While most people assume that bedbugs shed their exoskeleton, it is a misconception. The shell of a bedbug actually belongs to the nymph or egg stage. As they mature, they stop shedding their shells and stay the same size as before. Their shell is made of a nail-like material and doesn’t break down or rot. Instead, it stays where it was when the bedbug was young.
In addition to the obvious signs of bedbugs, other signs of infestation include the presence of empty shells. Usually, bedbugs are most active during the night. However, they may also search for food during the daytime. In such cases, empty shells can be found in offices or schools.
A bed bug’s exoskeleton is made of a substance called chitin. This substance supports the insect’s body, but unlike the body, the shell doesn’t grow. It sheds its skin when it molts. Throughout their life cycle, a female bed bug lays between one and five eggs. In about ten days, these eggs will hatch and form nymphs.
During the first two weeks after egg laying, bed bugs will start feeding and shed their shells. These nymphs are tiny compared to the adult bugs, and their shells turn brown as they feed. The shells of later instars are easier to see.