Bed Bug Life Cycle [Infographic]

23 April 2018
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Bed Bug Life Cycle

Bed bugs have been a major nuisance in homes as well as hospitality and travel industries as far as pest problems are concerned. These bloodsuckers wait for you to sleep so that they can quietly and painlessly suck your blood before leaving you with some itchy bites. Understanding the bed bug life cycle will help you know them better and with the knowledge, you’ll be in a good position to avoid them.

Bed Bug Life Cycle, Lifespan of a Bed Bug

The lifecycle of a bed bug includes several developmental stages including:

Egg Stage  

The life of a bed bug starts with an egg which is very tiny and pearl white in colour. The size of the egg is about 1mm long, almost equal to the size of two salt grains, a mustard seed or a pinhead. An adult female bedbug lays between one and five eggs daily and by the time it dies, it might have laid up to 500 of them. Bed bug eggs are usually found in tiny cracks and crevices in human resting areas, especially bedrooms and in public chairs and seats or even household furniture like couches.

A bed bug egg takes approximately 6 to 17 days to hatch. From the fifth day after being laid, the egg is marked by an eye spot, an indication that it is almost ready to hatch.

Nymph Stage

A bed bug egg hatches to a nymph, a young bed bug which looks almost similar to an adult bed bug but it is smaller in size and its body has a different color. Besides, unlike an adult, a nymph is yet to mature sexually. The young bed bugs undergo five molts before developing into adults. Each molting is characterized by the shedding of the bug’s exoskeletons. During the first nymph stage, the bug is approximately 1.5mm long and appears transparent, hence difficult to notice, until it takes its first blood meal. The young bedbug is 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm and 4.5 mm during the second, third, fourth and fifth nymph developmental stages, respectively. An older nymph has a reddish-brown body just like an adult but is smaller in size.

A young bed bug needs a blood meal to complete each of the above five molting stages. For that reason, it can bite and suck blood from a human being or an animal such as cat or dog,  despite it having a very tiny body. A nymph bug takes approximately five weeks to become an adult when it is at room temperature.

Bed Bug Larvae?

Some think larvae is same as nymph but the fact is that the former is not a real term when it comes to bed bug life cycle. There’s nothing like bed bug larvae; from nymph stage, bed bugs develop to adults.

Adult Stage

When the conditions and temperatures are favorable, a bed bug can take approximately 37 days to develop from the egg stage to the adult stage. warmer climates boost the development and reproduction of bedbugs. The size of an adult bed bug is almost the same as that of an apple seed (5-7 mm long) while the color of its body ranges from brown to reddish brown, depending on the time it fed last. At nymph and adult stages, a bedbug has flattened body which enables it to hide in tiny cracks and crevices, in bed joints, under carpets as well as in upholstered furniture like sofas.

Bed Bug Life Cycle, Lifespan of a Bed Bug

Bed Bug Life Span

The lifespan of the majority of bed bugs is usually four, five or six months, although a few of them can live even for one year when they are under cool conditions. Bed bugs die faster in warm temperatures as compared to when subjected to cool temperatures. For instance, a starved male bed bug can remain alive for a year at a temperature of 50F but may die within a month when it is in an environment with 80F temperature.

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