What Do Bed Bug Molts Look Like

Bed Bug Exoskeletons

Many people wonder what a bed bug shell looks like and in most cases, it looks just like the bed bug but without the body on the inside. Many shells are undamaged, and it appears as though the nymph magically disappeared from its exoskeleton. CC Image courtesy of louento.pix Don't know what a bed bug looks like?

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The Seven Bed Bug Life Cycle Stages. Egg — This is the obvious beginning. Bed bugs are around 1 mm long, and difficult to see. First Stage Larva (1st instar) — Once a bed bug has hatched, its primary job is to hunt out a blood meal so that it can molt and move to the next stage. At this point, it is barely bigger than its egg at only 1.5 mm.

Nymph (immature) bed bugs are translucent in color. After feeding, a nymph will have a bright red translucent abdomen that will fade to brown and eventually black as it digests its meal. As nymphs mature into adults, they molt and become a darker brown. Adult bed bugs are a rusty red/brown color. Bed bug eggs are a light cream color.

Molting is the process by which insects grow. Generally accomplished through the early years of the insect's existence, molting allows the body of the insect to expand under controlled and protected conditions. In comparison, our (human) bodies expand with the growing of our bones and muscles as we age.

Shed skins of larval carpet beetles look very different from those of bed bug nymphs because the CB L is elongate and have legs way up front and does not resemble an adult beetle at all; the BB N resembles an adult BB in body shape. Cast skins are flimsy since they are only cuticle, no solid body.

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