Bed Bug Life Cycle

If you have discovered bed bugs in your mattress and beddings then you need to learn how to get rid of them as quickly, cheaply, and painlessly as possible. It is important to learn the life cycle of bed bugs in order to better understand them. If you notice several generations of bed bugs around your home, then it could be a sign that the infection has been around for a while. This information will be helpful to an exterminator because of the severity of the infestation. Bed bugs have transformed from the nesting parasites, we have seen them inhabiting the nest of birds, roots of bats wherever they see an opportunity. Now they have even adapted to the human environment. 


All travels would be aware of the increase in the bed bug infestation world wide. Due to the growth in the number of people traveling to many destinations. While these parasites feed on human blood, they do not cause or transmit diseases. However, the itchy red welts caused by the saliva in their bites can be annoying. The mere idea of bed bugs is downright creepy. Knowledge, not fear is the key to defending yourself with the bed bugs. If you are going to be traveling it is a good idea to take some simple precautions, as unsuspecting travels can encounter bed bug infestation and unknowingly transmit bed bugs from one place to another including other hotels or homes. Size-wise the bed bugs are very small, adults are only about a quarter-inch long almost the size of an apple seed. Bed bugs range in color from brown to reddish-brown, are oval-shaped, flat, and paper-thin when unfed. When they have a blood meal however their bodies become fuller and more rounded. Immature bed bugs are tiny, as small as 16th of an inch and nearly colorless, except after a blood meal when they become bright red. Bed bugs are wingless and hide in tiny cracks and crevices called harborages during the day. Nighttime is their most active time when they survey around in search of a blood source. Females lay batches of oval-shaped eggs 1/16th of an inch long in protected areas in their environments. Once they start to feed they can grow to be double in size. As these insects are small in size, it becomes extremely difficult to locate them, they are often confused as flecks of dust and are mostly invisible to the naked eyes. 


After the blood feeds the immature bed bugs will shed their skin or molt 5 times before becoming adults. Both the adults and nymphs all require the blood feeds for growth and development. However immature bed bugs can live for several months without the blood meal, whereas the adults will survive for as long as 1 year without a meal. If you are looking for the signs for the bed bugs infestation in addition to bits and itchy areas in your skin, there are 4 basic signs for the bed bugs which are eggs, cast skins, fecal spots, and live bed bugs. As we know eggs are too small to be seen with the naked eye, while the cast-off skin while also small can be seen. Live bed bugs if visible are most likely to be found in hiding places in and around the bed. As they feed bed bugs disgust blood and they defecate, leaving behind small marks similar to those that might be made by the ballpoint pen. These are known as the fecal spots and can range from black to brown to red in color, although the majority will be blackish brown. Fecal spots are most likely to be found on the mattresses and sheets and usually will be slightly raised from the surrounding wood or fabric. 


Bed bugs are very quick and will run away from the light if you uncover them, so it is possible not to see them so easily. They are difficult to control because of the small size that enables them to hide almost anywhere, on mattresses and bed frames, cracks and crevices in walls, under peeling paint, or behind the wall sockets and light switches. Bed bugs only stay long enough to feed before moving away to hide and digest, so it is fairly rare to find adults on or around your body after they have a feed. In conclusion, we can say being able to identify all their life stages of bed bugs as well as being familiar with their behavior are both important factors in better understanding how to deduct, prevent, and eradicate them. In order to identify there are several generations of bed bugs in your home, you need to be aware of what each stage looks like. There are essentially 7 stages of bed bugs life cycle, to overcome every stage they have to take at least 1 meal. 


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  1. EGG  

Bed bugs start their lives in eggs, which has a milky white color to them. These eggs are of 1 millimeter in length, hence they can be a little hard to see as they are comparable in size to a couple of grains of salt. When a bed bug egg image is greatly enlarged you will be able to see the red dots that are developing bed bugs eyespots. The adult female can lay between 1 to 12 eggs a day if we see the average we can say that there will be at least 5 eggs a day. They are capable of laying somewhere around 500 eggs in their lifetime. Eggs that are laid might be single or in the form, a cluster is kept in places that are tightly packed like in the cracks. The eggs begin to hatch after 2 weeks of time and the young once begin to feed immediately. Average female bed bug lives for about a year, if she is able to feed every week then she will be able to produce more eggs in that particular year compared to the ones who are able to feed once a month. At room temperature, greater than 70-degree Fahrenheit 60 % of the eggs will get hatched.  The eggs hatch time can be increased by lowering the ambient temperature to 50-degree Fahrenheit.    

  1. 1ST NYMPH STAGE

There are 5 stages of growth that a nymph goes through. In the 1st stage, the nymphs are 1.5 millimeters in length. As soon as they come out of their eggs they can start their feeding quickly. Throughout these nymph stages, we can say the bed bugs are not mature, so they will not begin to breed until they are full adults. 

  1. 2ND NYMPH STAGE 

Once the bed bug has gone through its 1st molt, it becomes a 2nd stage nymph, which is 2 millimeters long.


  1. 3RD NYMPH STAGE    

After molting again bed bugs 3rd stage nymph, at this point they are 2.5 millimeters long. 


  1. 4TH NYMPH STAGE

At this stage, the bed bugs get to be 3 millimeters long.     


  1. 5TH NYMPH STAGE

This is the final nymph stage and once it is reached the bed bugs can get up to 4.5 millimeters long.   

  1. ADULT

It takes about 5 weeks for the nymph to become an adult. At this point, they are able to breed. Adult bed bugs do not necessarily feed every night. Most of the people do not have a reaction to their bites, so much so even when the bed bug is biting you might not notice it. The adult bed bug life span is between 6 to 18 months.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the Ways to get rid of bed bugs naturally?

Ans: Bed bugs are smart enough to hide in the crevices and keep out of the daylight, meaning they are one pest that you should not underestimate. Some of the ways which we can imply to get rid of them naturally are as follows.

  •  Steaming away from the bed bugs, according to Virginia Tech’s Entomology department, releasing steam around the house can help take care of the bed bugs. Steam helps to coax the bugs from their hiding places, at high enough temperature the steam can even be lethal to them.

  • Target the bugs with the hairdryer, as mentioned heat can help kill bed bugs. It’s steam isn’t your cup of tea. Find the eggs and set the hair dryer on high, bed bugs do not move their eggs around, so this is the way to slowly kill them off that does not impact people's allergies as the other treatments can.

  • Apply double-sided tape, find the bed bugs line of travel, and apply the double-sided tape there. The bugs will be stuck to the tape, eventually, with blood to drink they will die off or you can even smash them. Make sure to regularly replace the tape.

  • Dry your clothes on high heat, even if your clothes are brand new from the store, make sure to wash them and dry them on high heat as soon as possible. With this, you can kill the bed bugs that are hiding in your clothes. We should make it a habit to do the same with all of our clothes.

  • Sprinkle some silica gel, do you know those small packets of the silica gel that come with new shoes, clothes and some food items save them and use them as a bed bug desiccant. According to research, the gel can help to absorb lipids from the bed bugs cuticle, which causes them to dehydrate and dry out.

  • Keep your laundry in plastic bags, if you normally use a laundromat to clean your clothes make sure to use a sealed plastic bag to move back and forth. Added to that keeping your clothes in plastic bags while at home can help prevent the bed bugs from getting into them.        

  • Make a trap using dry ice, according to researchers from Rutgers university dry ice can kill bed bugs from releasing carbon dioxide which attracts the insects. You can make a trap by filling an insulated jug with dry ice and lightly surrounding the base with talc powder which helps to trap them inside.

  • Make a homemade vinegar spray, as vinegar contains an acidic acid that hurts the insect’s nervous system., so you can use it to make a spray to kill the bed bugs. Fill-in an empty spray bottle with white vinegar and spray the bugs directly. Added to that soaked infested areas and areas where the pests can easily enter the home with white vinegar.

  • Mix cayenne pepper, oregano, and ginger, another spray that you can make which involves various items you might already have in your spice rack. A mixture of these with water and put it in a spray bottle and target the affected areas of oregano strongly combined with the spices of cayenne pepper and ginger will ward off the bed bugs.

  • Use essential oil to make insecticides, according to the study from the Entomological Society of America 2 oil-based products bed beg petrol and EcoRaider kills 90 % of bed bugs in a trail. These natural products contain oils like geraniol, rosemary oil, mint oil, cinnamon oil, peppermint oil, eugenol, clove oil, and lemongrass oil. IF you want to make a spray mix lavender oil, peppermint oil with water together into a spray bottle.

  • The use of caulk around your house, a bed bug tries to enter a person's house by sneaking in through the cracks in the doors, around the windows, and even on the walls thereby taking away their free pass into your home can even prevent them from entering in the first place. We need to find openings like this around the house by tracking where the bed bugs would end up and add caulk.  

  • Use black walnut tea, as this can help take care of bed bugs with a component called juglone, you don’t even need to drink it. You will need to get some used tea bags and place them around the house where they can help kill the bed bug and their eggs. Alternatively, you can fill the spray bottle with the tea, just as we recommended with the vinegar. 

2. What is known as diapause?

Ans: Diapause in insects is kind of like hibernation in insects, it is a deep sleep where the bed bugs shut off most of its metabolic process and survive on its energy stores until it either runs out of energy or wakes up. Bed bugs enter diapause when it tries to get too hot or if the temperature drops below freezing or in the case if they can’t find food. With diapause, a bed bug can survive over a year without a meal. Bed bugs won’t enter diapause if it gets hot only for a short period of time. Diapause is a reaction to slower environmental changes, like the onset of summer.