Do Bed Bugs Shed?

Do Bed Bugs Shed?

Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to manage and can cause a lot of discomfort and stress. One question that frequently comes up is, “Do bed bugs shed?”

Shedding Process

Bed bugs, just like many other insects, go through a shedding process called ecdysis. During this process, the insect eliminates its old, rigid exoskeleton, which is the hard outer shell of the bed bug that serves as protection from the environment.

The molting process is completed in five stages. Firstly, the outer shell loosens and splits open. Secondly, the bug expands its body size by forming a new exoskeleton layer. Thirdly, the bed bug pumps up its new skin with fluids, which also helps give it its new shape. Fourthly, the bug hardens and darkens as it dries. And lastly, the bed bug sheds its old exoskeleton and comes out with a new, larger, and more mobile body.

Appearance of Shedded Skin

The shedded exoskeleton normally appears as a small, white, semi-transparent object that looks like a dried shell. It has the same shape as a bed bug and it’s about the size of a grain of rice.

How Often do Bed Bugs Shed?

Bed bugs shed their old exoskeletons five times before reaching maturity, and they undergo this process every 1.5 to 2 weeks while they’re immature. After adult bed bugs feed, they also shed their skin and within a couple of days they’re ready to molt their exoskeleton once again. Therefore, adult bed bugs can shed at least once a month.

Signs of Shedding

Bed bugs can shed at any stage in their life cycle, and typically shed their old skin in hidden areas like furniture, bedding, and carpets. However, here are a few signs that can indicate that your home might have a bed bug shedder:

  • Red fecal spots: Bed bugs excrete a red, rusty liquid that leaves dark red spots on the surfaces of the areas they inhabit.
  • Cast skins: As mentioned above, discarded bed bug skins are semi-transparent, white, and have the same size and shape of bed bugs.
  • Foul-smelling scent: Under normal circumstances, bed bugs emit a musty, unpleasant odor.

In conclusion, bed bugs do shed their exoskeletons regularly as part of their growth process. Be aware of the signs of the presence of shed bugs in your home and take appropriate action.

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