks and crevices. But, you may find some on your clothes, on pillows, on bed sheets, or on your mattress or box spring. It just varies.

How Long Does It Take for the Eggs to Hatch?

It normally takes less than two weeks for newly laid bed bug eggs to hatch. Six to 10 days is a good estimate, but it can vary based on temperature and other conditions in the environment (and “environment” here means “your bedroom!)

Females will lay only between 1 and 5 eggs at a time, but they can lay up to five hundred eggs in a lifetime and lay them nearly every day!

The Lifecycle of the Common Bed Bug

The Lifecycle of the Common Bed Bug
How Long Do Bed Bugs Live?
They usually live 4 to 6 months, but under favorable conditions, they can live up to a year. And they can sometimes go up to a year without eating too, which doesn’t quite mean that they can live their whole lives without a meal (and you know they don’t if you’re reading this article!)

Bed Bug Life Cycle
4 Weeks – 5 Months Depending on Conditions

Bed Bug Life Cycle

Upon hatching, bed bug “nymphs, ” as they’re called, immediately head out looking for blood. Nymphs then molt and go through several stages, leaving casing behind on your mattress or in your carpeting (besides fecal stains, which is digested blood poop. Yuck.)

No stage in the bedbug life cycle has wings, and you are always dealing with flat-bodied insects. The young ones are more transparent, except after a blood meal. The older ones actually change body shape, becoming long instead of circular, after the gorge themselves on blood.

Bed bugs start 1.5 mm long but get up to 9 millimeters at full bed bug maturity. But they always remain immature “mentally” and keep on biting you and drinking your blood, from the moment they hatch to the bitter end.

Can I See the Eggs?

Bedbug eggs are hard to find and hard to see, but they are not impossible to see nor even microscopic.

Bed bug eggs are tiny but very distinctive in appearance.

If you look very closely and carefully on your mattress, clothing, pillow, or any infested area, you may well spot some eggs. But you need not see the eggs to know they must be there and to take drastic action to destroy them. After all, wherever there are bed bugs, bed bug eggs are not far off.

What Kills

Again, there are many things that will kill some bed bug eggs, but nothing known to man will kill all of them. And you couldn’t be sure the treatment would even touch them all (hidden in crevices as they are) even if you could know it would kill every egg it touched.

That said, here are two ways, besides pesticides that list egg-death as one of their virtues, that you can kill a “whole lot of eggs:” diatomaceous earth (DE) and rubbing alcohol. Read more about these remedies just below.


Yes, if you douse bed bug eggs with DE (diatomaceous earth), they will die and not hatch, at least most of the time. And DE will kill off larvae, nymphs, juveniles, and adult bedbugs too, even if not always immediately.

Diatomaceous EarthHere are some of the virtues of DE in your fight against bed bugs and their grainy eggs:

  • DE in a line creates a barrier that bed bugs will tend to avoid crossing, keeping them from laying eggs on the other side.
  • DE is non-toxic and all-natural. It is the discarded shells of tiny sea creatures called diatoms (think the white cliffs of Dover here) and is not earth at all.
  • DE will cut into delicate bedbug shells and either kill them right away or gradually dehydrate them over a period of up to one or two weeks at most. It will kill the eggs too.
  • No bed bug or egg can develop a resistance to DE. It always works.

But don’t get pool-grade DE or DE mixed in with pesticides. Read the “ingredients.” It should say you are just buying plain old diatomaceous earth and that it is meant for use on pests. And wear a mask when applying DE to avoid breathing it in.

Rubbing Alcohol

Yes, rubbing alcohol will kill at least most of your bed bug eggs, if it can contact them.

  1. Rub it on your legs and arms and the back of your neck before you sleep to deter bugs.
  2. Spray it on your mattress and box spring.
  3. Spray it under your bed on the carpet and along the baseboard of your bedroom.
Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs?
Rubbing alcohol and a simple spray bottle will kill bed bugs if it hits them direct, and it can kill some eggs. It also helps soother your itchy bites, deter (not 100% stop, but “deter”) bedbugs from biting you or from laying eggs where you sprayed rubbing alcohol.
70% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol

This is a cheap, common product, and it can be a key player in your attempt to kill bed bug eggs and eradicate the population. But don’t use it alone. Make it a part of a bigger, broader bed bug action plan.

What Should I Do With Eggs on Clothing?

There may be bedbug eggs on your clothes. It’s possible, especially if you leave them lying on the carpet all day. But even in the laundry bin, they’re not immune.

Bed bug eggs can be killed by washing then drying your clothes. The dryer is what really gets them more than the washer, but who dries clothes without first washing them? You will need medium-high or more as the temperature setting to kill the eggs (at 118ºF), but that depends on your dryer.

Thermal Remediation

What temperature can kill the eggs? Bedbugs die in heat. Eggs, nymphs, adults, all stages die, every last one of them. That’s why professionals with expensive high-powered equipment rely heavily on heat treatment to cure bed bug infestations.

Heat your home’s interior or a particular room to 118ºF for about 70 minutes, and all the bed bugs, both hatched and unhatched, will be destroyed.

That doesn’t mean they can’t come back, though, if your pet is bringing them in. So eliminate the source before doing a heat treatment.

Steam Treatment

Steam, if hot enough, can also kill bedbugs. Steam treatment can be used on mattress seams or anywhere bed bugs may be hiding. It can kill off their eggs as well.

Bed bugs steamingYou would need special equipment to kill bed bug eggs by steam-power, however, so this would likely be a job for professionals. But you can find out the best steam cleaner for bed bugs in this article.

In sum, note that what kills bedbugs generally also kills their eggs. DE and rubbing alcohol are two good tools, but insecticides or heat treatment can also be effective.

It’s not absolutely necessary to call in a pro to kill off bed bug eggs, but if you are going to do it by heat or steam treatment, that’s likely where you’re going with it.

Remember that killing bedbugs is only a temporary fix. Killing them and their eggs win the war permanently, barring a new “invasion.”

You can find further details of Bed Bugs Control here.

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  1. I caught my infestation very early on. I only saw 4 “ Adult“ bugs but the tiny drops of dried blood on my sheets gave them away. I had exterminators in the next day and never saw a adult bedbug again however I build 4 DIY traps and caught and killed 64 newborns over the next 4 weeks. Don’t know how many I would have if I had not killed these baby’s. Be careful with exterminators, they are more interested in controlling the infestation then eliminating the infestation so they can come back multiple times with a new monetary charge each time they visit. If you use a pest control MAKE SURE THEY COME BACK every 2 weeks BEFORE you sign any contract with them. Mine told me they would be back every 6 Months(totally worthless)After there first treatment. If I hadn’t build my own traps and killed the 64 baby’s. I believe my Infestation would be much worse right now If I hadn’t trap the newborns before they had a chance for a blood meal on me. Just go to you-tube and search DIY CO2 traps for bed bugs.(The poor mans advocate) I spent under $20.00 total to build and Replenish my sugar, yeast and 100° water solution every week for four weeks. Don’t put 100% Trust in your pest control company, you also need to take preventative action on your own unless you want to spend thousands of dollars on a company more interest in control then Elimination. I just made new solution two days ago and checked my traps this morning to find two more baby bed bug so I’m not completely out of the woods yet but I have not been bitten in over two weeks. When bed bugs half the first shot on their tiny brain as to find a white male which the CO2 traps will trick them into thinking there’s a blood meal where the CO2 is being emitted. I will keep the traps going until I go the whole week without any baby’s killed. Not time to Relax yet. GOOD LUCK TO ANYONE WHO READS THIS AND GIVES IT A TRY. I just couldn’t sit by and do nothing, I don’t have that ability or patience to sit around and not try something.

    • I’m interested in knowing more about your traps

  2. Sorry I should have Proof read before sending

  3. Not sure what I have if its bed buys are fleas .noticed like pieces of rice at the edges of my carpets.
    At night and day I feel like something is bitting me ,my cats at times are scratching notice in one of my ling hair cats that he was bitten by what I do not know .
    But I can feel something bitting and crawling on me at night .
    I started treating my house with advantage spray for furniture and carpert so far it’s been 4 cans .
    Plus have used the Demotion food powder which you need to use a mask for and spread it into my carpets.
    Used a treatment on my cats also which was advantage which is 3 treatment but they are still scratching and I am still feeling like something is crawling and bitting me .
    Please help I did find something that was white it looked like it was just born it had a head and little legs .
    When I broke it with my finger nail it broke easy in half .
    Please help me to know what this is fleas are bed bugs .

    • Bedbugs are usually not interested in pets because the fur makes it impossible to walk around on them and find a capillary to feed from. Think about trying to walk through a thicket in the forest, it’s much easier to walk through an open field. It’s likely to be fleas or some other pest, you would need to capture the pest and show them to someone qualified to identify the pest.

  4. I have washed and dried the clothes on high heat for an hour, and the eggs still will not die. Some things have been done about 6 times, and they are still there. Should I do it over and over? What am I doing wrong?

    • How are they still alive? Are they moving or hatching?

  5. DE does not deter – it shreds
    Bugs can live over a year on 1 feeding
    They lay 1 egg per day not 5 / 500 in 365 days
    A treatment that kill adults is different from what kills eggs and nymphs
    Consider them invisible
    Find the Harborage
    When the bites stop its not over for 1-4 months treat your space as still effected.
    Then you win.
    Keep treating every 2 weeks for 4 months then monthly for a year
    An investment but worth it

  6. If any of you are interested in the only 100% sure way of getting rid of bed bugs. Research the heat method. It’s the only way to get rid of bed bugs 100%. It is dangerous if you don’t know what your doing. It involves propane heaters.

  7. Bedbugs have primarily set-up camp in my recliner, and the material is recycled leather with lots of crevices, nooks, and crannies. It’s an expensive electric recliner which I’m still paying for, so if there’s a way to save it, I’d appreciate suggestions. I’ll be using an exterminator to perform a heat treatment, but am unsure if that will kill any bugs/eggs wedged in the chair. Please HELP!

  8. I have the same problem
    I was told sabatious earth
    Can get it at any hardware store
    I am going to get some
    Everyone is saying it works I hope so
    My husband sleeps in this chair and he has pancreatic cancer with very little time
    He will not stay off that chair
    I’ve been up all night keeping them bugs off him

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