Life Cycle of the Bed Bug

Bed bugs are visible to the naked eye. An adult bed bug is about 1/4 inch long, are reddish-brown, wingless and have an elongated oval shape. They are generally flat which permits them to enter very tiny spaces. They feed on the blood of humans and animals. When “full” their bodies can bloat 3 times their size.

Mating of the Bed Bug

Bedbugs mate by “traumatic insemination” to fertilize the female’s eggs. Since the female has no genital opening, a male pierces her abdomen with a hypodermic- shaped genitalia and ejaculates into the female bedbug’s body cavity. The female can lay eggs 3 times during its lifespan covering about 10 to 14 months. Each batch can have around 300 eggs. They will multiply very rapidly, so at first detection, you have to begin treating, eliminating and controlling them right away. When you consider that just one female can generate up to 900 eggs in her lifetime, and each of her female offspring can perform at the same rate, you can just imagine the exponential infestation rate if you do not begin a course of action.

Life Cycle of A Bed Bug

Picture of bed bug nymph ingesting blood from a volunteer donor's armView of a bed bug nymph ingesting blood from the arm of a volunteer human host. You can see blood filling the bugs abdomen.

Bed bugs will lay eggs in dark, safe harbor areas such crevices in mattresses, inside pillows, underneath mattresses, in the box springs, within drawers of night stands, behind baseboards, carpet, curtains. lamp shades, couches and even behind switch plates. Generally eggs will be laid near where people and pets sleep. Rarely will you find them in bathrooms and kitchens.

Bedbugs have 6 life stages. Eggs will hatch within 1 to 2 weeks into a “nymph” which are tiny but still visible to the eye. They are translucent at that stage and can begin feeding right away. In their immature, nymphal states, they will shed their skin 5 times before reaching adulthood. Their molted outer-shells are clear, empty exoskeletons that look the shape of a live bed bug. During this process towards becoming an adult, bed bugs will progressively get lighter in color and larger.

Bed bugs do not begin mating until reaching adulthood which takes 4 to 10 weeks
after hatching depending upon temperature ranges and available blood supply on
which it feeds.