Baby Bed Bugs: How Big Are They And What Do They Look Like? (With Video + Photos)

What do just born baby bed bugs look like? We will help you learn to ID baby bed bugs through this tutorial. If you are looking for pictures of baby bed bugs, we are here to help!

Bed bugs have a simple lifecycle that involves going from eggs to nymphs to adults. After a bed bug hatches from an egg, it will be a 1st instar nymph. Then it will progress through each nymph stage before becoming an adult.

Here are the stages of bed bugs

Bed Bug Egg ➡️ Instar (nymph) 1 ➡️ Instar (nymph) 2 ➡️ Instar (nymph) 3 ➡️ Instar (nymph) 4 ➡️ Instar (nymph)5 ➡️ Adult Bed Bug

stages of the bed bug lifecycle

As you can see, bed bugs do not go through a larval stage like carpet beetles, fleas, and many other insects. A baby bed bug looks precisely the same as an adult bed bug; it’s smaller.

From egg to baby bed bug to adult, it will take 24 and 48 days. Keep in mind that only the adult bed bugs can lay more eggs.

A bed bug will remove its exoskeleton between each nymph (instar) stage. You can find these exoskeletons lying around your bed; Particularly, the shed skins are clues about where the bed bugs are hiding.

Furthermore, bed bugs do not have a “worm” stage. So if you find a worm-like insect in your bed, just know that it has nothing to do with bed bugs.

What Do Just Born Baby Bed Bugs Look Like?

If you find an unfed bed bug nymph, they will be whitish/clear/straw-colored and not red. The hue may depend on your eyesight and the other things in the environment reflecting light off the baby bed bug.

Once it takes its first blood meal, the blood will fill up its digestive tract and entire body cavity. Furthermore, A just born baby bed bug’s only mission is to eat; it is programmed into its DNA to seek out a blood meal.

So once it hatches, it will take the first blood meal that it finds.

In the video below, one of the frames shows blood filling up into the bed bug’s thin exoskeleton while feeding on a person’s hand.

A bed bug’s exocuticle is thin and translucent, so you can see the blood filling up into the head, legs, and body.

What’s The Color Of Baby Bed Bugs?

A baby bed bug’s (bed bug nymph) color is whitish, straw-colored, to translucent. They do not turn red until after they take their first blood meal. After the baby bed bugs take a blood meal their color will range from reddish to dark red, to amber.

bed bug nymph in plastic
A baby bed bug that is ready for a meal. You can see the darker-colored digested blood at the back end.
bed bug nymph found in NYC
A bed bug nymph that recently fed on blood.

Are Bed Bug Nymphs Fast?

You can see a few bed bug nymphs running in our video above. Doctor Sniffs found each of these bed bug nymphs during one of our bed bug inspections.

Usually, the client will say, “wow, I didn’t realize they run so fast”. While they don’t run as fast as a cockroach, they still can run faster than you think. If you expose or uncover their hiding spot, they will often begin to run since they do not like the light.

How Big Are Baby Bed Bugs?

When bed bugs first hatch, they are pretty small and clock in at 1.5 mm. To note, they will grow to 5-6 mm once they reach adulthood. However, all stages are visible to the naked eye, but it might be difficult to see them if you do not have good eyesight.

A just born baby bed bug is about the size of a pinhead, and then they increase a few millimeters until they reach adulthood. To give you a better idea, here is a picture comparing an adult bed bug and a baby bed bug side by side:

bed bug life stages comparison table: baby bed bugs (nymphs), eggs, and adults

Baby Bed Bug Size Chart

These are approximate sizes, and the actual baby bed bugs will be slightly bigger or smaller, depending on the blood meal. Bed bugs do not go through a larval stage, and therefore they are not one of the common mattress worms.

  • Eggs (1mm).
  • 1st stage bed bug nymph (1.5 mm).
  • 2nd stage bed bug nymph (2 mm).
  • 3rd stage bed bug nymph (2.5 mm).
  • 4th stage bed bug nymph (3 mm).
  • 5th stage bed bug nymph (4.5 mm)
bed bug eggs on top of an adult bed bug
Visualize the size of a bed bug egg with this photo. The adult bed bug in the picture is 5.5 mm and the eggs are 1 mm.

5 Facts About Baby Bed Bugs

  • The nymph cycle is short when comparing it to the adult lifespan. Baby bed bugs go through a 4-5 week nymph stage, before reaching adulthood. An adult bed bug, on average, will live 10 to 14 months.
  • All life stages of bed bugs feed on blood, unlike fleas and other blood-sucking parasites.
  • After a baby bed bug feed, the blood will fill the entire body cavity, including the head and legs.
  • The bed bug nymph will remove a shell (shed skins). So you will find 5 bed bug shed skins for each bed bug in your home.
  • If the bed bug nymphs do not have access to a blood meal, their development will be longer. They need a blood meal to advance to the next stage.
1st instar baby bed bug feeding on a hand
This just born baby bed bug is feeding on blood for the first time.

Is a Bed Bug Nymph the Same Thing as a Baby Bed Bug?

Yes, the terms bed bug nymph, baby bed bug, and bed bug instar are interchangeable. So if you see an article referring to the bed bug stages as instars, then just know that they are the same thing as a baby bed bug and bed bug nymph.

Do Baby Bed Bug Bites Look The Same As Adult Bed Bug Bites?

According to entomologists, bed bug bites are different depending on who the bed bug is biting but not the size of the bug. If you have an allergic reaction to bed bugs, it might not matter if a nymph or adult feeds.

In a study, where they tested people’s reaction to bed bug bites, only 70% of the people were reacting to the bed bug bites. When a bed bug feeds, it injects saliva into the incision site. Our body may or may not produce an allergic reaction to this bed bug bite.  In the 2009 study, 41% of children under ten years were not reactive to bed bug bites. Furthermore, people over 65 years did not have as many skin reactions as the other age groups.

No studies (that could find) have been done testing people’s reactions to bed bug nymph bites vs. adult bed bug bites. So we cannot say conclusively whether or not a baby bed bug’s bite will produce a smaller welt than an adult bed bug.

Nymphs are small bed bugs that haven’t reached maturity yet, and their bites tend to be the same as adults. If you are allergic to bed bug bites and get a skin reaction, then the amount of saliva injected from a nymph will probably produce the same skin reaction. However, more research needs to be conducted before determining if there is any significant difference in response to bed bug bites between nymphs and adults.

What Are Some Baby Bed Bug Look-Alikes?

Some common bugs that people mistake for bed bug nymphs are booklice, body lice, head lice, bird mites, rodent mites, and anthocorid instars (minute pirate bugs).

We are a bed bug inspection company, and we often will ID bugs for our clients through email or text. The above list of bugs is most commonly the ones our clients mistake for bed bug nymphs.

Do Baby Bed Bugs Lay Eggs?

No, baby bed bugs cannot lay eggs. Only the female bed bug, after she has mated, can lay eggs. The average bed bug will lay anywhere from 1 to 5 eggs per day, with the entire lifetime total being around 250-500 eggs.

The baby bed bugs go through 5 different stages (instars) before they reach maturity and can mate. A pregnant female can lay eggs for up to 18 weeks after traumatic insemination takes place. More importantly, bed bugs are not asexual; you need a male and female bed bug to make bed bug babies.

What Do Baby Bed Bugs Eat?

At all nymph stages of life, bed bugs will feed on blood. The nymphs will go through 5 different growth stages before they become adults. After each meal, the bed bug nymph will remove its shell (exoskeleton), and a new one will form within 24 hours.

How to Get Rid of Adult And Baby Bed Bugs?

There are things you can do to get rid of baby bed bugs. However, you must treat all life stages of bed bugs to solve the problem.

Some standard treatment methods will involve some of the following steps, depending on which company you use to exterminate the bed bugs.

  • Chemical treatments like Crossfire will have better success if handled by a professional.
  • Fungal treatments like Aprehend and Aprehend need to be applied with a certain pressure and volume, so we recommend a professional.
  • Home remedies like diatomaceous earth can work only if used correctly.
  • Wash all pillows, bedding, and clothing in hot water and dry on high heat.
  • Vacuum daily to remove bed bugs and eggs from cracks and crevices.
  • Seal up all cracks and crevices with a silicone crack and crevice sealer.
  • You can hire a professional steaming company for steam treatments or buy a good steamer for bed bugs and do it yourself.

Do Bed Bug Nymphs Come Out During the Day?

You may see bed bug nymphs during the day for many different reasons. Some of the most common reasons are because you have just treated for bed bugs, and they are looking for a new place to hide. Or you have just moved into a new home/apartment, and they are exploring their surroundings looking for a blood meal.

Other reasons include if the infestation is really bad, they may be forced out during the day in order to find a meal, or if the temperature changes (like during heat treatment) they may come out of hiding to avoid being cooked alive.

If you are looking to find bed bugs during the day, you can look for clues, like shed skins, live bugs, or fecal matter.

Where Do Baby Bed Bugs Hide?

Like adult bed bugs, baby bed bugs hide in cracks and crevices. However, they are often found in areas closer to where people sleep since they need to feed every 3-to 7 days.

Some of the most common places you’ll find baby bed bugs are behind headboards, in the seams of mattresses, under box springs, in cracks on bed frames, behind baseboards, within your bedding, and in electrical outlets.

Bed bugs do not have a hard shell since they shed their skin 5 times during the growth phase. So the baby bed bugs will squeeze into very tight crevices.

If your bed frame is made out of wood, they can hide in between 2 pieces of wood that are screwed together. The only sign that they are in there would be to see some bed bug poop along the seam of the crevice.

Final Thoughts for Baby Bed Bugs: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know

So, there you have it! Everything you could possibly want to know about baby bed bugs. However, if you still have more questions about bed bug nymphs, please email us; we are happy to research and find the answers for you. 

If you’re like me and are now totally paranoid that every unfed nymph out there is a baby bed bug waiting to invade your home, I don’t blame you. But hopefully, armed with this information, you will be able to quickly identify any potential infestations and take the necessary steps to get rid of them before they become a problem. And if all else fails and you still can’t tell the difference between an adult bed bug and a baby bed bug, just give us a call – we’ll be more than happy to help!