What Color are Bed Bug Casings?

by | May 22, 2023 | 0 comments

Recognizing the signs of a bed bug infestation can be challenging, but one critical marker is their casings. Knowing what color bed bug casings are can be incredibly useful. This article helps you identify bed bug casings with insights into the lifecycle of these pests and their unique behaviors.

By recognizing these signs early, you can enlist a bed bug exterminator in Houston to help you manage the situation. Learn about the process involved, including how much it might cost, how to prepare your home for effective treatment, and what to do in the aftermath of a bed bug treatment.

Explanation of Bed Bug Casings

Bed bug casings, also known as exoskeletons or shed skins, are the outer shells that bed bugs shed as they grow and mature. Like other arthropods, such as insects and spiders, bed bugs have a hard exterior shell that protects and supports their soft internal organs. Bed bugs must shed their old exoskeletons as they grow to allow for new growth.

Bed Bug Life Stage Color of Casings
Eggs Translucent or white
Nymphs Lighter in color, ranging from translucent to yellowish-white
Adults Dark brown to black

Importance of Identifying Bed Bug Casings

Identifying bed bug casings is crucial for detecting a potential infestation early on. Because bed bugs are nocturnal pests that hide during the day, it can be challenging to spot them directly.

However, because they shed their exoskeletons frequently during their growth process, these casings can provide an important clue about the presence of a population in your home. Additionally, identifying the color of these casings can help you determine at which life stage the bed bug is currently and how advanced the infestation may be – allowing for more effective treatment options.

The Color of Bed Bug Casings

nesting bed bugs

General color description

Bed bug casings, exoskeletons or shed skins are generally translucent or whitish in color. They are often mistaken for dead bed bugs, but they are the molted skins that bed bugs shed as they grow and mature.

These casings are typically about 1mm long and can be found where bed bugs feed or hide. The color of the casing may also appear slightly different depending on its environment.

Color variations depend on the life stage.

The color of a bed bug casing can vary depending on the life stage of the bed bug it belongs to. Newly hatched nymphs will have a lighter, almost transparent casing, while older nymphs and adult bed bugs will have darker and more opaque casings. The color may also change based on how recently the casing was shed; new casings will appear lighter, while older ones may appear darker due to exposure to air and dirt.

Did you know?

Bed bug eggs are tiny, white, and about the size of a pinhead.

Additionally, if the bed bug has been feeding on blood before shedding its skin, there may be a reddish tint to the casing from the remnants of its meal. Understanding these variations in color can help identify what life stage a particular bed bug was in before it molted its skin.

Factors that Affect the Color of Bed Bug Casings

Age of the casing

When bed bugs molt and shed their skins, they leave behind casings similar in shape to the new shed exoskeleton but hollow and empty. These casings start a pale yellow or off-white color and darken over time as they age.

The older a casing is, the darker it will be. Generally, newer bed bug casings will be lighter in color than older ones.

Diet and feeding habits

The bed bugs’ diet significantly impacts the color of their casings. When bed bugs feed on blood, their bodies become engorged with it, affecting the color of their exoskeletons and their casings. If bed bugs frequently feed on human blood, their exoskeletons may appear reddish-brown due to the presence of hemoglobin from human blood.

Bed Bugs on Pets

Similarly, if bed bugs feed more often on animals such as dogs or cats, their exoskeletons may appear darker or even blackish due to melanin pigments from animal blood. Additionally, if there is a prolonged lack of food available to bed bugs, this can cause them to have lighter-colored casings that are almost transparent in appearance.

This is because they cannot access enough blood for new growth and, therefore, cannot produce enough pigment for darkening colors during molting cycles. These factors can all affect the coloration and appearance of bed bug casings in various ways and should be considered when identifying them accurately.

How to Identify Bed Bug Casings Based on Color

bed bugs

Comparison with Other Common Household Pests’ Casings

When identifying bed bug casings based on color, comparing them with other common household pests’ casings is essential. The most common household pests that can be mistaken for bed bugs are fleas and carpet beetles.

Flea casings are smaller and more oval-shaped than bed bug casings, usually brown or black. Carpet beetle larvae shed their skins, which may resemble bed bug exoskeletons, but they have a distinct shape with hairs and bristles attached. 

Use of Magnifying Glass or Microscope for Closer Examination

To identify bed bug casings accurately based on color, it is necessary to use a magnifying glass or microscope for closer examination. Bed bug exoskeletons are tiny and translucent, making them difficult to see with the naked eye. A magnifying glass will help you see the details better; however, if you want a more precise identification of the casing’s coloration, you should use a microscope.

Using a microscope will allow you to view the casing in greater detail than what is visible through a magnifying glass. It will enable you to closely examine the tiny hairs covering the exoskeleton surface.

Did you know?

Bed bug nymphs (immature bed bugs) go through five molting stages before reaching adulthood.

Additionally, this method will allow you to determine any differences in coloration within each casing’s segments. The best way to identify bed bug casings is by carefully examining them under optimal lighting conditions using both methods mentioned above: comparison with other pests’ casings and using a magnifying glass or microscope for closer examination of each segment’s coloration.


Identifying the color of bed bug casings is an important step in early detection. Once detected, remember to take necessary steps like cleaning up after treatment and being cautious of what not to do post-treatment. Understand that you might have to dispose of infested mattresses and be prepared for possible infestation transfer from external sources. With this knowledge, you can handle a bed bug infestation better.

Recap of the Importance of Identifying Bed Bug Casings and Their Color

The importance of identifying bed bug casings lies in the fact that it is an early sign of a possible infestation. Catching an infestation early can save homeowners from dealing with a large-scale problem that can be difficult and expensive. Additionally, identifying the correct color of the casing ensures proper identification of the pest species.

Final Thoughts on Preventing and Treating Bed Bugs

Preventing bed bugs requires proactive measures such as inspecting second-hand furniture before bringing it into your home, sealing up cracks and crevices where they might hide, and regular vacuuming. Suppose you suspect you have a bed bug infestation or have confirmed it by identifying its casings. In that case, contacting a professional pest control service as soon as possible is essential to treat the problem effectively.

Remember that although bed bugs can be frustrating, they are not impossible to eradicate. With proper knowledge on how to identify them through their casings’ color combined with prevention measures like frequent cleaning habits may significantly reduce your chances of getting an infestation.


What does a bed bug carcass look like?

A bed bug carcass typically appears as a dried-up, flattened insect body. It may be brownish or reddish in color, depending on how recently the bed bug has fed.

What color are bed bug eggshells?

Bed bug egg shells are typically translucent or semi-translucent in color. They can appear pale or slightly off-white.

Are bed bug shells dark?

Bed bug shells are not necessarily dark. The color of a bed bug shell can vary depending on factors such as the bed bug’s life cycle stage and whether it has recently fed. They can range from translucent to light brown or reddish-brown.

What color do bed bug squish?

When bed bugs are squished, they may leave behind a reddish-brown or dark-brown smear. This is due to their blood-filled bodies being crushed.

Are bed bug shells hard or soft?

Bed bug shells, exoskeletons or casings are typically thin and fragile. They may appear hard when dried, but they are not as hard as materials like shells or exoskeletons of other insects.

What are the white crumbs in my bed that are not bed bugs?

Without further information, it is challenging to determine the exact nature of the white crumbs in your bed. They could be various things, such as food crumbs, skin flakes, or dust particles. It is advisable to inspect them closely or consult a professional if you suspect an infestation or have concerns.

Duane Cepeda is a highly skilled and experienced bed bug exterminator with a passion for creating pest-free living spaces. With a keen eye for detail and a thorough understanding of bed bug behavior, Duane is dedicated to providing effective and tailored solutions to help clients rid their homes of these persistent pests. Trusted by many, Duane Cepeda is committed to delivering top-notch pest control services that ensure peace of mind and a good night’s sleep for his customers.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *