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Bed Bug Casings – The Early Signs Of A Bed Bug Infestation?

Most people know what bed bugs are, but bed bug casings can be an early sign that you have a problem you didn’t necessarily know about… yet!

Bed bug casings are the shell of a bed bug once it’s been shed in the early stage of its life cycle. Because bed bugs have their skeleton on the outside of their bodies, they must be shed periodically as they outgrow them.

The outer shell that’s been shed is known as its casing.

As they molt into their next life stage, bed bug casings are left behind. Cast skins (casings) look like lighter-colored, empty bed bug shells – which is basically what they are.

While they may not seem like much, bed bug casings can be a valuable indicator of an infestation in its early stages, so if you notice any cast skins in your home, it’s important to take action right away.

The Key Stages Of The Bed Bug Life Cycle

The three stages of a typical life cycle for bed bugs: Egg-Nymph-Adult.

Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed. They can live for about a year and feed on blood from any animal, including humans.

The bed bug life cycle begins with the egg. They hatch from eggs, which are typically found in furniture seams, and in cracks on bedding.

Next, the nymph stage is reached, where immature bed bugs are about 1/4″ long. At this stage, they are close to mature adults in size.

Lastly, the adult stage is achieved when full-grown bed bugs reach maturity.

At What Stage Do Bed Bug Casings Occur?

Bed bug casings are usually shed between the Nymph and the Adult stage.

Bed bug nymphs are smaller and move much faster than the Adult. They are brownish in color and have a white band across their back with spots on each side of the head.

As the adults grow, they have to shed their cast skin which provides the opportunity for growth.

Once the Adult emerges though, it will find a place to hide on the host – usually in a crevice. That’s where it will spend the majority of its time.

As they mature they become red in color, they grow larger and gain wings.


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Where Can Bed Bug Casings Be Found?

Cast skins are usually found around the base of furniture legs and behind the mattresses.

How long they stay in a location depends on many factors, including how long it takes for the bed bugs to hatch, and the number of bugs present.

If you see any cast skins, you should take immediate action. Moving the bed frame or mattress, if possible, will help to get rid of the old skins.

As the bed bugs complete their development and move on to the next life stage, their cast skins can be seen in the same location. It’s important to keep an eye out for these cast skins, as they can indicate the presence of a bed bug infestation in your home.

Below are some of the areas you can check;

  • Around, inside, and underneath furniture
  • In old or new clothes
  • In Items stored under beds
  • Underneath and around upholstered chairs, recliners or sofas
  • Inside cracks or crevices in wood molding
  • In ceiling-wall junctures
  • Behind wall-mounted objects (pictures, mirrors, switches, outlet covers; etc.)
  • Under loose wallpaper
  • In book bindings

What Color Are Bed Bug Casings?

Bed bug casings are light in color as the young bed bugs have not started to feed on blood just yet.

As the bed bugs get older, they begin to add more pigment to their blood which changes the color of their cast skins.

Characteristics Of Bed Bug Casing And Signs Of Infestation

Bed bug casings look like empty shells. They are usually about 2/3 the size of the bed bug itself.

Bed Bug Casing and Signs of Infestation

If you have an infestation, you might be able to spot the casings before you see the bugs themselves.

Bed bugs are more likely to be active at night. This means they will often be looking for a place to hide out during the day and this is when they will hide in beds or furniture, waiting until night time to come out and feed.

What Do Bed Bug Casings Signify?

Molting is a process in which an insect sheds its old skin, the casing, and usually occurs after an insect has laid eggs.

It is a normal, necessary process for the insect to grow. Molting is also how bed bugs get their next life stage.

Among bed bugs, the process happens during the night. Bed bugs that are not in the process of molting go into dormancy during the day.

Aside from cast skins, bed bugs also leave behind types of faeces – excrement, white spots, and dark spots. Excretion is a thick, starchy material that bed bugs make as they digest food.

As bed bugs get older, they produce smaller pieces of excretion. This can be seen in the faecal matter on your sheets.

White spots are the remains of the cast skins that bed bugs produce as they digest blood. It’s not uncommon for cast skins to contain faecal matter.

As bed bugs mature, they produce fewer and smaller pieces of cast skins so you may not find any white spots.

What Happens To Bed Bug Casings After Molting And Why Is It Important?

During molting, bed bugs shed their skin, but they do not lose their identity. This is why they can molt multiple times.

Cast skins are the leftovers from molting. They are used as a method of communication between two-bed bugs, and they can help you determine if you have bed bugs.

How Do You Get Rid Of Bed Bug Casings?

Bed bug casings can difficult to get rid of. There are a few steps you can take to get rid of bed bug casings below;

  • Vacuum any bedding that has visible signs of pests or their casings.
  • Wash all beddings in hot water.
  • Place the wet sheets, clothes, and towels in a hot dryer for at least 20 minutes.
  • Use a handheld steamer to kill any remaining bed bugs and their eggs.
  • Seal off your home from any possible entry points (like cracks in the wall or behind baseboards).

If you think you might have bedbugs, contact a local pest control professional immediately. And remember, these insects can travel from place to place very easily.